10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

02 May, 2021
Cinnamon has been widely studied due to its traditional health-related uses. Thanks to this, today the evidence supports many of its properties. Learn all about the health benefits of cinnamon.

Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of trees scientifically known as Cinnamomum. It’s an ingredient that’s had a high value 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’s shown promising results as a complement to diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Best of all, it’s a very economical ingredient that you can acquire easily 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 possibly the most popular. Experts warn against its consumption in high 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 many consider it to have the best taste and smell, although its high levels of coumarin can be harmful to health.
Fresh ground cinnamon.
Research on cinnamon has determined that it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial.

Health benefits of cinnamon

Cinnamon is popular 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. A study published in Food & Function supports this, suggesting 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. A study in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism provide evidence on the subject.

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 useful as a treatment for 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.

A woman standing on her tiptoes.
Evidence is lacking, but cinnamon essential oil has shown antifungal activity. Therefore, it’s believed to help against athlete’s foot.

4. It can help with respiratory problems

Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Therefore, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients, it can help us reduce the symptoms of respiratory problems. To this end, you can drink it 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. Don’t forget 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 may be complement in the management of obesity.

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

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.

A study the appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 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. For now, this remains a matter of investigation.

7. It keeps you young

Because of its nutrient and antioxidant content, it’s not surprising that cinnamon also benefits skin health. Many believe that both its consumption and external application may help prevent premature aging. However, there’s a lack of evidence to prove it.

  • You can apply it as a mask by combining half a teaspoon with honey. However, it’s not a good idea in the case of sensitive skin.

8. It can relax your muscles

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s popular in oils for massages. Its aroma serves to relax tired and sore muscles. You can also enjoy its benefits in a bath.  It may also be useful to add the oil to the bath water.

9. It can relieve menstrual cramps

Among the health benefits of cinnamon, it can help reduce menstrual pain.
Cinnamon doesn’t miraculously disappear menstrual cramps, but it does help to reduce them.

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 cramps, ingesting a cup of infusion serves as a pain reliever.

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. Specifically, they may help reduce risk such as osteoporosis and inflammatory conditions.

Cinnamon for your health

In itself, cinnamon isn’t a treatment for any illness or disease. However, included in the framework of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, it’s beneficial. Its components, through various research studies, have shown positive health effects.

The important thing is to take it in moderate amounts. For its safe use, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking it regularly. The professional will help to establish if there are risks of unwanted effects or possible contraindications.

  • 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