Popular across all geographies, cinnamon is an aromatic condiment that is also famous as essential oil, bark oil and commercial spices. The medicinal properties of cinnamon are time tested, and find mention in historical texts. It is popular as a flavoring additive and makes its presence felt in cuisines globally. Also known as cassia, more than two thirds of cinnamon available in the markets are from Indonesia and China. Despite the proven properties, medicinal benefits and the famed aroma, side effects of cinnamon are a possibility in certain instances. Here is a detailed look at the benefits of cinnamon and the possible undesirable outcomes.

Different varieties of cinnamon

Cinnamon cultivated commercially is of four distinct types – Cinnamomum verum (also known as Ceylon Cinnamon), Cinnamomum burmannii (known as Korintje Cinnamon), Cinnamomum cassia (popularly known as Saigon Cinnamon) and Cinnamomum loureiroi (known as Royal Cinnamon). Among the four different types, cinnamon cassia is the variety that is most commonly found, and has a reputation as a variety with the strongest flavor. It contains 95% cinnamaldehyde, a resin compound that gives cinnamon the distinct properties. This includes the famed antimicrobial property against both gram negative and gram-positive pathogens.

Overall benefits of cinnamon oil

Regardless of the variety of cinnamon, the medicinal property is known to be effective in helping patients with heart disease apart from a long list of other conditions. For instance, it is known to be effective in delivering measurable results among patients with Alzheimer’s. It is part of combination therapies for cancer patients, who receive holistic treatment regimen to alleviate the condition.  It is also effective in the treatment of dental conditions, apart from various allergies and infections.

Properties of coumarin

Properties of cinnamon are also attributed to coumarin; for instance, the antibacterial, anti-coagulant and antihypertensive properties are all linked to the organic compound. In addition to the above properties, coumarin also possesses the following properties:

Overview of side effects of cinnamon 

Cinnamon is relatively safe, and has been used down the ages as a popular aromatic ingredient and traditional medicine. As mentioned above, this does not rule out the possibility of side effects. However, the probability of side effects does not extend to all users of the medication, and is generally limited to only a small section of users. It is necessary for all users to exercise a certain level of caution, as it may not be possible to be aware beforehand of the effects, until and unless the effects actually manifest. The effects, in terms of duration and intensity; may differ among individuals experiencing the effects, with most of the commonly occurring effects known to resolve naturally and quickly, with only few effects known to last longer and with stronger outcomes. Here is a list of commonly reported effects experienced by users of cinnamon, including use as an essential oil.

Reduction in blood glucose levels

Users of cinnamon who experience certain tell-tale symptoms are to be beware of a possible dip in blood glucose levels. For instance, light headedness, or behavior similar to a tipsy individual are indications of a dip in blood glucose levels. This may be possible when intake of cinnamon in some form is on the higher side, especially when it is taken on a long-term basis. While this is effectively a remote possibility, as intake generally does not exceed certain levels, it cannot be entirely ruled out.

Blood thinning effect

Cinnamon has proven blood thinning effect, and this can be a problem for individuals on prescription or over the counter blood thinners. However, the blood thinning property is linked to only specific varieties of cinnamon. All varieties of cinnamon are unlikely to deliver this effect; however, it may not be possible to easily identify this property, merely by looking at the name of commercially available cinnamon. Therefore, individuals on blood thinners are expected to take adequate precautions when taking cinnamon in some form; as the combination of medications and cinnamon may result in possibly adverse effects – such as bleeding.

Uterine contractions

Uterine contractions that occur in advance could result in possible premature labor and it is essential for pregnant women to avoid cinnamon to prevent premature labor. Due to various reasons, women tend to consume cinnamon to deal with stomach pain, gas and indigestion. While cinnamon will offer the remedy for these three conditions, the possibility of side effects cannot be ruled out. It is important to follow the advice of the obstetrician as premature labor will typically cause developmental issues at a later stage. Issues that are likely to develop include underweight children, respiratory complications, vision related issues, and organ development problems. In addition to this, cerebral palsy is another possible risk of occurring among premature babies.

Heart rate changes when taken in stronger formulations

Cinnamon essential oil that has strengths more than 2% are likely to cause changes in heart beat rate; increasing it to levels that may not be healthy for all individuals. Patients with existing heart related ailments are to stay off cinnamon to prevent undesirable outcomes. This is typically known to affect younger users more than other age groups. The potency of cinnamon increases when it is used as essential oil, and it is therefore necessary to curtail intake or choose a strength that is considered as safe. In the event of inability to choose a safe strength, users are advised to dilute the oil to a level where its potency is sufficiently reduced to tolerable or safe levels.

Increased toxins due to coumarin levels

Various properties of cinnamon; such as antifungal, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective properties are all attributed to coumarin, from the bark. While the organic chemical compound delivers the famed properties of cinnamon and the aroma associated with it, it also packs in certain possible adverse effects – including damage to the liver. Despite its proven source of antioxidants, the probable amount or strength of coumarin in the cinnamon oil is to be established conclusively. This will help prevent possible undesirable outcomes. Most users may be unaware that the actual strength of coumarin in different varieties differ, with some delivering levels that are considered as potent, while certain varieties may deliver lesser or moderate levels of the organic company.

When coumarin levels accumulate in the body as a result of heavy intake or long-term use, toxins build up, resulting in unwanted consequences.  It is essential to ensure that an upper limit is maintained, especially when cinnamon is used for an extended period. Ideally, intake levels are to be kept below 6 grams daily, to prevent any build-up of toxins. The time required for the natural flushing of toxins from the body is one week, and it is a good practice to leave a gap of one week, to rid the body of toxins and start afresh.

Allergic reactions

Individuals with a history of allergic reactions are likely to experience some kind of allergies as a result of use cinnamon oil. Additionally, it is also possible that users with a history of allergies to any of the active compounds in cinnamon, may also exhibit allergic reactions. Symptoms help to identify allergies; for instance, individuals may experience facial swelling, or swelling on the hands. Discharge of water from the eyes or eye sores are other possible reactions that may be experienced as a result of allergic reactions to cinnamon.

It is important to be fully aware of the possibility of anaphylactic shock that is an indication of a serious reaction. This could result in fatalities in rare circumstances, and it is therefore necessary for care givers to exercise utmost caution when dealing with allergies. The observation of specific symptoms is to be followed by diligently to prevent serious reactions. For instance, a sudden change or dip in blood pressure levels, respiratory complications, and nausea are all symptoms of possible onset of anaphylactic shock. Other symptoms include an upset stomach upset, and feelings of dizziness, especially among users of younger age groups. The oil is potent and may have strong effects on young users. Reactions include skin irritation, and burning sensations, that are indicative of incompatibility. It is possible to follow precautions such as diluting the oil for users with sensitive skin, and when applied on areas of the body that have sensitive skin.

Impact of GMP on quality of cinnamon oil available commercially

The actual quality of cinnamon oil or other extracts of the bark may ultimately depend on the manner in which it is manufactured and packaged. Presently available in various forms, including as a tablet, there is every possibility of undesirable or unwanted side effects of cinnamon due to substandard manufacturing practices and inferior quality ingredients. The making of tablets often involves the use of silicon dioxide, and one of the reasons for possible undesirable outcomes is the use of this anticaking agent. Choosing a brand with a reputation of high standards and GMP helps avoid unwanted effects. Certain substances are known to have long term impact on health with continued use.

Impact of cinnamon on body temperature

Cinnamon, by virtue of its mechanism of action can result in possible increase in body temperature. This is especially true when the intake is heavy or strong. Barring a few exceptions, most medications are intended to bring about a decrease in body temperature, while cinnamon is known to have the opposite effect in certain circumstances. This increase in temperature can result in tell-tale effects, including formation of boils under the tongue, or inside the mouth. Other indications of increased temperature include chaffed, cracked or dried lips. Users are also known to end up with pimples, apart from watery discharge from the eyes, as outlined earlier. Individuals on other OTC products or medications or essential oils that increase body heat, are not to combine therapy or treatment with cinnamon oil, as this could result in complications from increased body heat. When the body temperature increases beyond a certain threshold, then it may be necessary to look at other options to reduce the temperature. This may also have an impact on other functions or organs of the body, which may necessitate medication if the increase is high or beyond a particular level.

 

 

 

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