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You’ve no doubt heard that type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels in this country and many others. That means that millions more people have pre-diabetes, blood sugar that is headed in the wrong direction though it doesn’t yet qualify as outright diabetes. There are ways to reverse this condition. In fact, you might be able to lower blood sugar with cinnamon.

How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally:

Q. My doctor says I have pre-diabetes. I have read your columns about the advantages of Ceylon cinnamon for people with diabetes. Would this help me with my pre-diabetes?

Ceylon cinnamon is hard to find. Would Saigon cinnamon work as well? Are there other natural herbs or spices I should consider taking?

Which Cinnamon Helps Lower Blood Sugar?

A. Cinnamon and other spices and herbs rich in plant polyphenols can help control blood sugar and insulin spikes after meals (Bozzetto et al, Diabetologia, July 2015). One placebo-controlled trial found that a supplement containing cassia cinnamon, chromium and carnosine successfully lowered fasting blood sugar in people with pre-diabetes (Liu et al, PLOS One, Sep. 25, 2015). Polyphenols, compounds found in cinnamon as well as tea, coffee, grapes, wine, cocoa and berries, slow the absorption of glucose (sugar) from the digestive tract and stimulate insulin secretion (Kim et al, Nutrients, Jan. 5, 2016).

Most studies of cinnamon to lower blood sugar have used ordinary cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) rather than the more expensive Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylonicum). Cassia cinnamon is the kind usually found on grocery store shelves. Saigon cinnamon is closely related to cassia cinnamon.

Must It Be Ceylon Cinnamon to Lower Blood Sugar?

You shouldn’t need Ceylon cinnamon to get the blood sugar benefits. If you take either cassia or Saigon cinnamon, though, we suggest a water extract rather than the powdered spice. The reason is coumarin.

What Is Coumarin?

Both cassia cinnamon and Saigon cinnamon contain coumarin, a natural compound that can harm the liver when taken in large amounts. Coumarin is not water soluble, however. That’s why you can use a water-based extract without fear. Look for it as a supplement, or make your own by steeping cinnamon sticks in hot water.

Other Spices That Help Control Blood Sugar:

There are a number of other spices that can be helpful. They include caraway, cumin, ginger, fenugreek and turmeric. You can learn much more about these spices and their beneficial effects from our 200-page book, Spice Up Your Health. It is available at

It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels very carefully. Your doctor will want to keep track of your progress, so a daily diary with glucose levels will enable her to make sure you are within normal limits. If natural products together with exercise and a low-carb diet don’t work, you may need medication. You can learn more about type 2 diabetes and how to treat it with drugs and non-drug approaches in our Guide to Managing Diabetes.

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  1. LaRene

    I am really interested in trying this. Is it safe if using warfarin? Are the suggested spices safe with warfarin?
    Sure enjoy the posts! Thank You.

  2. Nancy
    Lincoln, NE

    This article is so confusing!! I’m very interested in using cinnamon to lower my blood sugars as I am type II diabetic with blood sugars out of control!!

    What do you mean by “it can be taken as a water extract”? How much do I steep in hot water? How much do I take?
    Could you please explain this further! I want to make sure I’m getting the most accurate info possible, and I’m sure you wld want that for your readers and fans. Thank you very much!

  3. Seth

    Would you please send me the telephone number of the publisher of the “SPICE UP YOUR HEALTH”. I sent them a check approx ten days ago per your recommendation to save on shipping. I have net received my order as yet and would like to contact them.

    Thank you

  4. janet

    Thank you for the Cinnamon explanation! I will look for fresh Cinnamon Sticks and water based extract. No longer will I top my morning coffee with Cinnamon Powder (but I may still continue to add Cinnamon Powder to fresh coffee grounds prior to brewing).

  5. Beverly G

    Sorry, auto correct changed my words. Ceylon cinnamon is available from Season’s Vitamins.

  6. Beverly G

    I took Ceylon cinnamon (available from Season’s Vitamon), bitter melon, alpha lipoic acid, ginger tea as well as other supplements for about 10 yrs. When I got sick and ended up in the hospital (with something else), they my A1C was 11.8. Not good. I now have retinopathy and gastroperesis. If you choose to use supplements, please, keep sugars checked.

  7. Birder
    South Pasadena

    I’m pre-diabetic. I watch my carbs and sugar and started taking Cinsulin from Costco. It is a cinnamon extract without the high blood pressure component and stronger than regular cinnamon. Along with more walking my A1c has dropped from 6.4 to 6.1. Then I tried the prickly pear capsules before each meal and it has dropped to 5.8. It goes back to diet and exercise.

  8. Michael
    Pacific Northwest

    I’ve got several symptoms associated with diabetes, but blood tests have been high-normal forever. However, a cagey MD ordered an A1C for me a few years ago, and found I was pre-diabetic (A1C of 6.1). So I rummaged around the Internet and found a lot of cinnamon discussion, and started taking a cinnamon supplement called Cinsulin.

    My A1C and random blood tests with a home test kit still show I’m pre-diabetic only. However, the most worrisome symptoms (neuropathy) may be lessening, but there is definitely no progression.

  9. Gerry

    I use a sprinkle of cinnamon on the coffee grounds every morning, my little drip pot makes 2 cups, I usually drink one and save one for the next day…don’t know if this small amount helps or not but I’m very healthy at age 80.

  10. Marilyn
    Naperville, Il

    You can purchase Ceylon Cinnamon through Amazon from the Spice Jungle. Their prices are very reasonable and they offer free shipping. Their Ceylon Cinnamon is the best I have had.

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