Cinnamon: Pantry staple and medical powerhouse?

Posted at 5:30 PM, Oct 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-20 17:30:56-04

Who doesn’t love the taste or smell of cinnamon?  But for centuries this popular spice has also been used for its medicinal qualities.

Scientists have been studying cinnamon for its effects on a several health issues. 

Research has shown it may help to lower blood glucose levels, improve cholesterol and could offer protection against dementia. It may also help with wound healing, lower blood pressure and could have cancer fighting properties. 

But the research is not conclusive and there are studies with conflicting results. So we can’t yet recommend cinnamon as a health aid.

Cassia is the more common type of cinnamon and likely what you’re more familiar with as it’s found in most supermarkets. 

But Ceylon is known as the “true” cinnamon and may be the better option for good health.  That’s because research found significant amounts of a plant compound in Cassia that can be harmful and may damage people’s liver if it’s consumed in high doses. 

Partha’s RX:

  1. Look for Ceylon cinnamon.  If you can’t find it, use the Cassia variety in small amounts.
  2. Use between 1 and 6 grams, which is roughly a half-teaspoon to three teaspoons.  Stick to a half teaspoon or less if using Cassia.
  3. If you have type 2 diabetes and want to try cinnamon, do a self-test. Check your blood levels before and after you eat, and three hours later to see if it’s had any impact.
  4. Never substitute cinnamon for prescription medicine.  If you’re diabetic, talk to your doctor first before making cinnamon a habit.  You don’t want blood sugar levels to be too low either.

The research is still too early to decide if cinnamon supplements are safe for most people.  I would recommend you stick to cooking with it or sprinkling it on drinks and foods.