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Did You Know That Cinnamon Can Have Dangerous Side Effects?

By Archana Mukherji

We have all heard of cinnamon. It is one of the most commonly and widely used spices in India. The sweet and woody scent of cinnamon is considered to be one of the most soothing fragrances on the planet. This spice is derived from the brown bark of cinnamon trees.

There are two types of cinnamon. One is the Ceylon cinnamon that basically comes from Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as 'true' cinnamon. The other variety is the Cassia cinnamon which comes mainly from China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

side effects of cinnamon

Cinnamon usually comes in the form of a stick or as ground powder. It is a popular ingredient in many recipes and has the property of adding a slightly spicy flavour to the dishes.

Cinnamon contains huge quantities of calcium, fibre and manganese. It is packed with a lot of health benefits; however, when used beyond limits, it can cause health issues. It is always good to use cinnamon in safe limits to get the best out of it. The same goes for any other herb or spice.

We have heard a lot about the health benefits of cinnamon; thereby, in this article we will be discussing the side effects or ill effects that an overdose of cinnamon can cause.

Heart Problems:

Cinnamon is known to increase your heart rate when consumed in very high quantities. Hence, for people with heart conditions, high doses of cinnamon can be dangerous.

We also use cinnamon oil in many dishes. Remember, undiluted cinnamon oil is very strong and rapidly increases the heart rate, especially in children. It should always be used in the diluted form. When cinnamon oil is diluted to less than 2%, it is safe to be consumed by all people, including kids.

Body Heat:

Cinnamon, like alcohol, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cauliflower, lobster, coffee, ginger, garlic, glutinous rice, kimchi, onion and pumpkin, may increase body heat tremendously when consumed in large quantities.

As per Chinese medicine, when unnecessary, it is good to avoid anything that can increase the body's heat. When the body heat or inflammation increases the body will try to vent out this excess heat. As a result, you will start seeing heat boils under your tongue, your lips will crack and you will get pimples or a thin crusty mucus will seep out of your eyes.

During winters, you will not experience these conditions to a dangerous extent due to the external climate which neutralizes your body heat. However, during summers, these conditions become frequent with the excessive consumption of cinnamon. People undergoing menopause are advised to avoid using cinnamon, though minimal quantities should be fine.


Some people are allergic to cinnamon, though not at all times. They would have consumed cinnamon several times without any ill effects but sometimes they seem to become allergic. The common symptoms could be runny nose, watery or sore eyes, stomach ache, facial or hand swelling and nausea.

Sometimes, you will feel short of breath when you smell cinnamon oil. There are cases when you might also suffer from anaphylactic shock such as unusual heartbeat, dizziness, confusion or sudden drop in your blood pressure.

Cinnamon-related allergies are not usually life-threatening. It is the adults who are affected by these allergies most of the time. When it comes to infants and toddlers, it is usually transmitted from their mothers. So if you suspect that you are allergic to cinnamon, stop using it and remove all traces of it from your kitchen.

Thinning Of Blood:

Cassia cinnamon apparently has blood thinning properties, whereas, Ceylon cinnamon does not. This blood thinning property in Cassia cinnamon acts as an anti-clotting agent especially for those suffering from heart diseases. So, if a person is already on blood thinning medication, it is recommended that they do not consume cinnamon.

Bad For Pregnancy:

Cinnamon is unsuitable for pregnant women. The reason being, cinnamon can induce premature labour pain or uterine contractions. Cinnamon is known to help reduce stomach ache and gas caused due to indigestion, but it is important to note that if these conditions are caused during pregnancy, using cinnamon will not be advised.

An occasional cup of cinnamon tea is fine, but it would be better to not take a chance. Consuming cinnamon tablets or smelling cinnamon oil should be completely avoided during pregnancy.

Blood Sugar:

Consuming too much Ceylon cinnamon can cause lowering of your blood sugar level, leaving you light-headed and drowsy. Make sure you do not add more than 2-3 drops of Ceylon cinnamon bark oil to your tea or coffee, else you will definitely be affected.

Skin Problems:

How does your skin feel when you have just touched a lot of chili powder or finely chopped a lot of green chilies? Don't you feel a burning sensation in your skin? The same is applicable for cinnamon oil when you touch it undiluted.

And this burning sensation becomes acute when you touch any of your genital parts. Hence it is always advisable to wear gloves when you handle cinnamon oil or make sure you do not spill it on your skin.

Antibiotic Conflict:

Cinnamon acts like an antibiotic in many ways. So if you are taking an antibiotic tablet, it may create a conflict. This is because the dosage of antibiotics gets doubled. Thereby, it is recommended to stop consuming cinnamon when you are on antibiotics.

In a nutshell, though cinnamon comes with a lot of health benefits, it is good to consume it in moderation.

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    Read more about: cinnamon heart allergy
    Story first published: Saturday, August 5, 2017, 7:30 [IST]
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