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Cinnamomum verum

The Therapeutic Benefits of Cinnamon

Discover the therapeutic benefits of cinnamon as we explore the potential advantages that this popular spice may offer for your blood sugar and general health.

What is cinnamon?

Throughout history, various parts of the cinnamon tree, including the bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and roots, have been used in traditional medicine[i]. With its distinct flavour and aroma, cinnamon is commonly used in cooking, baking, and in numerous food products.

What are the benefits of cinnamon? Why is cinnamon in supplements?

It's high in antioxidants, which may help protect against disease, inflammation, ageing, improving gut health and dental health[ii][iii].

Antioxidant properties

Antioxidants in cinnamon help protect the body against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. These antioxidants may reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases if consumed regularly[iv][v].

Anti-inflammatory effects

Certain compounds in cinnamon, such as cinnamaldehyde, have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing inflammation, cinnamon may help alleviate symptoms of inflammation-related conditions, such as arthritis[vi].

Effects on blood sugar

Cinnamon has been studied for its potential to improve blood sugar regulation. It may do this by enhancing insulin sensitivity, promote glucose metabolism, and help regulate blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial in type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance[vii].

Heart health support

Cinnamon may have positive effects on heart health. It may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. Additionally, cinnamon may improve blood circulation and contribute to healthy blood pressure levels[viii][ix].

Antimicrobial properties

Cinnamon possesses antimicrobial properties that can help combat certain types of bacteria and fungi. It has been traditionally used for its potential antimicrobial effects in preventing infections[x].

Cognitive function

Some research suggests that cinnamon may have positive effects on cognitive function, memory, and attention. It may help enhance brain health and protect against age-related neurodegenerative diseases[xi].

What are the bioactive compounds in cinnamon responsible for its benefits?

So what’s the science behind the powerful actions of cinnamon? Cinnamon contains bioactive compounds such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, eugenol, and methylhydroxychalcone polymer (MHCP) that all contribute to its potential health benefits[xii].

Cinnamaldehyde is the primary active compound, providing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Cinnamic acid and polyphenols also possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, while proanthocyanidins support cardiovascular health. Eugenol contributes to the unmistakable aroma and flavour, along with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties[xiii].


While Cassia cinnamon is safe to eat in small to moderate amounts, eating too much may cause health problems because it contains high amounts of a compound called coumarin[xiv].


It's important to note that individual responses to cinnamon between people may vary, and it's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritional therapist before starting any new supplement or drastically altering your cinnamon intake. This is especially important to think about if you have any underlying health conditions.

Potential side effects

Gut irritation

Cinnamon, especially in high doses or concentrated forms, may irritate the digestive system in some individuals[xvi].

Liver toxicity (with high coumarin intake)

In very high doses, coumarin can be toxic to the liver. Individuals with liver conditions or those taking medications that affect liver function should be cautious and consider low coumarin options like Ceylon cinnamon[xvii].

Potential interactions

Please consult with your prescriber prior to taking cinnamon alongside any medications. It is also important to be aware of the following.

Blood-thinning medications

Cinnamon contains compounds that may have mild blood-thinning effects. So, if you are taking medications such as anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin) or antiplatelet drugs (e.g., aspirin, clopidogrel), consuming large amounts of cinnamon or taking high-dose cinnamon supplements may increase the risk of bleeding[xix].

Diabetes medications

Cinnamon has been studied for its potential to improve blood sugar control. If you are taking medications to manage diabetes, such as insulin, adding cinnamon supplements may enhance the blood sugar-lowering effects[xx].

Medications metabolised by the liver

Certain compounds in cinnamon may interact with medications that are metabolised by the liver, potentially affecting their effectiveness or toxicity. This might include medications that are metabolised by the liver, such as statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) or certain antifungal medications[xxi].

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It may be unsafe to take cinnamon in amounts greater than normally found in food while you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Please consult with a healthcare professional or nutritional therapist for advice on taking cinnamon whilst pregnant or breastfeeding[xxii].

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