cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon

At one time, we didn’t pay much attention to spices. They tasted good and made food more palatable. Now, though, we have found that some spices, such as cinnamon, can have significant physiological effects.

Cinnamon to Lower Cholesterol:

Q. I read your column in my local newspaper and enjoy it very much.  I’ve read some very interesting remedies.

Yesterday your column was on foods such as cinnamon to help lower cholesterol. I’ve been eating cinnamon toast for almost 6 months and am very curious to see if it helps me.

Many times I would like to share your articles with family and friends but for the love of me I can NEVER find them on the website. Where can I find a collection of your remedies? Is there a book? I would love to pass some of your gems along to friends.

A. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have teamed up to recommend statins for tens of millions of Americans. We suspect that lots of folks would like to control their cholesterol with food first. A surprising number of foods can actually make a difference on these numbers. Cinnamon is just one of them (Annals of Family Medicine, Sept-Oct. 2013). A study of cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and ginger found that each of these spices lowered cholesterol over the course of two months (Review of Diabetic Studies, Fall-Winter 2014).

Reader Testimonials:

Here are some stories from other visitors to this website:

“I have been using Saigon cinnamon for about 2 months as a supplement to my diet and medication. I put it in coffee, cereal, or oatmeal (at least once daily in the morning).

“I have found that a sprinkle of cinnamon daily keeps my blood sugar from spiking. I still must maintain a diet of low carbs and no sugar, but my glucose remains fairly constant levels (between 70 and 140) whereas without the spice it would spike sometimes as high as 230 for no apparent reason. Also, my A1C has dropped to 6.1 from the low 8s during this time.” Jim

“I am a Type 1 Diabetic. I have tried cinnamon and found it really does work. If you are a Type 2 diabetic, don’t assume that it will decrease your blood glucose levels to a ‘normal’ level. There’s no cure for this disease, obviously.

“I have noticed that cinnamon does a lot for me and my ailments from diabetes like my blood sugar level, cholesterol level, blood pressure readings, regularity, and gastroparesis [slow stomach emptying].  I found many benefits from cinnamon.” Diane

“I tried a concentrated form called Cinnulin for lowering my glucose level. It helped with that and surprisingly it lowered my triglycerides from 61 down to 51. I got a double benefit.” J.L.B.

“These cinnamon stories really caught my attention. For over a year, I’ve been eating daily oatmeal with a sprinkling of it, in the hope of helping reduce my cholesterol. I’ve also noticed that my Raynaud’s [a circulatory problem where hands get very cold] has not been as severe as it had been, but I never made the connection until reading material on this website. Coincidence?

“I’d be cautious about taking capsules because overdose is a possibility. I think I will, however, sprinkle a bit more on my oatmeal.” Morning Star

Hazards of Cinnamon:

It is smart to be cautious; too much cassia cinnamon (the usual kind from the grocery store) could have enough coumarin in it to harm the liver. This component is not present in water-extracted concentrates such as Cinnulin.

Learn More:

To learn more about the pros and cons of cinnamon and other natural approaches to cholesterol control, you may be interested in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies: Q&As for Your Common Ailments. It contains hundreds of our favorite common-sense solutions to problems for everything from arthritis and allergies to diabetes and nerve pain.

You can also find details about cinnamon for cholesterol and blood sugar control in our book, Recipes & Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy. In addition, we have written about spices in our latest book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life.

Revised 12/8/2016

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  1. Sherry

    I didn’t realize there was more than one kind of cinnamon until I read it here. I had a big bottle of Saigon cinnamon from Costco but it seemed to give me heartburn. I changed to Ceylon cinnamon and my stomach seems much happier with it.

  2. Rick P

    Is there any summary to this? What kind is best and in what dosage? I have type 2 and would like to know specifics about the usage, dose and type for safe use.

  3. amelia s.

    I first read the articles [from Indian researchers] a number of years ago. the amount was reported to be less than 500mg. That is about what 1/8 tsp from my spice shelf weighs on a lab scale. However, I bet Indians are taking in more cinnamon and related spices in their daily diets to start with, so we might need more than 500mg-or maybe we could be spicing up our foods more.
    here is a link to an article about several spices, including cinnamon

  4. Mignon

    To Mike: So why don’t you include information on how she lost the weight? That’s the part that everyone would want to know! Thanks.

  5. Mike

    I can confirm the research from Newcastle based on personal experience. My sweetheart finally developed type II after years of being overweight about 4 years ago. Because she was missing a large chunk of colon as a result of colon cancer, Metaformin wasn’t practical leading to severe diarrhea. Insulin caused weight gain, but other alternatives the doctor tried were both very expensive and caused nausea. So she had to settle for insulin shots. But it was progressing rapidly, and the doctor finally insisted on some significant weight loss.
    After difficult but great success with that weight loss, after a couple of months, the doctor took her completely off insulin. It’s now been several months and she is approaching 50 pounds of weight loss, with her glucose levels remaining stable. About 10 more pounds to go and she will be at a healthy weight for her age and body structure. So no one can tell me that aggressive and consistent effort (she has also developed a habit of good exercise) can’t reverse Type II diabetes. This is in a 67 year old woman who had been overweight for almost 30 years.

  6. Ron S.

    I had read about the research with Cinnamon to lower A1C and LDL. I took 4 grams a day for over 30 days and it seem to have no effect. Then I read that the common cinnamon is not very effective. What you need is Saigon cinnamom. I noticed that one of the letter on your website mention Saigon cinnamon. But this is too expensive for me to take in quantities necessary to lower your glucose .Do you have any more info?
    People’s Pharmacy response: Saigon cinnamon is a form of cassia cinnamon. We are not aware that it would be more effective than other cassia cinnamon, including the relatively inexpensive spice you buy at the grocery store.
    We do worry, however, about taking 4 grams of cinnamon on a regular basis. Cassia cinnamon (including Saigon cinnamon) contains coumarin as a natural component. Natural doesn’t mean safe: coumarin can damage the liver. Using a water-extracted supplement or limiting the dose of cinnamon is advised.
    Another approach might be to use Ceylon cinnamon, but that is usually even more expensive than Saigon cinnamon.

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