Cinnamon: Health Benefits

Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon's Health Benefits: Traditional and Modern

Cinnamon is certainly a delicious spice, but is it healthy too? In fact, cinnamon has long had a role in medicine. The Chinese have used the spice for ailments ranging from colds to flatulence and believe that it improves the circulation and promotes energy. In Ayurveda, cinnamon is again used to treat colds, but also indigestion and diabetes. It is this last claim that has made headlines in recent years.

Cinnamon and Diabetes

A 2003 study carried out in Pakistan and published in the medical journal Diabetes Care claimed to have found that a daily dose of cinnamon reduced blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Critics counsel caution; the study group was very small and they feel that further, larger scale, studies are needed. In addition, the study did not go on to explore the long term effects of the spice. On the other hand, the study does offer hope for diabetics, there are plenty of people who can offer up anecdotal evidence of cinnamon helping them and it has been used in other cultures for centuries.

If you do decide to use cinnamon to help manage your diabetes, the common suggestion is that you use a half teaspoon a day. This should be used as an addition to an already healthy diet. Alternatively, if you can't think of how to add the spice to your food, you can take a capsule.

If you have diabetes, always check with your doctor before starting to take cinnamon as a supplement.

Chew Your Way to Better Breath with Cinnamon

More Cinnamon Health Benefits

There are plenty of claims that small doses of cinnamon are also helpful for a range of other conditions and ailments.

  • Yeast infections - use cinnamon oil to alleviate the effects of thrush.
  • Arthritis - a Danish university study found that half a teaspoon of cinnamon combined with a tablespoon of honey, taken before breakfast, could ease the pain of arthritis.
  • Stomach upsets and diarrhoea can benefit from taking cinnamon which is said to combat the E Coli bacteria. Put a teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and honey in a cup of warm milk.
  • Appetite suppressant - anecdotal evidence from some diabetics using cinnamon suggest that this is a useful side-effect.
  • Bad breath - cinnamon doesn't just cover up bad breath, it actually helps fight the bacteria responsible for causing the problem.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - there is some suggestion of a link between diabetes and PCOS, so it maybe worth using cinnamon if you have the condition.

Choose the Right Cinnamon

Confusingly, there are four different types of cinnamon, two of which are common. Of the two, "True" or Ceylon cinnamon is less commonly available. It tends to be sweet, paler in colour, easily ground up and costs more. Ceylon cinnamon sticks roll up in a single curl.  Cassia cinnamon is the type of cinnamon used in the 2003 study and fortunately it is the spice more likely to be found on sale in the USA and Europe. It is darker in colour, the quills are harder and it cannot so easily be ground up.  Cassia sticks tend to have a double curl.

Cinnamon Types

Side-Effects: When Not to Use Cinnamon

  • Pregnant and breast-feeding women should NOT use cinnamon
  • After surgery - because it affects blood sugar
  • If you have liver disease - it contains chemicals that can be harmful if you have liver problems.
  • If you are diabetic check with your medical practitioner.

A delicious glass of golden cinnamon tea
A delicious glass of golden cinnamon tea | Source

How to Make Cinnamon Tea

One of the simplest ways to add cinnamon to your diet is to make cinnamon tea. It's fragrant and refreshing and looks rather appealing too. Here's how to make it.

Ingredients: 1 cinnamon stick and 1 cup of boiling water

Break the cinnamon stick into pieces and put it into the cup. Pour on the boiling water, cover and allow to brew for 10 minutes. Top up the cup with hot water throughout the day.

You may find that you want to increase or decrease the amount of cinnamon stick that you use.  If you want to sweeten it, use honey, which will also add an anti-bacterial benefit too.

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Comments 38 comments

Cousin Fudd profile image

Cousin Fudd 5 years ago from From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina

Great information, thanks for sharing.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you, my pleasure!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I enjoyed reading the information in your hub and loved the way that you pointed out the limitations in the 2003 cinnamon and diabetes study and the precautions that should be taken with cinnamon. I think that cinnamon is delicious and love adding it to foods and drinks. Any health benefits that it has are an added benefit! Thanks for a useful and interesting hub.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you AliciaC. I became interested in the use of cinnamon for diabetics soon after the study was published as my father has diabetes. It holds out great hope, but to make an informed decision you need to hear all sides of the debate.


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

Terrific advice and info about cinnamon!

I love adding cinnamon to my tea. It gives the tea a nice flavor and add extra health benefits to an otherwise healthy beverage.

Great hub!

Sannel


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Sannel - I love cinnamon on my porridge. I am still holding out for the research that says it cancels out the fat in my favourite cinnamon pastries though!


Cresentmoon2007 profile image

Cresentmoon2007 5 years ago from Caledonia, MI

interesting, thanks for posting.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Cresentmoon - thank you for taking the time to comment and glad you found it interesting :-)


Cresentmoon2007 profile image

Cresentmoon2007 5 years ago from Caledonia, MI

You're welcome!


shwetha123 profile image

shwetha123 5 years ago

Very informative. Thanks for sharing


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Shwetha - glad you found the hub interesting and thanks for taking the time to comment :-)


carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

I never knew how healthy cinnamon was for you, but I sure enjoy it in my food and hot beverages, thanks for sharing this healthy info, now I'll have even more...


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for the comment Carcro - glad you found the information useful :-)


gryphin423 profile image

gryphin423 5 years ago from Florida

I need to increase the cinnamon I put on my oatmeal in the morning! Good info, thanks ;-)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Gryphin - thanks for your comment - enjoy your cinnamon :-)


samanthamsmith profile image

samanthamsmith 5 years ago from Small Town USA

Thanks judi.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

You are very welcome Samantha - welcome to HubPages :-)


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Judi, I love your profile pic.

I didn't know there was 4 types of cinnamon!

very interesting, I enjoyed reading, thank you for sharing. Best wishes MM


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Movie Master - I am always proud to wear a poppy.

I had no idea there were four types of cinnamon either - that's one of the things I am enjoying about HubPages, I am learning a lot, both from other people's hubs and from researching my own.

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.


icciev profile image

icciev 5 years ago from Kuwait

very informative hub filled with lots of tips of information, never knew cinnamon could be this much useful. thanks again and voted up.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hello icciev - glad to hear you found this useful, thanks for your comments :-)


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 5 years ago from Greece

Interesting hub. I love cinnamon on rice pudding and milk tart, but didn't realise it could benefit our health. Also I had noticed that the cinnamon here in Greece is stronger tasting than cinnamon I'd had in elsewhere. I put it down to how it was stored - I keep mine in the fridge to help preserves it's freshness - now I know it's probably a different type of cinnamon.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Debbie - we had cinnamon in Sri Lanka and noticed a difference too. Like you, I assumed at the time it was down to storage, now I know!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I love cinnammon and use it regularly, but had no idea it has so many health benefits. I prefer Saigon cinnamon, which has a high concentration of oils. yum!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Vespawoolf - Saigon cinnamon is a new one of me, I shall keep a look out for it - thanks for the heads up and your comments :-)


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

A book entitled "The Little Herb Encyclopedia" cautions against cinnamon in the first trimester of a pregnancy. I mention that for what it's worth.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you Perspycasious for adding to this hub, much appreciated!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Wonderful information. I knew I loved cinnamon for a good reason! I actually sprinkle ground cinnamon over my coffee grounds before I make my coffee in the mornings. It adds just a light cinnamon taste and makes my house smell good too! Great hub! Voted up and useful! :)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi sgbrown - I have never heard of using cinnamon this way before, but then again, I don't drink coffee! I like the idea of the house smelling of cinnamon though.

Thanks for commenting, much appreciated :-)


Talullah profile image

Talullah 4 years ago from SW France

Very interesting and very useful. Thanks for sharing! Great hub!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Talullah - glad to hear that you found this interesting and useful. I am still taking my cinnamon every morning on my porridge - at the very least it tastes great!

Thanks for taking the time to comment, it's appreciated :-)


Sandy Frost profile image

Sandy Frost 4 years ago from India

I have known the benefits of cinnamon only as a spice or it is used in biscuits and cookies for adding some flavour. This hub informed a lot more advantages as it's medicinal and health uses.

Thanks for sharing these useful details. :)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Sandy - very pleased to hear that you found this hub useful.

Thanks so much for your comments, I appreciate them :-)


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago

Cinnamon has always been used in the treatment of diabetes in India.. but the Pakistan study came up with the added results of lowered triglycerides was an icing on the cake. Thanks for that information about cinnamon tea... I will try it sometime soon.. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Sofs - I hope that there are more studies soon that confirm the Pakistan study, it would be great if it really works and people have a safe and easy way to help control diabetes.

Thanks for your comments - much appreciated, and you have a good day too :-)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I grew up on cinnamon tea and still enjoy a cup now and then. I use it in my coffee to spice it up. Great hub on cinnamon and well done! Voted up.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi teaches12345 - that's an unusual and very healthy drink to give a child, your parents were clearly very enlightened!

Thanks very much for your comments, always appreciated :-)


Vijit 4 years ago

Great article and very useful information. My mom is diabetic. I will definitely try this out.

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