Cinnamon is one of the most popular spice which is well known for its health benefits and skin benefits. But today our concern is not the benefits. Yet we are here to discuss cassia cinnamon side effects.
We all know cinnamon for the healing properties of cinnamon. Or, maybe you are very conscious about your skin. In that case, you may have heard of cinnamon skin benefits. However, there is no unmixed blessings on earth. And, cinnamon is not different. Naturally, cinnamon also have its side effects, especially if we consider cassia cinnamon.
To discuss, cassia cinnamon side effects at first we need some insight into cinnamon. And what is cassia cinnamon. Let’s have a look at this facts at first.
The two main types of cinnamon are:
- Cassia: Also known as “regular” cinnamon, this is the most commonly used type.
- Ceylon: Known as the “real” cinnamon, Ceylon has a lighter and less bitter taste.
What is cassia cinnamon?
Because starting our long discussion on cassia cinnamon side effects we have to know what is cassia cinnamon. Cassia Cinnamon is popularly found in supermarkets since it is much cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon. Whereas, Ceylon cinnamon is a hundred times more useful than cassia.
Although eating Cassia Cinnamon is safe in small to moderate amounts, eating too much can cause health problems. This is because Cassia Cinnamon contains high amounts of a compound called coumarin.
Cassia is very flavorful and very much suitable for culinary purposes.
Ceylon vs Cassia
Ceylon and cassia belong to the laurel family. We know about both these plants from ancient times. Cinnamon was brought to Ancient Egypt as early as the 2nd hundredth millennium BC. Even in the Torah, Moses was told to use sweet cinnamon.
Cinnamon belongs to the species “Ceylon cinnamon”, which is also known as “real cinnamon” (from the botanical name Cinnamomum verum). It grows in Sri Lanka and South India.
Cassia is a Chinese cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum aromaticum). It grows in China and Indonesia, although it also occurs in Sri Lanka.
Quite often, dealers sell cassia as cinnamon. As Ceylon cinnamon is not very common, it is very expensive. But, unlike real cinnamon, producers are required to label it as “Indonesian / Chinese cinnamon”. And they don’t.
Moreover, most sellers do not even know that they are selling cassia. Even most of them have never heard that there is something like cassia. Some just blatantly lie that there is no such thing, cinnamon is all.
They very confidently say that they are selling original cinnamon. Whereas, the actually scenario is something else. They do not even have any idea what they are selling.
So, if you want to buy real cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon then you can go for the following options. As they are prominent brands for supplying real cinnamon for a long time:
[amazon bestseller=”Ceylon Cinnamon” items=”5″]
Research has found that eating too much coumarin can damage the liver and increase the risk of cancer. Let’s discuss cassia cinnamon side effects.
Cassia cinnamon side effects
Here, you will come to know about the major side effects of cassia cinnamon. We have discussed these disadvantages of cassia with respect to health issues.
Side effects of cassia cinnamon for liver
Generally, we regularly hear the positive notes of cinnamon. This spice will help to lose weight and strengthens the immune system. And if you take it with oatmeal, then you are having a great breakfast while preventing diabetes.
It’s no denying that scientists are demonstrating increased interest in cinnamon. Now, cinnamon is broadly used in culinary for its flavor. And, cassia cinnamon is mainly used here. Moreover, statistics affirm that in Western countries and America, Cinnamon is the second most popular spice following pepper.
Foods and food additives comprising cinnamon can be detrimental when used with an inexpensive number of seasoning.
It is about the material coumarin comprised in cinnamon, which may cause specific liver damage if someone is very sensitive. As you probably know, scientists have conducted research confirming the connection of coumarin with liver damage. Numerous kinds of cinnamon are actually known for customers. The first choice is more expensive, however, it comprises less coumarin.
Scientists have discovered that cassia coumarin from the cinnamon variety includes heaps of times more in comparison to the Ceylon species. It needs to be said, nevertheless, that cinnamon ready-to-eat foods mostly have a inexpensive number of spices. Because of this, it’s not surprising that these foods could be considered detrimental to the liver. Scientists assert that these products are potentially poisonous. The only consolation is that in fact there are hardly any men and women that are especially sensitive to cinnamon.
How to use cassia cinnamon while not harming your liver
Cassia Cinnamon or “regular” cinnamon is a very rich source of coumarin.
It contains approximately 5 mg of coumarin per teaspoon (2 grams), while Ceylon cinnamon contains only small amounts of this compound.
The recommended daily limit of coumarin is approximately 0.05 mg / lb (0.1 mg / kg) of body weight, or 5 mg per day for a 130 lb (60 kg) person. This means that only one to one and a half teaspoons of Cassia Cinnamon could exceed the daily limit.
For example, a 73-year-old woman developed a sudden liver infection that caused liver damage after taking cinnamon supplements for only a week. However, this case involved supplements that provided a higher dose than would be obtained only through diet.
Cassia and risk of cancer
Studies in animals have shown that eating too much coumarin, which translates to enough Cassia Cinnamon, may increase the risk of certain cancers.
Unfortunately, the way in which coumarin can cause tumors is not yet clear.
However, some scientists believe that coumarin can damage certain organs repeatedly. Over time, the damage can cause healthy cells to be replaced by tumor cells, which can become cancerous.
Cassia cinnamon causes canker sores
Some people have had sores in their mouth from eating too much cinnamon.
Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that can trigger an allergic reaction when consumed in large quantities. Small amount of the spice do not seem to cause this reaction, since saliva prevents chemicals from remaining in contact with the mouth for a long time.
Other symptoms of an allergy to cinnamaldehyde, apart from sores in the mouth, usually have swelling of the gum or tongue, burning or itching and white spots in the mouth. While these symptoms are not necessarily serious, they can cause discomfort.
However, it is important to keep in mind that cinnamaldehyde will only cause mouth sores if you are allergic to this compound. You can take a test to find out if this is your case, for example, an epicutaneous test (patch test).
In addition, sores in the mouth seem to mainly affect those who use too much cinnamon oil and cinnamon-flavored gum, since these products may contain more cinnamaldehyde.
Cassia cinnamon causes low blood sugar
Having high levels of chronic blood sugar is a health problem. If left untreated, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease and many other health problems.
Consume this spice in regulated portions, cinnamon can reduce blood sugar. Studies have found that the spice can mimic the effects of insulin, a hormone that helps eliminate sugar from the blood.
While eating a little cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, eating it too much can make it go down too much. This is called hypoglycemia and can cause fatigue, dizziness and possibly fainting.
People who are at higher risk of having low blood sugar levels from consuming cinnamon are those who take medications for diabetes. This is because cinnamon can potentiate the effects of these medications and cause the blood sugar level to drop drastically.
Cassia can cause respiratory problems
Eating too much ground cinnamon in a single session can cause respiratory problems.
This is because the spice has a fine texture that can facilitate inhalation. Inhaling it accidentally can cause coughing, retching (violent movement of the stomach, anterior or simultaneous to vomiting) and difficulty in breathing.
In addition, cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon tends to irritate the throat and can cause more respiratory problems.
People with asthma or other medical conditions related to breathing, should take special care to accidentally inhale cinnamon, as they tend to have a higher risk of respiratory problems.
Cassia can interact with certain medications
Cinnamon is safe to eat in small to moderate amounts along with most medications.
However, taking too much cinnamon can be a problem if you are taking medications for diabetes, heart disease or liver disease. This is because cinnamon can interact with these medications, either by enhancing the effects of these medications or by intensifying the spice’s side effects.
For example, Cassia Cinnamon contains high amounts of coumarin, which can cause toxicity and liver damage if consumed in large quantities.
If you are taking medicines that can affect your liver, such as paracetamol, acetaminophen or statins, consuming too much cinnamon can increase the risk of aggravating liver damage.
In addition, cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, so if you take it along with diabetes medications, the spice can increase its effects and make your blood sugar level go down too much.
What are the Risks of Eating Dry Cinnamon?
Since the “cinnamon challenge” has become tremendously popular, many have tried eating large amounts of dried cinnamon.
Eating dried cinnamon can irritate the throat and lungs. It can also cause gagging, strangulation or permanent damage to the lungs.
This is because the lungs cannot break down the fibers in the spice. Which means it can accumulate in the lungs and cause lung inflammation known as aspiration pneumonia.
If aspiration pneumonia is not treated early, the lungs may be permanently marked and possibly collapse.
How Much Cassia Cinnamon Is Too Much?
Cinnamon is generally safe to eat. But that does not mean you will eat cinnamon as much as you can buy.
However, eating too much can cause potentially dangerous side effects.
This applies mainly to Cassia Cinnamon because it is a rich source of coumarin. In contrast, Ceylon cinnamon contains only small amounts of coumarin.
In fact, research has found that Cassia Cinnamon, on average, contains 63 times more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon.
The tolerable daily intake of coumarin is 0.5 mg per pound (0.1 mg per kg) of body weight. This is the amount of coumarin you can eat per day without the risk of side effects.
This equals one teaspoon (0.5 to 2 grams) of Cassia cinnamon per day. However, you can eat up to 2.5 teaspoons (5 grams) of Ceylon cinnamon per day. It is important to keep in mind that these amounts are for adults, since children can tolerate less quantities.
After all discussions, we still say that cinnamon is a great spice with enormous benefits. But we have to keep in mind that there is no unmixed blessings on earth. So, you should always remember cassia cinnamon side effects. It will help you consume cinnamon properly and enjoy its benefits effectively.