What is it?
Cassia cinnamon is used for many conditions, but so far science has not confirmed that it is effective for any of them. Research does show, however, that it is probably not effective for lowering blood sugar in type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
In addition to diabetes, Cassia cinnamon is used for gas (flatulence), muscle and stomach spasms, preventing nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, and loss of appetite.
Some people use it for erectile dysfunction (ED), hernia, bed-wetting, joint conditions, menopausal symptoms, menstrual problems, and to cause abortions. Cassia cinnamon is also used for chest pain, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, cramps, cancer, and as a “blood purifier.”
Cassia cinnamon is used in suntan lotions, nasal sprays, mouthwashes, gargles, toothpaste, and as a “counterirritant” applied to the skin in liniments. A counterirritant is a substance that creates pain and swelling at the point of application with the goal of lessening pain and swelling at another location.
In food and beverages, cassia cinnamon is used as a flavoring agent.
There are a lot of different types of cinnamon. Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon) and Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon) are commonly used. In many cases, the cinnamon spice purchased in food stores contains a combination of these different types of cinnamon. So far, only cassia cinnamon has been shown to have any effect on blood sugar in humans. However, Cinnamomum verum also contains the ingredient thought to be responsible for lowering blood sugar. See the separate listing for Cinnamon bark.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for CASSIA CINNAMON are as follows:
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Diabetes. There is inconsistent evidence on the effectiveness of cassia cinnamon for treating diabetes. Early research suggests that taking cassia cinnamon for about 6 six weeks might help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. However, other evidence suggest that taking cassia cinnamon daily for 12 weeks improves blood pressure, but not cholesterol, blood sugar, or weight in people with diabetes. Overall, research is inconclusive. Some studies show benefit and other studies show no benefit.
- Mosquito repellant. Early research suggests that applying cassia cinnamon oil cream to the skin can protect against mosquito bites.
- Loss of appetite.
- Muscle and stomach spasms.
- Intestinal gas.
- Common cold.
- Bed wetting.
- Menstrual problems.
- Chest pain.
- High blood pressure.
- Kidney problems.
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Cassia cinnamon is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts for a long period of time. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon might cause side effects in some people. Cassia cinnamon can contain large amounts of a chemical called coumarin. In people who are sensitive, coumarin might cause or worsen liver disease. When applied to the skin, cassia cinnamon can sometimes cause skin irritation and allergic skin reactions.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of cassia cinnamon during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Diabetes: Cassia cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and use cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
Liver disease: Cassia cinnamon contains some chemicals that might harm the liver. If you have liver disease, do not take cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
Surgery: Cassia cinnamon might lower blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking cassia cinnamon at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Are there interactions with medications?
- Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs)
- Taking very large doses of cassia cinnamon might harm the liver, especially in people with existing liver disease. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon along with medications that might also harm the liver might increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take large amounts of cassia cinnamon if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.
Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
- Cassia cinnamon might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking cassia cinnamon along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Herbs and supplements that might harm the liver
- There is some concern that taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon might cause serious liver damage in some people, especially in people who already have liver disease. Taking cassia cinnamon along with other products that could harm the liver might increase the risk of developing liver damage. Some of the products that might harm the liver include chaparral, comfrey, DHEA, germander, kava, niacin, pennyroyal oil, red yeast, and others.
- Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
- Cassia cinnamon might lower blood sugar levels. Taking it along with other herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar could lower blood sugar too much in some people. Some herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar include alpha-lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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