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Overview InformationCassia cinnamon is a type of cinnamon. It is prepared from the dried inner bark of a certain evergreen tree. It is the most common type of cinnamon sold in North America.
Cassia cinnamon is most commonly used for diabetes. It is also used for prediabetes, gas (flatulence), obesity, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
In food and beverages, cassia cinnamon is used as a flavoring agent.
How does it work?Cassia cinnamon contains hydroxychalcone and similar chemicals. These chemicals seem to improve insulin sensitivity. Cassia cinnamon also contains chemicals that may activate blood proteins that increase blood sugar uptake. These effects may improve blood sugar control in patients with diabetes. Cassia cinnamon also contains cinnamaldehyde. This chemical might have activity against bacteria and fungi. It also seems to stop the growth of some types of solid tumor cells.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Prediabetes. It's unclear if taking cassia cinnamon improves blood sugar control or cholesterol in people with prediabetes. Results from research have been conflicting. Studies to date have been small and have assessed different cassia cinnamon preparations. Larger, higher quality studies are needed to confirm which, if any, forms of cassia cinnamon can benefit people with prediabetes.
- Mosquito repellent.Early research suggests that applying cassia cinnamon oil cream to the skin can protect against mosquito bites. But it seems to decrease in effectiveness faster than creams containing citronella and geranium oils or DEET.
- Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea).
- Chest pain (angina).
- Common cold.
- Ending a pregnancy (abortion).
- Erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Gas (flatulence).
- High blood pressure.
- Joint pain.
- Long-term kidney disease (chronic kidney disease or CKD).
- Loss of appetite.
- Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence).
- Muscle cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Symptoms of menopause.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Cassia cinnamon is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth short-term. Doses of 1-6 grams of cassia cinnamon have been safely used daily for up to 6 weeks. The lower doses (1-2 grams daily) have been safely used for slightly longer (up to 3 months). Cassia cinnamon is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts for a long period of time. Cassia cinnamon contains a chemical called coumarin. Taking large amounts of coumarin can cause liver injury in some people, especially those who are sensitive. However, for most people, the amount of cassia cinnamon used will not provide enough coumarin to cause serious side effects.
When applied to the skin: Cassia cinnamon is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin in the short-term. It might cause skin irritation and allergic skin reactions.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Cassia cinnamon if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: Cassia cinnamon is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. One gram of cassia cinnamon daily has been used safely in teens for up to 3 months.
Diabetes: Cassia cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and use cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
Liver disease: Cassia cinnamon contains a chemical that might harm the liver. If you have liver disease, do not take cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
Surgery: Cassia cinnamon might lower blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking cassia cinnamon as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Be cautious with this combination
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with CASSIA CINNAMON
Cassia cinnamon might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking cassia cinnamon along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs) interacts with CASSIA CINNAMON
Taking very large doses of cassia cinnamon might harm the liver, especially in people with existing liver disease. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon along with medications that might also harm the liver might increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take large amounts of cassia cinnamon if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.
Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For diabetes: 120 mg to 6 grams taken daily for up to 4 months for type 2 diabetes.
- Chang, K. S., Tak, J. H., Kim, S. I., Lee, W. J., and Ahn, Y. J. Repellency of Cinnamomum cassia bark compounds and cream containing cassia oil to Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) under laboratory and indoor conditions. Pest.Manag.Sci. 2006;62(11):1032-1038. View abstract.
- Nahas, R. and Moher, M. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Can Fam.Physician 2009;55(6):591-596. View abstract.
- Admani S, Hill H, Jacob SE. Cinnamon Sugar Scrub Dermatitis: "Natural" Is Not Always Best. Pediatr Dermatol. 2017;34(1):e42-e43. View abstract.
- Akilen R, Tsiami A, Devendra D, Robinson N. Cinnamon in glycaemic control: Systematic review and meta analysis. Clin Nur 2012;31(5):609-15. View abstract.
- Akilen, R., Tsiami, A., Devendra, D., and Robinson, N. Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Diabet.Med. 2010;27(10):1159-1167. View abstract.
- Allen RW, Schwartzman E, Baker WL, et al. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Fam Med 2013;11(5):452-9. View abstract.
- Altschuler JA, Casella SJ, MacKenzie TA, Curtis KM. The effect of cinnamon on A1C among adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2007;30(4):813-6. View abstract.
- Anderson RA, Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, et al. Isolation and Characterization of Polyphenol Type-A Polymers from Cinnamon with Insulin-like Biological Activity. J Agric Food Chem 2004;52:65-70. View abstract.
- Baker WL, Gutierrez-Williams G, White CM, et al. Effect of cinnamon on glucose control and lipid parameters. Diabetes Care 2008;31:41-3. View abstract.
- Blevins SM, Leyva MJ, Brown J, et al. Effect of cinnamon on glucose and lipid levels in non insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2007;30:2236-7. View abstract.
- Brancheau D, Patel B, Zughaib M. Do cinnamon supplements cause acute hepatitis? Am J Case Rep 2015;16:250-4. View abstract.
- Choi, J., Lee, K. T., Ka, H., Jung, W. T., Jung, H. J., and Park, H. J. Constituents of the essential oil of the Cinnamomum cassia stem bark and the biological properties. Arch Pharm Res 2001;24(5):418-423. View abstract.
- Crawford P. Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med 2009;22:507-12. View abstract.
- De Benito V, Alzaga R. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from cassia (Chinese cinnamon) as a flavouring agent in coffee. Contact Dermatitis 1999;40:165. View abstract.
- Drake TE, Maibach HI. Allergic contact dermatitis and stomatitis caused by a cinnamic aldehyde-flavored toothpaste. Arch Dermatol 1976;112:202-3. View abstract.
- Felter SP, Vassallo JD, Carlton BD, Daston GP. A safety assessment of coumarin taking into account species-specificity of toxicokinetics. Food Chem Toxicol 2006;44:462-75. View abstract.
- Gutierrez JL, Bowden RG, Willoughby DS. Cassia cinnamon supplementation reduces peak blood glucose responses but does not improve insulin resistance and sensitivity in young, sedentary, obese women. J Diet Supp 2016;13(4):461-71. View abstract.
- He ZD, Qiao CF, Han QB, et al. Authentication and quantitative analysis on the chemical profile of cassia bark (cortex cinnamomi) by high-pressure liquid chromatography. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53:2424-8. View abstract.
- Imparl-Radosevich J, Deas S, Polansky MM, et al. Regulation of PTP-1 and insulin receptor kinase by fractions from cinnamon: implications for cinnamon regulation of insulin signalling. Horm Res 1998;50:177-82. View abstract.
- Isaac-Renton M, Li MK, Parsons LM. Cinnamon spice and everything not nice: many features of intraoral allergy to cinnamic aldehyde. Dermatitis. 2015;26(3):116-21. View abstract.
- Jarvill-Taylor KJ, Anderson RA, Graves DJ. A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20:327-36. View abstract.
- Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan M, et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2003;26:3215-8. View abstract.
- Kirkham S, Akilen R, Sharma S, Tsiami A. The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Diabetes Obes Metab 2009;11(12):1100-13. View abstract.
- Koh WS, Yoon SY, Kwon BM, et al. Cinnamaldehyde inhibits lymphocyte proliferation and modulates T-cell differentiation. Int J Immunopharmacol 1998;20:643-60. View abstract.
- Kwon BM, Lee SH, Choi SU, et al. Synthesis and in vitro cytotoxicity of cinnamaldehydes to human solid tumor cells. Arch Pharm Res 1998;21:147-52. View abstract.
- Lee HS, Ahn YJ. Growth-Inhibiting Effects of Cinnamomum cassia Bark-Derived Materials on Human Intestinal Bacteria. J Agric Food Chem 1998;46:8-12. View abstract.
- Liu Y, Cotillard A, Vatier C, et al. A Dietary Supplement Containing Cinnamon, Chromium and Carnosine Decreases Fasting Plasma Glucose and Increases Lean Mass in Overweight or Obese Pre-Diabetic Subjects: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLoS One. 2015;10(9):e0138646. View abstract.
- Lu T, Sheng H Wu J Cheng Y Zhu J Chen Y. Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutr Res. 2012;32(6):408-412. View abstract.
- Mang, B., Wolters, M., Schmitt, B., Kelb, K., Lichtinghagen, R., Stichtenoth, D. O., and Hahn, A. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur.J.Clin.Invest 2006;36(5):340-344. View abstract.
- Miller KG, Poole CF, Pawloski TMP. Classification of the botanical origin of cinnamon by solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography. Chromatographia 1996;42:639-46.
- Onderoglu S, Sozer S, Erbil KM, et al. The evaluation of long-term effcts of cinnamon bark and olive leaf on toxicity induced by streptozotocin administration to rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 1999;51:1305-12. View abstract.
- Press release. Cinnamon capsules to reduce blood sugar are medicinal products! Efficacy has not been scientifically proven - some products contain high levels of coumarin. Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfM), Germany, November 11, 2006. Available at: https://www.bfarm.de/nn_425226/EN/press/press-releases/pm2006-14-en.html.
- Ranasinghe P, Jayawardena R, Galappaththy P, et al. Response to Akilen et al. Efficacy and safety of 'true' cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) as a pharmaceutical agent in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabet Med 2013 Apr;30(4):506-7. View abstract.
- Roussel AM, Hininger I, Benaraba R, et al. Antioxidant effects of a cinnamon extract in people with impaired fasting glucose that are overweight or obese. J Am Coll Nutr 2009;28(1):16-21. View abstract.
- Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 2009 Apr;105(6):969-76. View abstract.
- Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Effects of short-term cinnamon ingestion on in vivo glucose tolerance. Diabetes Obes Metab 2007 Nov;9(6):895-901. View abstract.
- Stoecker BR, Zhan Z, Luo R, et al. Cinnamon extract lowers blood glucose in hyperglycemic subjects. FASEB J. 2010;22:722.1 (Abstract only).
- Suksomboon N, Poolsup N, Boonkaew S, Suthisisang CC. Meta-analysis of the effect of herbal supplement on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. J Ethnopharmacol 2011;137(3):1328-1333. View abstract.
- Suppapitiporn, S., Kanpaksi, N., and Suppapitiporn, S. The effect of cinnamon cassia powder in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J.Med.Assoc.Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 3:S200-S205. View abstract.
- Vandersall A, Katta R. Eyelid dermatitis as a manifestation of systemic contact dermatitis to cinnamon. Dermatitis. 2015 Jul-Aug;26(4):189. View abstract.
- Vanschoonbeek K, Thomassen BJ, Senden JM, et al. Cinnamon supplementation does not improve glycemic control in postmenopausal type 2 diabetes patients. J Nutr 2006;136:977-80. View abstract.
- Verspohl EJ, Bauer K, Neddermann E. Antidiabetic effect of Cinnamomum cassia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum in vivo and in vitro. Phytother Res 2005;19:203-6. View abstract.
- Wainstein J, Stern N, Heller S, Boaz M. Dietary cinnamon supplementation and changes in systolic blood pressure in subjects with type 2 diabetes. J Med Food 2011;14(12):1505-10. View abstract.
- Wickenberg J, Lindstedt S, Nilsson J, Hlebowicz J. Cassia cinnamon does not change the insulin sensitivity or the liver enzymes in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. Nutr J 2014 Sep 24;13:96. View abstract.
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