Q. I am concerned about using cinnamon to stabilize blood sugar because I’ve never seen a reference as to which type of cinnamon works. There are several different types of cinnamon that come from different plants.
If you were buying cinnamon in a store, how would you know which type you were getting? Please tell me genus, species and how to find it in the market.
A. Cinnamomum cassia, the cheap kind commonly found in the supermarket, was used in the initial study that showed it lowered blood sugar after a meal (Diabetes Care, Dec. 2003). True cinnamon, known as Cinnamomum verum, has very little effect (Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sept., 2007).
We’d discourage you from taking high doses of supermarket cinnamon on a daily basis because it may contain variable levels of coumarin. This compound can be toxic to the liver.
A water-based extract (Cinnulin PF) reduces blood sugar although it does not contain coumarin (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Feb., 2009). You can create your own water-based solution by pouring boiling water over cinnamon in a coffee filter, either with or without coffee grounds.