The People's Perspective on Medicine

Cinnamon Offers Health Benefits but Also Carries Serious Risks

Find out about the pros and cons of cinnamon: what it can do for good health, and how to use it best to reduce potential health risks.

For a spice that has a history going back over 4,000 years, you would think that there wouldn’t be much controversy or confusion. Au contraire. The pros and cons of cinnamon have made headlines for several years now.

You might have encountered two completely contradictory stories that ran on NPR:

“When Is Cinnamon Spice Not So Nice? The Great Danish Debate”


“Cinnamon Can Help Lower Blood Sugar, But One Variety May Be Best”

What Is Cinnamon?

Part of the confusion on the pros and cons of cinnamon involves what is and is not “true” cinnamon. Cinnamomum zeylanicum, also known as Cinnamomum verum, is native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). China and Southeast Asia are the home of Cinnamomum cassia, a related species that has an equally long history. Ancient Egyptians included both forms of cinnamon in their embalming formula for mummifying pharaohs because of the spices’ lovely aroma and preserving powers. The Bible refers to both cinnamon and cassia, which were used for aroma and flavor. Both types are derived from the bark of trees.

In modern times these two species are used interchangeably to flavor both sweet and savory dishes. What you find on the spice shelf in the supermarket is usually cassia cinnamon, because it is more readily available and cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon. The flavors are subtly different.

The Pros and Cons of Cinnamon:

The more critical issue is whether they have the same medicinal properties and safety profile. Most of the research showing that cinnamon can lower blood sugar has utilized cassia cinnamon. The extracts that are sold in health food stores are also primarily derived from cassia cinnamon.

But here’s the rub. Cassia cinnamon from China, Vietnam or Indonesia contains coumarin. This compound is a natural component of the cassia spice. (Don’t confuse it with Coumadin, the anticoagulant drug. There is no connection.)

Coumarin is found in varying amounts in different brands of cinnamon. When consumed at high levels, coumarin can cause liver damage in susceptible people. That is why Danish regulators cracked down on a beloved treat we know as cinnamon swirls (kanelsnegle in Danish, literally cinnamon snails).

Worries About Coumarin:

Five years ago the European Union passed strict limitations on the amount of coumarin allowed in food. German bakers were the first to feel the pinch. Authorities warned about coumarin levels in traditional cinnamon Christmas cookies (Zimtsterne). Regulators found some brands of cookies had coumarin levels 20 times higher than permitted by law. The German trade organization complained that the levels were too strict, since people only consumed their star-shaped cookies during the holidays. More recently, the Danish Baker’s Association has also complained:

“We must recognize that to get a cinnamon roll … to taste like cinnamon, we have to use more than the very small amounts allowed, or it’s the end of the cinnamon roll as we know it.”

While European bakers and regulators argue over coumarin levels in cinnamon-containing baked goods, the FDA seemingly shrugs its shoulders. European regulators are far more concerned about coumarin than their American counterparts. As far as we can tell, there are no U.S. limits on the amount of coumarin permitted in cinnamon-flavored baked goods in the United States. Analysis of such foods has found coumarin in detectable levels.

We are not terribly worried about an occasional cinnamon roll or cookie. What does concern us, however, is the growing trend for people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes to regularly consume cassia cinnamon on their oatmeal or toast in order to lower blood sugar levels. A teaspoon of cassia cinnamon daily could pose serious risks.

What About Medicinal Cinnamon?

You might assume that is not a likely problem for most people. Not so fast. A meta-analysis of clinical trials in the Journal of Medicinal Food (Sept., 2011) revealed that “cinnamon extract and/or cinnamon improves FBG [fasting blood glucose] in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.” A more recent meta-analysis included 11 randomized controlled trials (Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Nov., 2016). The authors conclude that cinnamon supplements in addition to standard diabetes treatments can help lower blood sugar modestly. They suggest, though, that cinnamon should not be substituted for standard care.

People love the idea of using a natural product to manage a chronic health problem like diabetes. The promise of cinnamon was reinforced in the Annals of Family Medicine (Sept.-Oct., 2013). The authors concluded that, “Based on currently available literature, cinnamon may have a beneficial effect on fasting plasma glucose, LDL-C, HDL-C, and triglyceride levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.” 

The Bad News About Cinnamon:

Such studies create appealing headlines. People are told that cinnamon will not only lower blood sugar levels but also reduce bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise good HDL cholesterol. A recent review in a medical journal covers Alzheimer disease, arteriosclerosis and arthritis as well as diabetes (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2016). That might encourage some people to start consuming high doses of inexpensive cinnamon from their grocery shelves. People love cinnamon particularly because it is inexpensive and it tastes good.

That really worries us because regular consumption of inexpensive cassia cinnamon could lead to liver damage. (Read about one case here.) Coumarin may also interact with other drugs including aspirin, NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc) and other anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin), to name a few potential complications.

Reader Testimonials:

Over the years we have heard from many people about the pros and cons of cinnamon. Here are some stories from 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 at fairly constant levels (between 70 and 140) whereas without cinnamon 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 sprinkle a little cinnamon on my oatmeal in the AM for my psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes I even add it to my plain low fat yogurt as well.” Kathleen

“Ooh Boy! I’m starting to worry. I’ve been taking an overdose of cinnamon for the better part of a month 2 heaping tablespoons per day. Now I have pains in the kidney area, just slightly. Have I damaged my liver? If so, does it recover with cessation of the cinnamon?” A.P.

We advised A.P. to stop consuming cassia cinnamon. Hopefully her liver will recover, if in fact it was harmed.

The Good News About Cinnamon:

True cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon appears to have substantially lower levels of coumarin. Although it costs more, it does have a nice flavor and should be safer than cassia cinnamon. Here is a question we received about the effectiveness of Ceylon cinnamon:

“I understand that Saigon cassia cinnamon contains coumarin which can be toxic and has been linked to liver damage in some people. Aren’t diet and exercise are safer options for controlling blood sugar? And the Ceylon cinnamon is safer, but I can’t locate scientific evidence showing that it reduces blood sugar readings.”

We also heard from a reader named John:

“My question is similar to the one above; is cassia cinnamon the only type known to aid blood sugar control?” John

People’s Pharmacy Response:

At one time we would have said yes without hesitation. For a long time, there weren’t any studies showing that Ceylon cinnamon was helpful. However, as more research accumulates, this answer has become less clear. Some studies indicate that Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) is also effective: (This is a rat study) (This one in mice, but the cinnamaldehyde compound used is present in Ceylon cinnamon) (rats and tissue culture) (In this cell culture research, the components E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxycinnamaldehyde found in both C. zeylanicum and C. cassia were effective for calming inflammation.) (A study in tissue culture showing a benefit from a component in Ceylon cinnamon can induce apoptosis-programmed cell death-in lung cancer cells) (an essay in which both pros and cons of cinnamon and other spices used for diabetes are explored)

The Cinnamon Solution:

“In 2007, I read on the People’s Pharmacy website that we could pour boiling water on the cassia cinnamon using a paper coffee filter as a way of extracting the coumarin. Per that article, ‘The active compound in cinnamon is water soluble but coumarin is not, so you get the benefit without the worry.'” Grace

Grace got it right. The active ingredient in cinnamon that helps lower blood sugar is water soluble. Using the technique she describes above can be helpful. Some people have complained, though, that it is too much trouble, or that putting ground cinnamon in the coffee filter creates a terrible mess or that they just plain do not like the taste of cinnamon in their coffee. There is another solution for the pros and cons of cinnamon.

Health food stores now sell cinnamon extracts that have been purified so that there is no coumarin. One such brand of water-soluble cinnamon extract is Cinnulin PF. A visitor to this site offered the following:

“I became ‘pre-diabetic’ after being prescribed masses of prednisone for many months.  I had allergic reactions to generic metformin [went into convulsions with first dose] and started researching cinnamon and other supplements. I found an interesting fact about the cinnamon: If taken in the high volumes necessary to help with the glucose insensitivity, a secondary ‘chemical’ in the cinnamon can cause harm to the liver and kidneys.

“This property, however is NOT water soluble while the beneficial components ARE; so I then found Cinnulin PF and found that this preparation extracted by a water process contains none of the problem component and all of the benefits. I began using Cinnulin PF [along with other foods] and no longer am ‘pre-diabetic’.” L.D.

If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of cinnamon as well as other powerful spices with health benefits, we urge you to turn to our brand-new book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life (2016). The research in it is remarkably up to date; it also contains recipes to guide you in using these marvelous spices and herbs.

You might also find plenty to interest you in Recipes and Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy. In that book, you get the straight and skinny on almonds, beets, blueberries, cherries, ginger, grape juice, green tea, hot peppers, mustard and pomegranates, to name just a few of our favorite foods.

Always remember, though, that too much of a good thing, even an otherwise healthy food, can sometimes pose problems. That is the lesson of the pros and cons of cinnamon.

Here is a link to Recipes and Remedies and all our other publications.

Revised 11/10/16

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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GOOD NEWS: The Ceylon cinnamon has 1/1000 of the cumarin comparing to the other kinds.

I have been taking one Turmeric, calcium, and a Cinnamon capsule daily for about 2 years. I became so lethargic that I could not do my daily chores.
Three weeks ago I stopped taking all three and can not believe the difference in how much better I feel.
Doing research, I could not find anything that would suggest these pills are the cause.
Any comment?

So. I bought cinnamon cassie? Essential oils for my humidifier aroma therapy. It this little bottle of bliss turned out to be more than expected. I have been suffering from horrible cankor sores in my mouth once a month usually before my “pms” time. I believe cannot sores or brought about due to fungus overgrowth in tummy or mouth. I know this for sure because I tested it out after being diagnosed in October with overgrowth Candida. Anyway, I dabbed a little of this STRONG oil in my finger and rubbed it around my gums inner lips area and right away it started to burn and tingle. I confirmed my yeast in my belly also went into my gums in my mouth resulting in “cankor sores” and no it’s not herpes. I don’t kiss random frogs and stuff if you know what I mean? Lol. Just wanted to share for anyone else who maybe suffering from painful cankor sores in gums/mouth.

I used organic cinnamon for 3 weeks plus and stopped. After 2 weeks, I noticed I was feeling slight headache in the morning sometimes. I went for widal test which indicates malaria ++ and para typhoid. I was placed on injections and antibiotics drugs. 2 days during the drugs intake I noticed I developed heart pains always at night for a week now. Have completed the drugs but still have pains at night. Could it be that the cinnamon is reacting to the antibiotic drugs. What do I do. Debby.

I just bought some sticks of cinnamon for the first time and about to start enjoying it but decided to find out its health benefit when I came across the danger it poses to the liver. I have been having elevated liver enzymes issues so right now am so scared of consuming it despite the fact that I feel that it would help in my control of type 2 diabetes. I don’t even know the type of cinnamon that I bought now the question is how do I get the toxic Coumarin out of the stick of Cinnamon so that I can benefit from it.

I make a morning drink: 1/2 c. lemon j., 1/4 c. apple cider/Mother-organic, 1/4 teas. cayenne pepper, 1/2 teas. Ceylon Cinnamon, 1/2 teas. Ginger-ground/organic, 1 tab. Maple syrup-Lite, and 1 tab. Cabot Farms Greek Yogurt-low fat and 1/2 Almond milk, non flavored. Blend for 1 min. Drink daily. I am 78, quad bi-pass in 2009, Vol. Food Bank 300+ hrs yearly, very active.

I was prescribed Crestor 20mg daily and within 2 wks, I was unable to walk. Pains in legs, arms, body, were unbearable. My Cardiologist disputed my complaint; changed doctors. I was told to cut pill in half and occasionally stop for 1 day which does help. I also take Curamin Extra Strength, 2 per day-for pain.

I still have leg pain but do find this drink helps with inflammation. I am not a doctor but have spent hours researching the items I use and feel good about the drink. Its hot with the Cayenne but the burn is worth it and it only lasts a few minutes. I keep coffee ready to drink when drinking my drink. I wish anyone having problems with pain from Statins, do your research and try things. Thanks.

I use ceylon cinnamon essential oil, 1 drop in my coffee daily. Is this a safe, therapeutic dose?

When my numbers are in the 80s, I tend to feel bad. I tried Metformin ER for over a year and I was sick on it everyday. I stopped taking it and started taking Spring Valley 500mg Cinnamon capsules one with breakfast two with lunch and one with dinner. My numbers have pretty much been the same but I do watch what I eat. I feel better not being on the Metformin. My last a1c test was 6.7. I am hoping after giving this cinnamon a good two to three months that I will see that number drop.

I appreciate everyone’s comments and I found this to be extremely helpful.

How to diy cinnamon water extraction?

Thanks everyone for all the great info on cinnamon – I bought capsules of Ceylon but after the info on the capsules, I will be breaking it open from now on. One teaspoon in the morning in coffee or tea. With my exercising & diet control I feel pretty good for 67yrs young?

what about pt with kidney transplant, how safe is it?

I have been drinking coffee or Milo with about a teaspoon of cinnamon, although not regularly, in the last two months. I just found growth in my liver but just read the dangers of cinnamon after drinking another cup of Milo with cinnamon now. What should I do?

I will have biopsy this coming week.

I was consuming the wrong cinnamon to loose weight, cassia .. one tbsp in the morning with one tbsp raw honey in a cup of warm water. I feel like kidneys are pretty sore because my back is hurting. I have been doing this for three days. I am a pretty active person but have gained some weight since I quit smoking and also started perimenopause. I am a scuba diving instructor and I dive 2 times per day on average 20 days per month. Is there something I can do to get rid of the toxins….

Burdock Root Tea, Ginger Tea and Dandelion Root Tea will help.

I make a small pot of drip coffee (2 cups) every morning. In the center basket where I put the grounds I add a dash of cinnamon (perhaps 1/4 teaspoon). Adds a bit of flavor and hopefully helps the blood sugar, too. Then pour boiling water in top basket which activates the cinnamon.

My bilirubin numbers went from 0.5 last August to 1.1 January 2016, to 1.6 three weeks ago.  All my other liver numbers are normal so my Dr. thinks it’s one of the herbs I take and has asked me to stop turmeric for 2 weeks until my next lab work.

I had been adding Vietnamese cinnamon and 2-3 slices of fresh turmeric in my smoothies every morning and using powdered in my evening meals…probably about the same time as my numbers began increasing. If my numbers are still high I am going to eliminate cinnamon for my next bloodwork.

I have read that a ‘pinch’ of Cinnamon in a glass of water before breakfast is beneficial to one’s health. I have a heart condition and take many tablets each day, including the blood thinning drug, Apixaban. Any advice would be welcome.

I am taking cinnulin pf 500 mgs a day. I take 2 in morning and 2 at supper. I have diabetes 2 and was on metformin er two at supper
I was having side effects so went off it and began taking cinnulin pf. Can I also take olive leaf extract 500 mgs. Too? Thank you.

does cinnulin PF cause you to urinate more frequently? I am already on a water pill with my B/P meds. I started taking cinnulin PF a few days ago. I iknow it says it takes 6 weeks to see a big change in the sugar readings. I was taking metformin er and quit taking it because it caused my stomach to bloat and had gas and made me urinate alot. So at this point I am on supplements. I talked to my doctor and he knows what I am doing and waiting to see it this works. My sugar readings have not been bad. But would like to know about the urinating question. I do take my B/P meds in the morning . Thank you!

I was taking Ceylon Cinnamon and honey for a year……..but then I kept getting urinary tract infections. It went away when I quit the cinnamon. Ceylon is supposed to help with urinary tract not cause infections. But in my case… didn’t work. They say probiotics are good for you, but I cannot stomach that either…go figure. The Ceylon helped with digestion….but wasn’t good for my kidneys.

Finally, I found the Cinnamon [concentrated} with CinSulin tablets
500MG water extract with Chromium & glucoLite blend.

Not all labeled powered Ceylon cinnamon is truly pure Ceylon cinnamon. Many companies cut it with cheaper cassia or even sawdust. You have to be careful where you buy it from and can be confident if you purchase Whole sticks and grind them yourself. Ceylon cinnamon sticks look different than cassia cinnamon. Ceylon only curl up one way and are more britttle than cassia sticks. Ceylon also doesn’t look hollow like cassia. I buy my Ceylon straight from Sri Lanka from a spice island Ceylon cinnamon farm.

I am glad to see this discussion on cinnamon. I use it daily like some people noted as an addition to my coffee grinds if brewing coffee or add to coffee if brought at a coffee house. It helps me curb my sugar craving as I no longer need sugar coffee (very hard habit to break). What is especially true about cinnamon is what kind you use and quality of it. I get organic cinnamon from a certified source. It helps to spent a little more for something I use a lot of.

I put cinnamon in a small shaker and add a shake to my coffee grounds before brewing. (Everyone loves my coffee!) But don’t add more than a shake or it will clog the filter, overflow and make a mess.

Can I drink water mix with ground cinamon and lemon ?

I am using it as an antioxidant and not for blood sugar. l boil stick a little then put in oatmeal. l am not on any medication. What you think?

I’m sure cinnamon probably has more health benefits than we know. I’m not really worried, especially since I’m going through a stomach issue right now, and ground cinnamon is the very tool that seems to be helping when combined with water before bed. You really don’t want to do too much of a good thing.

It’s important to realize that the so called “True” cinnamon is simply the translation from Latin not any organization’s opinion (i.e., genuine airbag vs. counterfeit). It’s use is just as an adjective from a botanist way back I’m sure. True has the bearing of Ruby Red, Majestic, Brilliant. It’s nondescript, it almost never is with names of beauty, they save that for poisons by using things like deadly.

The word “True” is misunderstood and its been a sort of marketing ploy to command higher prices in Cinnamon trade. Greedy if you ask me as the limited natural availability of “True” already commands a higher price. Sea salt a plenty, only one Dead Sea so one Dead Sea salt.

Most studies for benefits are on the Chinese cinnamon as thats widely available and it is what the big world outside of Sri Lanka uses.

So it has more cumarin, all things are different it may have more anti viral and other beneficial chems too. Look at it this way. I eat all of the grape except the skin due to birds and insects making it look unpleasant. I know the seeds contain cyanide to protect them from micronasties so they can be fertile. Cyanide is rough stuff. Now some report comes out and says Muscadines, those giant false freaks of grapes contain up to x10 more cyanide in their seeds. I’m still going to enjoy them and not start paying x3 the price for true concords.

Moderation,variation in all things. If you want to micromanage something no one truly understands, you need more natural foods in you regardless because your poor nutrition has driven you insane!


Buy cheap cinnamon sticks from grocery stores (I buy them from Fiesta in Houston, TX ) , and make tea with then (boil them slowly until water turns reddish color ). Courmin is fat soluble , but the good stuff is water soluble, so the bad stays in the stickd, and the stuff enters the water. I drink it twice a day.

I think there are risks to every thing we do. Even our air out side is bad for us. We just need to keep living natural lives and I think if God gave it to us then why be afraid of it. We consume so many chemicals in the food we buy from the market. That are mad in factorys and we don’t blink… if you have been living on cinnamon for many years and you are healthy then don’t be afraid of these websites. You are doing something right?

Perfectly said. That’s what my thoughts are as well.

You are right about the many chemicals in the food we buy from the market, veg and fruits etc . To be honest between my husband’s daily sugar intake from processed food and sweets, and adding cinnamon in my food daily and also raw cacao powder, which also has some bad sides, I really prefer the last two.

I have been eating 4 to 6 tablespoons of Saigon cinnamon for the last several years. I did not know that it could cause liver damage. Do u recommend I go have liver enzymes blood work done

I would stop taking it do a liver cleanse and reduce cinnamon to 1 teaspoon a day of the Ceylon. It is helping reduce my prediabetes. I eat and drink hot water with 1/2 teaspoon of ceylon. Fasting this a.m was 88 an hour later after eating it was 83 two hours later it was 89. three hours later it was 91 .My a1c is 5.8 . Get new test tomorrow. Keeping fingers crossed it has come down.

If you are a healthy person.. then you must be doing it right?
But if you want to have proof then I wouldcheck your liver and see?
Then post here letting us know what you found out?

I have been eating large amounts of Saigon cinnamon for the last several years what I mean by large amounts 4 or 5 heaping tablespoons everyday . I never knew it could cause liver damage should I get some blood work liver enzymes done.

I’ve been taking cinnamon sometimes 2 teaspoons twice a day for approximately 6 months. It has kept my sugar levels down . Recently l am having trouble with my eyes. Lots of pain in eyes and forehead also problems with reading watching TV, using phone, or tablet etc. Could cinnamon be the problem ?

I have been using ceylon cinnamon and unprocessed honey for over a year……no weight loss. But not sure if it is why I constantly have a urinary tract infection. It is supposed to help it, but I have my doubts.

Yes, definitely the side effects of cinnamon. Added cinnamon powder to my apple cider drink and I ended up with a horrible headache as you described and trouble swing things clearly like the television, and the phone. Almost as if my eyesight became blurry. Then I ended up with a bad stomach. Be careful.

I just found out that I have a kidney disease and the cinnamon is not causing the infections. It is my condition. I used Ceylon Cinnamon and honey and didn’t loose weight. Not sure if it helped me or not.

This comment is not meant to frighten cinnamon users or to make medical claims, but to alert some as to what can happen. This spring I was given a gluten free dark Chocolate -Cinnamon cake for my birthday. I don’t eat many sweets because gluten free is not readily available in my area. So in celebration of my birthday I ate the entire cake in a 3 day period.

On the third day I went to the toilet and discovered I was bleeding profusely. I immediately called for help knowing at the rate of blood loss I could not last long. My neighbor came and rushed me to the nearest hospital, I was bleeding from my colon. In a very short period of time I had lost 6 pints of blood, almost bleeding out. I was in intensive care for 4 days being given whole blood and plasma. My blood was very thin and I had to be given Vitamin K to stop the bleeding. The combination of chocolate (a potent blood thinner) and cinnamon (another blood thinner) almost cost me my life.

Not trying to scare but sometimes the things we love most can cause us harm. I no longer use either chocolate or cinnamon, not even in small amounts. The reason I came to this site was to check on ceylon cinnamon as I had been told it contained no coumarin. Use my information as you wish, my purpose here is not to change minds.

I had urinary infection, I drank hot lemon and Manuka honey all gone .

You can avoid the mess that cinnamon creates in your coffeemaker by placing another filter over top of the grounds before brewing your pot of coffee, I do it as a rule now, that way there’s no surprise grounds in my coffee.

And filtered coffee has much less of the ingredient in coffee that raises LDL cholesterol (so-called “bad” cholesterol).

But LDL itself isn’t bad and doesn’t necessarily cause calcium plaque too build up in our arteries.

Then our media and medical system have some people and their doctors thinking that we shouldn’t take calcium because it causes calcium plaque to build up in our arteries.

Ah…but if one is taking 180 mcg. or more of vitamin K2 (MK-7), then calcium’s two protein guides, osteocalcin and matrix Gla protein (MGP) are likely carboxylated enough to tell calcium not to go into arteries and other soft tissues, like kidneys, but to go into bones (and teeth).

It’s vitamin K2 that 95+% of Americans are deficient in.

That’s one reason we Americans have much more arterial plaque than France, Japan and other countries that haven’t been set up to die by American agribusiness.

I am a diabetic patient, what kind of fruits can I eat and food?

Am two month diabetic patent,what fruit can I eat and food

If we have a symptom of liver problem after taking the cinnamon, what shall we do to avoid it?
I’m taking it for a week then I notice now I have a pain in my right chest, what shall I do now, please advise.
Two years ago I have a liver promlem, I go on ultra sound and have a aspiration of my liver. Thank you

Interesting read and food for thought.

I think cinnamon is good, though I am using it for the first time.

If one is going to take cinnamon in supplement form, MG-wise – how many milligrams per day is safe, and how should it be taken? (ie, all in the morning, spread throughout the day, etc.)

Responding to Maria, USA ~
I wondered the same and the article did not say at all (and I’d hoped it would). Saw this article ~

When it comes to dietary testing, sometimes it is just not known conclusively (as the article linked herein states). And, to say conclusively is quite a branding that some in this world of sue-happy people simply don’t want to risk stating.
I am not an expert, so decide for yourself. But, from what I’ve read, the max amount healthy to ingest per day is 1-4 grams (1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon = 6 grams approximately).
That range is quite varied (1-4 grams), so I’m not sure if it is an answer. lol

Does organic cassia cinnamon have less or no coumarin?

Is Ceylon cinnamon just as effective in lowering blood sugar?

I wondered the same and the article did not say at all (and I’d hoped it would). Saw this article ~

When it comes to dietary testing, sometimes it is just not known conclusively (as the article linked herein states). And, to say conclusively is quite a branding that some in this world of sue-happy people simply don’t want to risk stating.
I am not an expert, so decide for yourself. But, from what I’ve read, the max amount healthy to ingest per day is 1-4 grams (1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon = 6 grams approximately).
That range is quite varied (1-4 grams), so I’m not sure if it is an answer. lol

I am wondering if there is a connection between cinnamon and brain function. I ate a package of cinnamon graham crackers two days in a row. Day one, I had a repetitive dream that I could not awake from. Day two, I had a bad stomach ache with gas, and the weirdest, scariest dreams that I’ve ever had. Needless to say, I’m not going to eat the last package of crackers in the box, nor am I ever eating cinnamon, again. Now I feel bad, as my husband is a diabetic, and I’ve encouraged him to take cinnamon capsules and thought I was doing a good thing.

Has it occurred to you that it was not the cinnamon within the crackers that caused you distress but instead the fact that by eating a full package of graham crackers you consumed enough carbs that the normal person would eat all day. This would cause your body to push out major insulin to deal with the excess which in turn can cause the body to respond in a variety of uncomfortable ways?

I have been taking one capsule of cinnamon daily for about a month; also been on a sort of diet, controlling calories in a reasonable way, without medication, am 80 years old. I lost thirty pounds easily before taking the cinnamon; cannot take off more weight, but it fluctuates from week to week within a couple of pounds up and down.

Could the cinnamon be the case of no weight loss?

I’m a bit confused by the claim that coumarin is not water soluble.

Coumarin’s solubility is 170 mg / 100 ml. So a small cup of coffee (about 200 ml) could contain 340 mg of dissolved coumarin. The European limits cited above for daily consumption are well under 50 mg for a full sized adult.

This makes no sense. Maybe the cellulose in a coffee filter could adsorb coumarin, but the water solubility explanation sounds like bunk?

Could you simply put the cinnamon in a filter, put the filter in a funnel and pour your hot coffee directly over it , if you are using this as a sugar substitute in your coffee? If I can make my coffee while filtering the cinnamon at the same time it would just save an extra step. However, I can see this is an extra step worth taking, so I don’t mind if I need to, just checking.

There’s no reason why you can’t put the cinnamon in your coffee filter along with the coffee. Be advised that the fine powder of the cinnamon may clog your filter a bit more than the coffee would all by itself, so it may take a little longer to make your coffee. We see no reason why you couldn’t also pour hot coffee over ground cinnamon in a coffee filter.

Can cinnamon cure pcos & helps in retain fertility…….?

bought a bottle of cinnamon and took two pills a day, only took it for a week, then noticed I was being a little sick feeling in my stomach. so quit taking it. Then I was sick no more. Do you think it was because it was bringing my sugar down too much? got really scared of this.

I just bought Saigon Cinnamon-100% organic. I know Ceylon is real cinnamon and am confused about “Saigon” Cinnamon. Is this real and safe?

Ceylon Cinnamon is considered to be safe as it contains a negligible content of coumarin. Saigon Cinnamon has about 1250 times more coumarin than Ceylon Cinnamon. The below site will help visually distinguish between to two varieties

It is safest to buy the Ceylon Cinnamon stick and grind them in a spice or coffee grinder

Does the mixture of Cinnamon and honey have to be steeped in water or can you just eat a couple of spoonfuls?

is cinnamon good to lower uric acid and the gout?

never eat cinnamon by the spoonful. kids have died doing that. Take it on food or drink only 1.25 teaspoons a day of the ceylon cinnamom

I have never read anything about how too much could cause liver problems. How much is too much? Very nice article.

its great post………!

What I didn’t see answered here is:

What is considered a safe level of the cassia cinnamon’s for one not taking any drugs?

If one is taking too much, what are the symptoms? If one has symptoms, what should be done to stop them? How long afterwards should symptoms disappear?

With symptoms, how does one know if permanent damage has been done?

Thank you.


Bob, a half-teaspoon daily probably is no problem, but when people get much beyond that, they should be looking for ways to avoid the potential hazard. We don’t want anyone to get symptoms, since the liver doesn’t give you any symptoms until it is in big trouble. A water extract of cassia cinnamon, whether you make it at home or buy it in a pill, should be quite safe.

I started taking 1000mg of sundown cinnamon 2 weeks ago with diet change. I have taken my sugar from 280-356 to reading of 136 today. Now I am concerned. Should I stop the cinnamon?

You err when you write that Saigon cinnamon is Cassia, although that is a common error.

Technically Cassia is Chinese cinnamon, Cinnamomum Cassia (

Some cassia is grown in Vietnam, which is why people get them confused. But actual Saigon cinnamon is Cinnamomum Loureiroi, a different species.

In this article you talk about extracting the Coumadin . I’m confused. Do you then consume the liquid or what is in the filter? I make a detox drink with vinegar, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and water. I like to make it in bigger but the cinnamon balls up and gets nasty looking. Can I steep it and just use the liquid?

Stacy—- It is NOT CoumaDin but CoumaRin that is in cinnamon. When put in the coffee filter, just pour hot water over it and let it drain into cup. Use the LIQUID only and discard the stuff in the filter, which is the coumarin. Just pour it over slowly and it does not take a whole lot of water. Then mix it with your vinegar concoction you drink.

I can tell you ceylon cinnamon does work really well at helping lower my blood sugar levels. If I use 1/2 tsp in my non fat greek vanilla yogurt and fruit breakfast, my numbers are in low 90s. If I go a day without ceylon added my numbers are above120 to 150. I had read about the 2 kinds and started buying the ceylon on line.

You can buy it at some health food store as well.

Sadly, if we got rid of patents – which is against the law to begin with as it would essentially constitute the illegal seizure of intellectual property by the government – we would remove the pharmaceutical companies’ interest in developing medications in the first place. These companies exist for the profit motive alone, and since only they can marshal the considerable resources that must be invested in pharmaceutical research, banning patents would prevent the discovery of cures or treatments which could save millions of lives. I’m no fan of big pharma, but I don’t think the answer lies in annihilating the entire industry.

A very interesting and thought provoking discussion. It’s especially interesting to see a doctor or two chiming it with things like: ‘we’ll probably never know what the body really needs.’

Sadly, many American doctors are turning out to be some of the most confused and ill-informed of all about nutrition. They’re taught to be drug pushers. Expensive drug pushers. And the drugs they push are some of the most dangerous and poisonous around. Drugs that target one problem and come with a long list of nasty side-effects. Whereas the supplements that doctors are taught to frown on and ignore target one thing and come with a long, ever-expanding, list of benefits.

But supplements aren’t patentable. So they’ll never be on the doctor’s primary list. Doctors are taught to peddle the poison first.

Our system has many strengths. We just need to get profit out of health care. It’s simply not compatible. Perhaps we should start by getting rid of patents on drugs. That would be a wonderful change.


What is good to use Cinnamon powder or cinnamon pills. Please help me to know this?.

If you plan to use cinnamon regularly, you might want to use the pills. Choose a water-based extract. This will keep you from getting too much coumarin.
Otherwise, make a tea from your cinnamon bark and drink the liquid.

Thank you for this informative article. I would be grateful for a referral to resources that will speak more about safe ways to use cinnamon. In particular, is ingestion the only way to get coumarin? If boiled, will the coumarin stay within the cassia bark? Thanks very much.

Coumarin is not water-soluble. So if you make a tea or tisane with the bark, drink the tisane and discard the bark, you will be safe.

Thanks for a very thoughtful discussion. I just wanted to mention that often, over-used pharmaceuticals, even OTC, damage the liver as well. The fact is, many substances over time can overload the liver, especially as we get older. I do find it amusing to hear medical personnel say things like “probiotics interfere with antibiotics.” There are times when the pharmaceuticals interfere not only with herbs and spices but also with the body’s natural functioning. God help us to discern wisely and well!

How much is too much cassia? I take 1-2 suppliments (410 mg) a day. Is that too much? Where can I find the healthier cinnamon supplements? Do Tumeric suppliments pose the same concern as the cassia cinnamon?

Thank you for the information.

I am 59, from Kerala , the southernmost tip of India. Here we have several trees that smell like cinnamon. My neighbours have Ceylon Cinnamon and when they harvest the bark, I get it from them. A tree in our yard which looks and smells like cinnamon has milder flavored leaves in which we prepare certain rice flour based sweets. The end product has a lovely cinnamony smell and taste. The stores sell cinnamon sticks which are thick and woody and I suspect that this is cassia as our Ceylon cinnamon bark is thin and brittle.
I have type 2 diabetes and psoriasis. I also had painful joints these days in the damp rainy weather. Last 3 days, I have been sprinkling my breakfast (steamed finger millet powder with coconut called puttu) with cassia cinnamon powder (Saigon which I bought from Costco some time back when I visited US) and a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil (Rubco). My joint pains have diminished. (I am 60).
I intend to check my lipids and blood glucose levels after 40 days. Will let you know the results.
I had uncontrolled BS when I was on rice and wheat and breads. Now I use millets for breakfast and lunch. ( Indian millets). Only at night I have one chapathi. I eat home grown vegetables and fruits including plantain( banana) and mainly use coconut oil for cooking.

I got my cinnamon from Sudan south I pick about four little backs and boil for tea, am I doing the right thing ? I need dosage level ,could there be any coumarins substance in the Sudan type?

Regarding cinnamon: I have been putting about 3/4 of a teaspoon of cassia cinnamon plus a teaspoon of pure cocoa powder into a coup of coffee each morning. I have noted that after I drink the coffee, there is a good amount of sludge at the bottom. It seems like the cocoa powder dissolved, but the cinnamon didn’t. Does that mean I have achieved easily the goal of dissolving easily the good part of cinnamon and if I don’t gulp down the sludge eliminated the coumarin?
Thank you.

For pete sakes people stop overdoing it! More does not mean better. My mother put cinnamon on our toast (not every morning) and once every day in apple sauce when we were kids! It was just a sprinkle, and none of us children have suffered side effects except like our mid-life adult counterparts who now have blood sugar problems. Keep overdosing and big government will take it off the shelve and regulated cinnamon to death. Do your research and understand your medical history before making decisions.

I was putting a stick of cinnamon that I bought at an Indian grocery store, in with my coffee. Not sure what it was doing to my diabetes, but I did develop a a series of canker sores on my tongue. I have had a reaction to cinnamon flavored gum in the past. I was told that I was one of the 2% of the population allergic to the oil of cinnamon. just wanted to let people know of this.

Is Cinnamon tea safe? I have been drinking different brands from local stores and hit on this as my favorite taste hoping also to get the health benefits of cinnamon. Now I see there are risks as well. I drink at least 4 cups a day. Not sure if the concerns apply here.

I read all the info about water solubility and coffee filters, but have a question about adding cinnamon (cassia, if that’s all I have) to loose tea leaves in a metal infuser positioned over/in a tea pot. Then pour hot/boiling water over the tea leaves/cinnamon, steep, and drink the resulting tea. Would the cinnamon dissolve in the hot water? No filter to strain it out. Just a metal infuser with small holes in it.
I plan to purchase Ceylon cinnamon next time I shop, but have “fancy Vietnamese” cinnamon in house now. Plus, I sometimes purchase Chai flavored loose tea, which has cinnamon, cardamon, etc in it. I want to be sure it’s safe to steep this via the infuser and not get the coumarin. I realize this may seem similar to to the coffee brewing scenario, but I am intentionally drinking a lot of tea all day, so I want to be sure this would be safe without the paper filter that is present in the coffee examples. Thanks for your help.

I find this article very interesting, esp. since I have read of anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and in arthritis. Also, I see no mention of limiting the use of turmeric in foods since turmeric contains curcumin.
If curcumin poses risks it seems the risk is even greater for those using both cassia cinnamon and turmeric as seasonings, and possibly as dietary supplements. What is the level of curcumin that poses the risk?
People’s Pharmacy response: Curcumin, a component of turmeric, is distinct from coumarin, sometimes a component of cassia cinnamon. Coumarin is the one we worry about, but people taking the anticoagulant warfarin have reported that turmeric/curcurmin may interact with the drug to make bleeding more likely.

I am confused, is Ceylon cinnamon ok? Everything in my pantry is cassia. I have some capsules from health food store that do not say water soluble.
I look forward to this newsletter each week and readers experiences, comments and questions.
People’s Pharmacy response: Yes, Ceylon cinnamon is OK.

This is really scary stuff here. My husband is a Type2 Diabetic and before we cottoned on to Cinnamon powder in bulk he was taking Cinnamon Capsules and see on the bottle that is IS Cassia bark.
Since then – about 2 years or so now, we’ve been buying the powder in 1lb lots from Vitacost and it comes from Star West Botanicals and is Organic, Kosher etc. The type is Cinnamomium Burmanii (Indonesia).
Is that the dreaded Cassia too? He has been having about a tablespoon on his morning breakfast concoction. Have to admit, it doesn’t seem to be doing a huge amount for his blood sugar but he’s 71 and desperate to keep off truckloads of medication. The pills he is on now would make for a scary bed-time story too! Mouse

McCormick is Cassia cinnamon. It has to say Ceylon Cinnamon on the bottle. Frontier makes it – if there is a Whole Foods near you, they carry it.

I certainly appreciate the potential concern about coumarin in Cinnamon. I would also like to point out a few questions that might strengthen the consideration of this.
1. what level of coumarin is in the plant? Plants contain hundreds of chemical constituents in small amounts (ppm) and what level of coumarin consumption is dangerous?
2. what quality of cinnamon are we talking about? Better grown, stored and fresher material will have more activity than old material. I would guess the stuff people are sprinkling on their toast is not the most potent version.
3. Can we extrapolate the research on C. verum to C. cassia? Sometimes different genus’s are very similar and sometimes not. It would be important to look closely at both profiles before determining this. Or ask an expert like Dr James Duke or Mark Blumenthal.
4. I encourage you to look at Dr Dukes phytochemical database and you will see that coumarin exists in several common plant/food sources, including Zea mays (corn) at 2000 ppm
So you see it is a matter of amount and the beauty of plants is that there are many chemicals that help to ameliorate each other. This is why you see more side effects in isolated compounds than in whole plant sources of nutrients.
I hope this is helpful in some way.
Thanks for all the great education you share!

What about Costco “Kirkland Saigon Cinnamon’: Is that Ceylon or Cassia? The type of cinnamon is not indicated on the bottle label. Thanks
People’s Pharmacy response: Saigon cinnamon is a fancy version of cassia cinnamon.

I use McCormick cinnamon-which kind is this? Can someone tell me? I have started using cinnamon and honey as my cholesterol is high.
People’s Pharmacy response: We suspect that McCormick is using cassia cinnamon, as that is the usual spice.

What amount is safe? Is any amount safe? I have taken 500mg every other day for about 6 months. Should I be concerned?
People’s Pharmacy response: If you are taking a water-based extract, that is safe.

I am type 2 diabetic. My triglyceride level was at a dangerous 300 reading in July 2013. My cholesterol was 288, and my A1C was 8.2. Medication has not been working (Janumet and Trilipix).
I did extensive research on the Ceylon vs Cassia cinnamon before trying this. I have been taking 3/4 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon since August 2013 every day, mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (just added in December) and 1 teaspoon of honey, and as of my December 2013 readings, my triglycerides are down to 121 – normal! My cholesterol, while still high, dropped to 260 and my A1C dropped to 6.5!
I know I don’t eat right (I’m trying) and don’t exercise (it’s hard with my schedule) so I had to do something else to kick start. This has worked for me.

I am not a diabetic, but have been taking Cinnamon Bark Powder Extract. Diabetes runs in my family. Have not had any side effects at all.

No mention is made, in this article, about the use of cinnamon capsules. Any information on the pros and cons of taking one of these per day? I have seen some on the shelf that have 1000mg/2 capsules.
People’s Pharmacy response: As long as the capsules are a water-soluble extract, they should be both safe and effective. Cinnulin PF is a standardized extract to look for.

Would it be feasible/effective to use the coffee pot method to filter a couple of tablespoons of cassia cinnamon (without coffee,) and ingest a bit of the cinnamon water each day? Perhaps keep the cinnamon water in a jar in the fridge? If this would be effective, it would be an affordable option for supplementing with cinnamon.
People’s Pharmacy response: This should be feasible.

Can an entire bottle of cinnamon be put in coffee filter & have boiling water poured over it? Then just put the water in a bottle, retaining the good properties & throw out what is left in the filter? Just want to make sure I understand correctly.
People’s Pharmacy response: You could do this, but your resulting liquid would be so strong it would need dilution.

You hit on 2 of, in my opinion, the most important points of using plants as medicines. 1) When ingesting a plant you are ingesting hundreds of chemicals, not just the one you are intending to ingest. When ingesting a prescribed drug you ingest one highly purified chemical. 2) We rarely, perhaps never, know all there is to know about a living organism whether plant or animal. e.g. People’s Pharmacy says, “At one time we would have said yes without hesitation. However, as more research accumulates, …”
I am a retired family physician. I have seen many drugs introduced as a “drug of choice” for disease A only to find several years later the drug causes or aggravates disease B. The chemistry of the human body is so complex I doubt we will ever fully understand it. The incredible rate of discovery and new information in medicine is nothing short of amazing, but the most amazing to me is how much we much we do not know. Questioning as People’s Pharmacy does is a vital part of keeping the health care system healthy. Acknowledging, analysing, and interpreting the data with the knowledge that the interpretation may change dramatically as new data is added (as People’s Pharmacy does) is essential to understanding the complexities we are involved with.
Dr. Geoff,
Thank you so very much for your kind comments above. You just made our year! We do strive to provide up-to-date health information that is balanced and useful. As you so thoughtfully point out, the data are constantly changing. Science is not static. Although some people become frustrated or even disillusioned with health information that changes, that is how we evolve.
Have a Happy New Year!
Joe & Terry

I use “WATER EXTRACT” cinnamon. I read that water extract removes the coumarin. I find mine in the health food vitamin section of my grocery store.
It is a patented process. I also purchase water extract cinnamon capsules from a good vitamin catalogue store/on line.

Have been using honey for arthritis and it worked pretty good, when I added cinnamon, I didn’t sleep good at night.

For 20 years I have been taking 1/2 t of cinnamon on my morning oatmeal. At the time I started eating it, cinnamon was claimed by health food gurus to lower cholesterol. Mine was borderline. In all those years it never became higher nor have I ever suffered liver malfunction. Enzymes are normal. It was warned that the 1/2 teaspoon should not be exceeded because cinnamon poisoning was a serious possibility.
No distinction was made between different cinnamon species nor were there findings yet that cinnamon could lower blood sugar. Eating 2 TABLESPOONS a day of anything which can be sprinkled on food, but is not food, seems excessive to me.

I believe that I read in a previous article that cinnamon sticks are safe to use. We’ve been making a “tea” from the sticks and drinking about 1/2 cup a day. Is this safe?
People’s Pharmacy response: Yes. Since coumarin is not water soluble and you are not eating the sticks, this is safe.

I have been brewing 1/4 teaspoon of ordinary cinnamon cassia with my coffee. I do not recall where I got the 1/4 tsp dosage but I read it somewhere. The question now is whether this is safe, and, if so, is this amount sufficient to influence blood sugar positively. (I use an old-fashioned Farberware electric percolator with a paper disk to capture the volatile oils of the coffee).
Any thoughts? Should I switch to Cinnulin capsules?
People’s Pharmacy response: You may well have gotten the dose from our site. And this is safe, since you are consuming the coffee and not the grounds or the cinnamon powder.

why don’t people use a glucose meter to see what is going on.I am prediabetic. I learned my glucose reading was 109 fasting at the doctor and a1c 5.8 I have been watching my food intake cut down on sugars and carbs was glucose is average 95 forpast 30 days. I started cinnamon ceylon a total of 1 teaspoon a day. I spread it out with hot water to drink with is breakfast, lunch and dinner and save a little to drink with my snack at night. Been doing this last 4 days. it is making a difference on my sugar both fasting and 1,2 and 3 hours after eat not spiking big keeping sugar levels good. I get blood test by doc tomorrow get results next week. I know my glucose meter is telling me I should be around 5 . 2 to 5. 3 for a1c test.

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