You're probably familiar with the sweet but pungent taste of cinnamon. It's a spice that gives cinnamon buns, Christmas cookies, oatmeal and hot chocolate extra flavor. Cinnamon comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree, a type of evergreen. Cinnamon bark is a natural source of compounds called tannins that help to ease diarrhea. That's not the only possible health benefit of this sweet but pungent spice. According to the journal Current Cardiology Review, cinnamon may have benefits for the heart. It appears to possibly lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, two types of blood fats linked with an increased risk for heart disease. More studies are needed to confirm this benefit. Cinnamon also has antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help to protect cells against damage. Some research suggests it can reduce inflammation as well. An oil derived from the bark of the cinnamon tree contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that has anti-bacterial properties. This helps to keep the growth of bacteria in check.
Cinnamon: Does It Help with Blood Sugar Control?
Some researchers believe that cinnamon may help to reduce the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal. This makes it of potential benefit to people with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. People with diabetes have high blood sugar levels. Although cinnamon appears to have possible health benefits based on preliminary research, more studies are needed to determine if cinnamon is helpful in regulating blood sugar. Cinnamon appears to be safe in moderate amounts. However, it may interact with other herbs and medications that lower glucose. This may cause greater drops in blood sugar. Cinnamon contains compounds that may be toxic to the liver at high doses. Combining it with other medications that affect the liver may increase the risk for toxicity. Cinnamon may have health benefits but always check with your doctor before taking it to make sure it is safe for you.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.