Cinnamon is a spice sourced from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. Cinnamon’s medicinal uses include lowering cholesterol, regulating blood sugar and relieving arthritis pain.

What are its health benefits?

Cinnamon's healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.

Cinnamon is a rich source of manganese, fiber, iron and calcium too.

Reportedly, cinnamon may have the following benefits:

  • Assisting in the management of high cholesterol
  • Aiding in the regulation of blood sugar
  • Assisting in the symptomatic relief of arthritis
  • Assisting in the management of yeast infections and bacteria infections caused by E. Coli
  • Anti-clotting properties

Cinnamon may support the metabolism, which helps the body burn fat. Cinnamon and honey are used in combination to assist in weight loss.

Find it in these sources

Cinnamon is available in either stick or powder form. While the sticks can be stored for longer, the cinnamon powder has a stronger flavour. It can be sprinkled on or added to various foods, or drunk as a warm beverage.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

Because cinnamon is an unproven treatment, there is no established RDA. Some recommend a half to one teaspoon (2 to 4g) of powder a day. Some studies have used between 1 and 6g of cinnamon per day. Very high doses may be toxic.

Possible side effects

Cinnamon side effects are rare. Heavy use of cinnamon may irritate the mouth and lips, causing sores. In some people, it can cause an allergic reaction. Applied to the skin, it might cause redness and irritation.

Warnings

If you take any medication regularly, talk to your doctor or Clicks pharmacist before you start using cinnamon supplements. They could interact with antibiotics, diabetes drugs, blood thinners and heart medicines.

Taking cinnamon during pregnancy is not advised as it may induce premature labour or uterine contractions.

When buying cinnamon, make sure you buy real cinnamon and not cassia – a herb that look and tastes like cinnamon, and may even be labelled cinnamon — but does not carry the same health benefits.

Cassia contains higher amounts of coumarin than true cinnamon, which is responsible for some of the following side effects:

  • Stomach irritation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Blood thinning
  • Uterine contractions
  • Kidney and liver problems

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in September 2015