Science Based Benefits of Cinnamon (Tea, Powder) + Side Effects

Science Based Benefits of Cinnamon (Tea, Powder) + Side Effects

Cinnamon is a tasty spice that is full of medicinal properties that can help alleviate many ailments. Cinnamon spice has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that promote good health. What is cinnamon good for? Cinnamon powder helps to protect your cardio health, prevent infection, boost your immunity, and prevent infection.

Apart from adding cinnamon spice to your food to get its health benefits, you can also drink cinnamon tea. Cinnamon tea made from a cinnamon stick or cinnamon powder is a delicious healthy drink that you can consume daily.

In this article, you will learn what science says as to the many reasons why cinnamon is good for your general health. You will also find easy recipes to make your own aromatic cinnamon tea at home.

What Is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of trees belonging to the Cinnamon genus. Researchers say that cinnamon is one of the most popular and important spices in use today. Cinnamon has long been used in traditional medicine, and recent scientific research backs up many of these uses. (1)

Cinnamon is made by drying the inner bark from the cinnamon tree. This creates hard cinnamon sticks or rolls. Cinnamon powder is made by grinding the stick into a fine powder. Cinnamon is also available in capsules.

There are 2 main types of cinnamon that are used for medicinal and culinary purposes.

  • Ceylon cinnamon which is also called “true cinnamon
  • Cassia cinnamon

The journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine reports that the best type of cinnamon to use is Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). This type of cinnamon is referred to as “true cinnamon” and is also called Sri Lankan cinnamon. (2)

What is Ceylon cinnamon good for? True cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon) has been linked to reducing cholesterol, lowering hypertension, reducing blood glucose, and treating various infections. (2)

The other type of cinnamon, cassia Cinnamon, is generally cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon. However, cassia cinnamon tends to retain its flavor better during cooking. Other types of cinnamon used for commercial purposes are Saigon and Korintje cinnamon.

The major compound in cinnamon bark that gives it its therapeutic properties is cinnamaldehyde. (2)

Ceylon Cinnamon VS Cassia Cinnamon – Which One Is Better?

Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicumis) also known as “true cinnamon” is native to Sri Lanka.

Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticaum and Cinnamomum burmannii) also known as “Saigon cinnamon” is native to Burma and also grown in China and Vietnam.

You are more likely to find cassia cinnamon in the United States and Canada due to its cheaper price.

Ceylon cinnamon is typically more expensive than any of the cassia versions, but it’s more closely associated with the potential health benefits of cinnamon.

Another advantage to Ceylon cinnamon is its very low coumarin levels. Coumarin is a naturally occurring substance which has the potential to damage the liver and lungs in high doses. Cassia cinnamon is a main source of coumarin. (3)

A study from 2012 found that Cassia cinnamon contains up to 1% coumarin, whereas true cinnamon contains only a trace, about 0.004%. (3)

So for people who are cinnamon lovers and consume large amounts of cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon is the best choice.

How to Tell the Difference Between Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter and more delicate flavor whereas cassia cinnamon is slightly darker in color and has a stronger flavor. The problem is that there is no way to distinguish between Ceylon cinnamon and cassia powders. So when you purchase cinnamon powder, try to find on the product label the source of the cinnamon or call the customer service or manufacturer to find this information.

If you buy a cinnamon stick, Ceylon cinnamon has a different appearance than cassia stick. The bark of Ceylon cinnamon is thinner and the stick will show multiple layers of a thinner bark. Cassia stick, on the other hand, is thicker, comes in one piece and doesn’t show multiple layers of any kind.

Ceylon Cinnamon vs Cassia Cinnamon

Ceylon Cinnamon vs Cassia Cinnamon

Cinnamon Nutrition

Cinnamon is so good for your overall health because it contains many antioxidants and is low in calories. One teaspoon (2.6 g) of ground cinnamon contains just 6 calories and about 1.4 grams of fiber. (4)

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that a tablespoon (7.8 g) of cinnamon powder contains 1.4 mg of manganese (68% recommended daily intake), 78 mg of calcium (8% RDI), 0.6 mg of iron (4% RDI), and trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, and some vitamins. (4, 46)

What is Cinnamon Tea?

You can easily make cinnamon tea by mixing cinnamon powder or infusing cinnamon stick in boiling water.

The best way to make cinnamon tea is to mix a little hot water with a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to make a fine paste. Then gradually add more water to make your delicious, caffeine-free cinnamon tea.

At the end of the article, you will find out how to make a tasty hot cinnamon beverage using a cinnamon stick.

Is Cinnamon Good For You? Proven Health Benefits of Cinnamon (Powder, Bark, Tea)

Is cinnamon healthy? There are many reasons to use more cinnamon to spice up your food or create a warming cinnamon tea. Research published in 2016 found that cinnamon bark contains polyphenols (antioxidants found in plants) that have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial properties. (5)

Cinnamon Contains Antioxidants and Strengthens Your Immune System

Starting your day with a delicious cup of cinnamon tea is good to boost your immunity because cinnamon contains a lot of antioxidants.

Scientists have found that cinnamon is one of the spices with the highest number of antioxidants. Cinnamon extracts contain phenolic compounds that have a potent antioxidant activity. (6)

Cinnamon also affects immune responses in the body and helps to improve the body’s natural defenses against microorganisms. (7)

One study on Indian cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon, or “true cinnamon”) found that the bark has a powerful immune-boosting capability. Extracts from cinnamon bark increased antibodies in the blood and helped to stimulate the immune system. (8)

Further reading: learn about an additional 9 antioxidants that help to keep your body healthy.

Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Cinnamon tea is good for helping to reduce inflammation in your body due to the compound cinnamaldehyde.

A study published in the journal Food & Function found that Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon are one of the most important anti-inflammatory foods. Cinnamon extracts contain cinnamaldehyde which can help treat age-related inflammatory conditions. (9)

Lab studies have shown that compounds in cassia cinnamon help to lower inflammatory markers in the blood. Scientists concluded that cinnamon extract has potential use in natural health products due to its excellent anti-inflammatory properties. (10)

Cinnamon powder doesn’t just help reduce inflammation internally. A study from 2017 found that cinnamon bark essential oil can help reduce inflammation on human skin. Cinnamon oil helped to boost the number of cells that allow the skin to recover from injury. (11)

A study from 2018 conducted on 36 women with rheumatoid arthritis found that the group who took 500 mg cinnamon powder daily for 8 weeks had significantly reduced Disease Activity Score and reduced swollen joints in comparison to the placebo group. The researchers concluded that cinnamon supplementation can be a potential adjunct treatment to improve inflammation and clinical symptoms in patients with RA. (47)

You can learn about other essential oils that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.

Cinnamon Has Antimicrobial Properties That Help Prevent Infection

The antibacterial and antifungal components in cinnamon tea can help to keep you free from infection.

The Oman Medical Journal published results of a study showing that “true cinnamon” has antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Researchers suggested that cinnamon extracts could be used in treating various bacterial infections. (12)

One of the health benefits of cinnamon tea is that it can improve your dental health. Scientists have found that cinnamon has antifungal activity against oral candida. In the small pilot study, cinnamon extracts were able to improve symptoms of oral candidiasis within a week. (13)

Other studies have shown that extracts from cinnamon have an antiviral effect in helping to treat upper respiratory infectious conditions. (14)

Cinnamon is Good for a Helping to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Consuming cinnamon tea every day is a good way to boost your cardio health and help prevent heart disease.

Using cinnamon bark powder for its medicinal purposes can improve cardiovascular health. A review of Indian spices found that cinnamon boosts heart health by stimulating circulation, reducing total cholesterol, and lowering fasting glucose levels. (15)

Compounds specific to cinnamon such as cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid help protect the heart because they produce nitric oxide. (16) Doctors say that nitric oxide is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. (17)

Further reading: the best foods and herbs to improve your cardio health.

Cinnamon Promotes Good Gastrointestinal Health

The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity of cinnamon means that consuming a warm cup of cinnamon tea is an excellent way to help improve your digestive health.

A study from 2017 found that phenolic compounds in cinnamon help to kill off certain types of harmful bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal upset. (18)

Regularly consuming cinnamon-spiced tea can also help reduce inflammation in your gastrointestinal system. For example, cinnamon can help to alleviate inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD). (19)

Other studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory effect of cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon helps to resolve many digestive complaints such as heartburn, excess gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. (20)

Learn about other ways to improve your digestive health and prevent diarrhea or constipation.

Cinnamon May Help Treat Gastric Ulcers

The antibacterial effect of cinnamon means that drinking cinnamon tea can be good for you if you suffer from stomach ulcers.

A study found that consuming cinnamon has a protective effect on the gut because it can suppress Helicobacter pylori infections. The H. pylori bacteria is often the cause of peptic ulcers. (21)

One study revealed that extracts from cassia cinnamon have an anti-inflammatory activity on gastric cells that have been infected with the H. pylori strain of bacteria. (20)

Not all studies are conclusive on the fact that cinnamon can help eradicate H. pylori infections. A small pilot study involving 15 adults with gastritis or duodenal ulcers received 80 mg cinnamon extract a day. There was little change in their symptoms.

However, scientists noted that cinnamon in higher doses or in conjunction with other therapy could be more effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders. (22)

Learn about other scientifically-proven methods of treating an H. pylori infection.

Cinnamon Benefits Diabetics Because It Reduces Insulin Resistance

Cinnamon stick tea is good to drink if you have diabetes because it helps to improve insulin sensitivity. Also, consuming cinnamon powder is beneficial for diabetics because it is low in carbs and high in fiber.

The Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology reported that human studies have shown that cinnamon can help manage many symptoms of diabetes. Cinnamon tea can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization. (23)

Another study found that compounds in cinnamon such as chromium and polyphenols help regulate insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon tea can also help diabetics because it reduces fasting blood glucose and LDL cholesterol (or, “bad cholesterol”). (24)

Further reading: Other foods that can help manage type 2 diabetes naturally.

Cinnamon May Prevent Blood Glucose Spikes

One of the cinnamon tea or powder health benefits is that it prevents sharp rises in levels of glucose in the blood.

One random crossover clinical trial found that Ceylon cinnamon extract (CCE) helps to lower glucose spikes after eating. 18 adults consumed 1 g Ceylon cinnamon extract before their meal. Scientists noted that the cinnamon extract helped to reduce postprandial hyperglycemia. (25)

Another study on healthy adults found that consuming 6 g of cinnamon (about 2/3 of a tablespoon) with rice pudding reduces blood glucose levels after eating and delays gastric emptying. (26)

Cinnamon Can Help You Lose Weight

If you are trying to lose weight, drinking cinnamon tea can help to boost the effectiveness of your weight-loss diet.

One small study involving 30 obese adolescents found that consuming cinnamon tea helped them to lose more weight. (27)

The journal Metabolism reported that the reason for cinnamon being good for weight loss is that cinnamaldehyde helps to burn fat cells quicker. Researchers found that cinnamon can have an anti-obesity effect and help improve metabolic health. (28)

Trials involving mice have shown that cinnamaldehyde affects the hunger hormone ghrelin and also improve glucose tolerance. This had the effect of causing the mice to eat less and lose weight. (29)

Other clinical trials have shown that supplementing the diet with cinnamon extracts helps to reduce complications associated with metabolic syndrome. (30)

If you want to lose belly fat quicker, find out how ginger can help you lose inches from your waistline.

Cinnamon Increases Antioxidants That Help Protect Your Brain Health

You can use cinnamon sticks to make an antioxidant-rich cinnamon tea that helps boost cognitive function.

Ceylon cinnamon tea has proven to help reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists found that “true cinnamon” extracts help inhibit proteins in the brain which are associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. (31)

Some trials have found that cinnamon’s ability to reduce insulin resistance also has a positive effect on brain function. Researchers found that cinnamon has a neuro-protective effect on brain health. (32)

Similar results have been seen in testing how cinnamon helps protect brain function in people with Parkinson’s disease. The ability of cinnamon to improve motor functions has led scientists to say that cinnamon supplementation can benefit Parkinson’s patients. (33)

Learn about other supplements that have been proven to help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Cinnamon Improves Mood and May Help Fight Depression

Because cinnamon tea has such a positive effect on the health of your brain, it is no surprise that cinnamon can help relieve depression and anxiety.

A trial involving mice found that administering cinnamon oil helped reduce anxiety and stress. Scientists concluded that cinnamon oil would boost the effectiveness of therapies to treat anxiety and depressive disorders. (34)

If you suffer from depression and anxiety issues, learn about essential oils that can help relieve feelings of depression.

Apart from consuming more cinnamon powder to boost your mood, you can also find out about other foods that help to boost your mood.

Cinnamon Increases Bone Density and Can Prevent Osteoporosis

A cinnamon drink made from cinnamon powder or stick can help improve your bone health and may prevent bone fractures.

A trial in 2018 found that extracts of cinnamon can help to improve bone health. Cinnamon extract also helped to inhibit hormones that are connected with osteoporosis. (35)

Other studies have shown that Ceylon cinnamon bark extract also inhibits processes that result in loss of minerals in the bone. (36)

Cinnamon tea made with cinnamon bark powder is also rich in manganese. The Open Orthopaedics Journal reported that manganese is one of the minerals that are important for bone health. (37)

Learn more about what you can do to prevent osteoporosis and the effects that vitamin D has on bone health.

Cinnamon Can Assist in Managing Autoimmune Disorders

Regularly taking cinnamon tea or increasing the amount of cinnamon in your diet is good to help manage the symptoms of certain autoimmune conditions.

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are toxins that cause inflammation and can result in autoimmune diseases. Scientists found that oral supplementation of cinnamon water extracts on mice helped to lower levels of LPS. This had an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. (38)

There is also research to suggest that compounds in Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon have a neuro-protective effect on the central nervous system. Scientists have revealed that certain cinnamon extracts could play a role in treating multiple sclerosis. (39)

Learn how to spot the signs of an autoimmune disease and find out how what to do.

Cinnamon Helps to Improve the Appearance of Your Skin

One of the health benefits of consuming cinnamon tea regularly is that is can help to prevent the visible signs of aging.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that cinnamon helps to increase collagen production in the skin. The main component in cinnamon that improved the appearance of skin was cinnamaldehyde. The researchers found that cinnamon extract could be an effective anti-aging supplement for the skin. (40)

Learn about the main causes of premature aging of your face and what foods you should eat to prevent wrinkles.

Cinnamon Has Anticancer Properties

Cinnamon powder tea contains many compounds such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that have anticancer potential.

The book Herbal Medicine in the chapter “Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention and Treatment” reported that cinnamon has many cancer-fighting properties. Cinnamon extracts can help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress that can lead to cell DNA damage and cancer. Cinnamon bark extracts can help protect the gastrointestinal lining from various cancers. (41)

Polyphenols in cinnamon also help to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation which is necessary for cancer treatment. (41)

Other laboratory trials have found that polyphenols from cinnamon can inhibit the spread of cancer cells. (42)

Of course, there is still much research to be done on using cinnamon bark extracts in the treatment of various cancers. However, there are promising results from lab trials on using cinnamon in cancer treatments.

How to Make Cinnamon Tea

To get the many health benefits of cinnamon, you can put a 3-inch long piece of Ceylon cinnamon stick in a pan of water. Bring the water to the boil, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to stand for 20 minutes.

Your delicious cinnamon tea is now ready to drink. Pour the tea into another cup, add a teaspoon of raw honey, and enjoy all the health benefits of cinnamon tea.

Another option is to mix 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder in a glass of hot water. Let it infuse for a few minutes and drink to enjoy the medicinal health benefits of cinnamon.

You can also add ground cinnamon to other drinks like green tea, smoothies, and hot cacao drink.

How Much Cinnamon to Take Daily?

There is no standard dose of using cinnamon tea for medicinal purposes. WebMD website says that a dose of ½ to 1 teaspoon per day (2-4 grams) should be enough. Some studies have shown that taking up to 6 grams of cinnamon a day can be tolerated. (43)

According to the ASPCA, cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. (48) But don’t feed your dog a large quantity of cinnamon as it may leave your pet with an upset stomach.

Side Effects

Cinnamon is a delicious spice that most people can use safely without any adverse side effects.

However, too much cinnamon per day could be bad for you because large amounts can be toxic. (43)

Some medical journals report that taking too much cinnamon can result in gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. (44)

If you are taking medication for blood pressure or diabetes, you should monitor closely your conditions if taking cinnamon tea for therapeutic purposes.

Pregnant women should avoid taking cinnamon supplements due to the lack of evidence about its safety. (43)

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