Side Effects of Cinnamon
Last updated on September 27, 2011
You may know about the benefits of cinnamon, but what about its side effects? Here are some of the side effects of cinnamon that you need to be aware of.
Note on Identification
“Cassia” is an herb which looks and tastes like cinnamon and can be found on some store shelves labeled as cinnamon when actually it does not carry the health benefits of true “Ceylon cinnamon”. The first step in using cinnamon safely is knowing what you are getting. Cassia contains higher amounts of coumarin than true cinnamon and coumarin is responsible for some of the side effects listed below.
The essential oil of cinnamon must never be applied directly to the skin. Small amounts of the diluted oil can be used for refreshment and to fight infection but the oil alone can quickly cause severe burning and irritation to exposed skin. Allergies are rare but sometimes manifest as sores.
Those with any prior condition of the digestive system such as an ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome should be careful when eating cinnamon. Large amounts (more than 1/2 a teaspoon) may cause the lining of the stomach to become irritated.
Increased Heart Rate
Large amounts of cinnamon have been reported to increase heart rate which could be dangerous for those with a heart condition. Increased heart rate is also linked to cinnamon oil poisoning in children.
Some traditional medicine practitioners will give a mother cinnamon in order to induce or normalize contractions. Therefore, pregnant women may want to avoid cinnamon.
Cinnamon may have anti-clotting properties and may cause over thinning of the blood if you are taking blood thinners. Large doses of cinnamon should also not be used before surgery, during heavy menstruation, or in any situation where a lot of bleeding may occur.
Kidney and Liver Problems
There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that people with kidney or liver problems or people who are taking drugs that are processed in the liver may want to avoid taking high doses of cinnamon due to its coumarin content. Coumarin levels are higher in cassia than in true cinnamon, but cinnamon does contain compounds that are known to be toxic to the kidneys at high doses.
People taking medication to regulate blood sugar should be careful when taking cinnamon, as it also has a powerful effect on blood sugar and the two in combination may lower blood sugar too much.
Cinnamon is a powerful antibiotic, but check with your doctor before taking cinnamon if you are taking prescription antibiotics, because it may change the way prescription antibiotics act on the body.
If you want to try cinnamon as a natural remedy, check out our 4 Best Cinnamon Powders to make sure you buy the right cinnamon powder.