Cinnamon is the inner bark of trees from the genus Cinnamomum. However, the only “true cinnamon,” also referred to as Ceylon cinnamon, comes from the Cinnamomum verum tree. Cinnamon has been in existence for centuries, dating back to ancient Egypt where it was part of embalming mixtures and today it is used for a large range of purposes. It has been associated with multiple health benefits but in some cases, you should take care when consuming it as there are some cinnamon side effects.
Cinnamon Side Effects
1. Premature Labor
Some women are tempted to consume cinnamon while pregnant as it can get rid of indigestion and help with stomach pains but it should never be taken during pregnancy. That is because it can induce uterine contractions and in some cases even cause premature labor. It is okay for pregnant women to occasionally have some by they should avoid doing so daily, taking tablets or smelling the oil.
2. Liver Failure
Most types of cinnamon have around 5% Coumarin which may lead to liver failure in large doses. Instead, you should use Ceylon cinnamon as this only contains 0.04% of this substance.
3. Blood Thinner
Cassia cinnamon can thin your blood and while this may be good in some cases that is not always true. Ceylon cinnamon doesn’t have the same blood thinning effects so if you take blood thinning medication, you should avoid cassia cinnamon and stick to Ceylon.
4. Skin Irritation
Undiluted cinnamon oil may irritate the skin, even causing a burning sensation. The sensation is especially strong if you touch your genitalia after handling the pure oil. Because of this, you should always be careful when handling the oil.
5. Elevated Heart Rate
People who have a heart condition should also be careful when consuming cinnamon. That is because it has been associated with an increase in heart rate. When undiluted, it can also cause children to develop rapid heart rates. Instead, cinnamon oil should always be diluted to under two percent before use.
6. Choking Hazard
A common game with teens has been to see who is able to swallow the most cinnamon powder; however, this can be extremely dangerous. That is because there is a serious choking hazard associated with swallowing cinnamon powder alone, without drinking water. If it does not cause death by choking, the powder may enter the lungs and cause a major chest infection which can result in severe breathing complications. This can lead to the collapse of your lungs (and death if there is not a ventilator nearby). If you survive, it may cause your lungs to scar which can cause later medical issues.
7. Stomach Irritation
When you consume excessive amounts of cinnamon, you may experience an irritation of your stomach lining. People who already have gastrointestinal problems such as stomach ulcers may notice this cinnamon side effect to a great extent.
8. Mouth Irritation
In addition to a burning sensation on the skin, those who have mouth ulcers may feel a burning sensation in their mouth that is accompanied by pain. This would occur immediately after consuming the cinnamon. The oil can also cause irritation of the mucous membrane so it is important to always use a diluted version.
9. Lowering Blood Sugar
Cinnamon has been associated with lowering blood sugar levels. This can be a problem for diabetics or others who need to keep a close eye on their levels so if you are currently taking any medications to regulate your levels (or have a disease associated with them), it is important to talk to your doctor before you consume cinnamon. Keep in mind that consuming too much cinnamon while on a medication designed to lower blood pressure levels may cause too large of a drop in blood sugar.
10.Plasma Cell Gingivitis
Some studies have shown that using oral products such as chewing gum, mouthwash and toothpaste with cinnamon extract may be linked to plasma cell gingivitis.
11.Dizziness or Shortness of Breath
When you take too much cinnamon oil, especially in concentrated quantities it may lead to dizziness or shortness of breath. Be sure to always use diluted cinnamon oil to help avoid this side effect.
Some believe that when consumed in high concentrations, cinnamon may cause kidney disease. Despite this belief, there have not been any specific studies conducted which support this theory and show a direct causal link between consumption of cinnamon and kidney diseases.
Cinnamon Dosage and Cautions
Most experts agree that you should not consume more than between two and five grams of cinnamon each day. This is due to its content of Coumarin, a substance that may be toxic when consumed in high dosages. A Norwegian study suggests that you a person should not consume more than 0.07 milligrams of Coumarin per kilogram of their bodyweight each day.
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid consuming excessive amounts of cinnamon and the best way of doing this is to simply avoid products that contain it. In fact, the general population should always try to consume cinnamon in moderation to help avoid any cinnamon side effects.
If you are taking cinnamon supplements such as capsules or pills, it is important that you talk to your doctor before doing so and to only start taking them if your doctor recommends this course of action. It is also important to keep in mind that it is possible to be allergic to cinnamon (or products that contain it) and in these cases, it is ideal to simply avoid consuming it. Those taking medications, both prescription and herbal, should be sure that there are no interactions with cinnamon as some may have adverse reactions. Keep in mind that the side effects listed above apply to those with sensitive body and immune systems or certain medical conditions.