10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

November 13, 2019
Whether ingested or used topically, cinnamon can help prevent and improve a multitude of different health issues. Plus, it's great for beauty problems, too!

We enjoy it in teas and desserts, as cinnamon sticks and powdered. But in addition to being a standard ingredient in the kitchen, there are also some great health benefits of cinnamon.

Would you like to learn how? Read on!

Cinnamon is a spice that is obtained from the inner bark of trees scientifically known as Cinnamomum. It’s an ingredient that has been valued throughout history both for its gastronomic uses and for its medicinal applications. Do you know about the health benefits of cinnamon?

While it’s not a miraculous ingredient to fight disease, cinnamon has compounds that promote health. According to information in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, cholesterol lowering and immunomodulatory effects.

In addition, it has shown promising results as a complement to diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Best of all, it is a very economical ingredient that can be easily acquired in supermarkets and herbalists. Here are its main uses.

“We recommend reading: The Therapeutic Benefits of Cinnamon Oil and How to Make It

Types of cinnamon

There are many types of cinnamon, but only four are used for commercial use:

  • Cinnamon Cassia: This is the cheapest and possibly the most popular. Its consumption in high doses isn’t advised in order to avoid possible liver damage.
  • Ceylon Cinnamon: Experts recommend consuming this type of cinnamon because of its superior quality, and because it isn’t harmful to the body. Its flavor is soft, sweet and fragrant.
  • Cinnamon Korintje: This is a similar cinnamon to Cassia.
  • Saigon Cinnamon: This is also known as Vietnamese cinnamon and is considered to have the best taste and smell, although its high levels of coumarin can be harmful to health.

Health benefits of cinnamon

Cinnamon is known throughout the world for its particular taste and smell. This is due to its more oily part, which is rich in a compound called cinnamaldehyde. According to information in the National Library of Medicine of the United States, this substance has hypoglycemic, vasodilator and antifungal effects.

In fact, many of the health benefits of cinnamon are attributed to this substance. However, it should be noted that, in high doses, cinnamon can be harmful. Therefore, its consumption should be moderate, always in minimum quantities.

In addition, we can’t consider it to be a cure for diseases and it can interfere with the action of certain medications. Because of this, it’s advisable to consult your doctor before taking it as a supplement. Let’s see the details of their properties.

1. Helps to reduce swelling

The antioxidant components of cinnamon have an anti-inflammatory effect that help reduce the risk of disease. This is supported by a study published in Food & Function, which suggests that its organic extracts have a powerful anti-inflammatory activity. This, in general, prevents inflammation from attacking the body’s own tissues.

2. It balances glucose levels

People with type 2 diabetes should become best friends with cinnamon.

Having it on any empty stomach or after meals lowers your blood sugar levels. This is backed up by a study in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism.

According to other research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, cinnamon compounds such as hydroxicalcone act on cells with an effect similar to insulin.

3. It treats athlete’s foot

Cinnamon essential oil, known for its antifungal properties, is used in the treatment of athlete’s foot. On the affected foot, previously washed and dried, we apply the oil and cover it with a sock so that it acts at night and doesn’t stain the sheets. In addition, it works as a natural deodorant for feet.

Cinnamon tea.

4. It can help with respiratory problems

Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Therefore, as noted in a study published in the journal Nutrients, it can help us reduce the symptoms of respiratory problems. To this end, it can be consumed as an infusion, up to 2 times a day.

5. It can help you to lose weight

Cinnamon won’t reduce excess weight on its own. It should be remembered that a healthy weight is the sum of several factors such as healthy eating and regular physical exercise. However, due to its beneficial properties, this spice can serve as a supplement to lose weight.

A recent meta-analysis published in Clinical Nutrition concluded that cinnamon supplementation favors obesity control. Therefore, it can be suggested as a complement in the management of obesity.

“Want to learn more? Lose Weight With This Cinnamon and Bay Leaf Tea

Cinnamon benefits.

6. It can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Cinnamon has essential oils, magnesium, zinc flavonoids and iodine, which favor blood circulation, and therefore the proper functioning of our brain.

In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it was found that substances such as cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin contained in this spice can inhibit the accumulation of a protein in the brain called tau, which is often associated with Alzheimer’s.

7. It keeps you young

Because of its high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants, it isn’t surprising that cinnamon also benefits your skin’s health. Both its consumption and its external application can contribute to a rejuvenated and healthy skin. You can apply it as a mask by combining it with honey.

8. It can relax your muscles

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is widely used in oils for massages. Its aroma serves to relax tired and sore muscles.

You can also enjoy its benefits in a bath. You just need to fill the bathtub with hot water and add a tablespoon of cinnamon; relax in it for around 15 minutes.

9. It can relieve menstrual cramps

A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research concluded that cinnamon can be considered as a safe and effective treatment for primary dysmenorrhea. When there are menstrual pains, drink a cup of hot milk with cinnamon before bedtime, and it will soothe the stomach pains and relax the muscles.

10. Bone health

Although the evidence in this regard is limited, the consumption of cinnamon could be beneficial to take care of bone health. Both its antioxidant content and its minerals and anti-inflammatory agents would be behind this effect.

In summary

Cinnamon is a healthy spice whose benefits are backed up by science. Although it is not a first-line treatment for diseases, it can be beneficial in some cases. However, for safe use, it’s better to consult the doctor before taking it regularly.

  • Gruenwald, J., Freder, J., & Armbruester, N. (2010). Cinnamon and health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition50(9), 822–834. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408390902773052
  • Hajimonfarednejad, Mahdieh & Ostovar, Mohaddese & Raee, Mohammad & Hashempur, M. & Mayer, Johannes & Heydari, Mojtaba. (2018). Cinnamon: A systematic review of adverse events. Clinical Nutrition. 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.03.013.
  • Gunawardena, D., Karunaweera, N., Lee, S., Van Der Kooy, F., Harman, D. G., Raju, R., … Münch, G. (2015). Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon (C. zeylanicum and C. cassia) extracts – Identification of E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxy cinnamaldehyde as the most potent bioactive compounds. Food and Function6(3), 910–919. https://doi.org/10.1039/c4fo00680a
  • Jarvill-Taylor, K. J., Anderson, R. A., & Graves, D. J. (2001). A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition20(4), 327–336. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2001.1071905
  • Kirkham, S., Akilen, R., Sharma, S., & Tsiami, A. (2009, December). The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01094.x
  • Abdalla, W. (2018). Antibacterial and Antifungal Effect of Cinnamon. Microbiology Research Journal International23(6), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.9734/MRJI/2018/41345
  • Nabavi SF, Di Lorenzo A, Izadi M, Sobarzo-Sánchez E, Daglia M, Nabavi SM. Antibacterial Effects of Cinnamon: From Farm to Food, Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Industries. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):7729–7748. Published 2015 Sep 11. doi:10.3390/nu7095359
  • Mousavi, S. M., Rahmani, J., Kord-Varkaneh, H., Sheikhi, A., Larijani, B., & Esmaillzadeh, A. (2019). Cinnamon supplementation positively affects obesity: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2019.02.017
  • George, R. C., Lew, J., & Graves, D. J. (2013). Interaction of cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin with tau: Implications of beneficial effects in modulating alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease36(1), 21–40. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-122113
  • Jaafarpour M, Hatefi M, Khani A, Khajavikhan J. Comparative effect of cinnamon and Ibuprofen for treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(4):QC04–QC7. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/12084.5783