Which Cinnamon is Safe?

Cinnamon has a long history of use as a spice and medicine and is revered for its many health benefits. Recently, cinnamon has received a lot of positive press for its ability to help with blood sugar control. Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood glucose levels in prediabetics and individuals with type 2 diabetes. However, concerns about cinnamon’s safety have also been raised.

Safety concerns stem from the source of the cinnamon and chemical content. Most cinnamon sold in supermarkets is Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum aromaticaum, and Cinnamomum burmannii), which are not true cinnamon. Only Ceylon cinnamon, from the Cinnamomum zylanicum plant is considered true cinnamon, “Cinnamomum verum.”

While there are many similarities between Cassia and true cinnamon, Cassia has a higher coumarin content. Coumarins are naturally occurring plant components that have been shown to be hepatotoxic (toxic to the liver). Even small amounts (like that found in sprinkling over oatmeal or drinking cinnamon-based tea) can exceed the tolerable daily intake for children and adults. Therefore, it is recommended that when buying cinnamon to use as a spice, seek out the Ceylon powder/sticks over Cassia to ensure your safety. Continue reading “Which Cinnamon is Safe?”

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April 2013