ceylon-vss-cassia-cinnamon-139x122     The are many benefits to taking cinnamon but there are some risks as well.  For over 4,000 years cinnamon has been used as a spice.  Cinnamon was commonly used in the Middle East and is mentioned in Proverbs and a Psalm.  Psalm 45:8 says, “All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia…”  Proverbs 7:17 says, “I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon”   There are some good health benefits from using cinnamon but research has found that there may be some risk to your health in using cinnamon also. 

     There are at least 2 kinds of cinnamon and both are harvested from the bark of trees.  Having a pleasant scent, cinnamon has been used by the Egyptians for their embalming process.  Cinnamon verum and cinnamon cassia are 2 varieties found in Sri Lanka and South East Asia respectively.  The most commonly found type of cinnamon found in U.S. supermarkets is cassia.  The South East Asia cinnamon is easier to obtain than the more expensive verum cinnamon  from Sri Lanka.  Basically they have the same appearance but they do have a slightly, almost undetectable difference in the their flavors. 

     The question is whether or not there is a difference in the 2 varieties of cinnamon?   Research has revealed that cassia cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and that cassia extract is most commonly sold in health food stores.  The South East Asia Cassia type cinnamon contains a natural  component called coumarin (pronounced ku: merin).  Coumarin can cause liver damage if consumed in high amounts.  This coumarin cinnamon has been on the restricted use list in Europe for many years.  The United States, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), could care less, it seems.  Unless there have been some recent changes in the regulation of coumarin cinnamon – there is no current regulation set for the use of cassia cinnamon.         

     A once in a while cinnamon roll is not enough to be concerned about but there has been an increase in the consumption of cinnamon by people with diabetes.  Just a single teaspoon of cassia cinnamon on your cereal everyday could cause serious problems.   Research has found that cinnamon improves Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) levels in some diabetics.  In addition, cinnamon may aid in improving both cholesterol and triglyceride levels based on current research.            

     With all the good reports about the benefits of consuming cinnamon and its easy, inexpensive accessibility, it is natural for diabetics to want to consume larger amounts of it.  However, there are some dangers in consuming too much cassia cinnamon since it could lead to liver damage.  The coumarin component of cassia cinnamon may also interact with certain over the counter medicines such as aspirin causing additional complications.   

     Some other negatives to be careful of are:   Cinnamon with coumarin, over a period of time, will build a certain level of toxicity in your body.  Pregnant women may experience premature labor or contractions.  If you have a heart condition – cinnamon has been known to increase heart rate.  Coumarin cinnamon, unlike the Sri Lanka verum cinnamon, thins your blood.  Be careful of taking cassia cinnamon with other blood thinners.  Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar but one variety may be safer to consume.  You can find more information about the risks of consuming cinnamon by searching internet sites like:  http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-cinnamon-bad-you-9816.html

 

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