Potential Cinnamon Side Effects and Risks

Potential cinnamon side effects are likely not the first things that come to mind as you savor a spicy mug of cinnamon tea... But, as with each of the teas and herbal tisanes in your tea cupboard, it's important to stay abreast of any precautions and possible concerns associated with cinnamon tea.

Brewing and enjoying a cup of herbal tea is such a natural part of our day, and we don't tend to think of herbs and spices as active ingredients that may not be the best choice for each of us. Whether cinnamon tea is an old favorite or you've yet to try this fragrant, warming tea and enjoy its many wellness benefits, take a few moments to learn more about possible cinnamon side effects and precautions.

Cinnamon Tea Side Effects | The Tea Talk

Some General Precautions for Cinnamon Tea

In general, cinnamon tea is considered a safe beverage for most healthy adults. If you're new to cinnamon tea, take your time in getting to know this herbal tea, and watch for any cinnamon side effects you may be experiencing. As with any spicy, warming food or beverage, too much cinnamon tea may be slightly irritating to the lips and mouth or result in tummy troubles or mild heartburn.  

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Some people experience allergic reactions to cinnamon, so watch for signs that this tea may not be a good fit for you (such as a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, rash, hives, upset stomach, or sleep troubles). If you're wondering about your tolerance for cinnamon, why not ask your natural healthcare practitioner about allergy testing? 

As with any tea, use good common sense when enjoying cinnamon tea. Don't drink tea that is harmfully hot, and consume cinnamon tea in moderation (sources suggest that cinnamon is generally considered safe for most people in amounts of up to 6 grams of cinnamon daily for 6 weeks or less). 

Have a chat with your healthcare provider about cinnamon tea if you are being treated for any condition or taking any herbal remedies or medications (such as diabetes or blood-thinning medication, or medication for hormone-related concerns), as cinnamon may impact the efficacy of these medications. If you are considering consuming cinnamon tea for its weight-management benefits or for support in managing a particular wellness concern, don't adjust your current treatment plan without checking with your primary care provider first. 

Cinnamon Tea Side Effects | The Tea Talk

And, if you enjoy cinnamon tea regularly and you have a scheduled medical or dental surgery coming up, ask your surgeon or healthcare provider if you should avoid cinnamon tea (with its blood-thinning properties) until after your surgery. 

Other Potential Cinnamon Side Effects & Precautions

Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon are the most well-known and available types of cinnamon. (Learn more about Ceylon and cassia cinnamon on our Cinnamon Herbal Tea Tips page.) 

Cassia cinnamon contains varying levels of "coumarin," a naturally occurring compound. Research suggests that coumarin, if consumed regularly in significant quantities, could potentially be harmful for the liver, leading to or exacerbating liver concerns. If you are being treated for a liver condition, please avoid excessive amounts of cinnamon tea made with cassia cinnamon until you have consulted with your primary care provider about cinnamon side effects and cinnamon tea for you. 

Cinnamon Tea for Moms and Tots

Some sources suggest that significant amounts of cinnamon (more than would be used normally in cooking and baking) should be avoided during pregnancy (in case it may potentially increase the risk of miscarriage). Rosemary Gladstar says in her wonderful book, Medicinal Herbs, "while (cinnamon) may be useful to help encourage a late menstrual flow, it's not recommended in large amounts in the early stages of pregnancy." If you're expecting a little one or planning to fall pregnant, consult with your primary care provider about herbal use (including cinnamon tea and cinnamon side effects) during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. 

If you make cinnamon tea from ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks, keep tea supplies well out of reach of any little ones. If an infant or small child ingests a mouthful of cinnamon, there could be a risk of serious irritation, burning, or swelling of the lips, mouth, and throat, particularly if he or she has an allergy to cinnamon. 


When you purchase cinnamon tea (or ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks for making tea), the type of cinnamon used should be listed in the description. If no type is listed, it's most likely cassia cinnamon. 

There are so many reasons why we love cinnamon tea... deliciously spicy, warming, and so beneficial for physical, mental, and emotional wellness, this herbal tea makes a lovely addition to your tea routine whether enjoyed hot or iced. 

| Related:  Yummy Iced Tea Recipes Pinterest Board

To ensure you're making the best tea choices, stay informed not only about the benefits, but also about any precautions associated with the teas in your tea stash. 

Especially if you're considering adding cinnamon tea to your daily routine for support with weight management or a specific wellness concern, be sure to visit your herbal practitioner or another qualified healthcare professional first, and ask her or him about cinnamon tea (including potential cinnamon tea side effects) for you.

> > Cinnamon Tea Precautions

Sources


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Allen RW, Schwartzman E, Baker WL, et al. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Fam Med. 2013 Sep-Oct;11(5):452-9. doi: 10.1370/afm.1517. 

Amalaradjou MA, Narayanan A, Baskaran SA, Venkitanarayanan K.  Antibiofilm effect of trans-cinnamaldehyde on uropathogenic Escherichia coli. The Journal of Urology. 2010 May 20;184(1):358-363. 

Crawford P. Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009 Sep-Oct;22(5):507-12. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2009.05.080093. 

Davis PA, Yokoyama W. Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis. J Med Food. 2011 Sep;14(9):884-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0180. Epub 2011 Apr 11. 

Frydman-Marom A, Levin A, Farfara D, et al. Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces ß-Amyloid Oligomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease Animal Models. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16564. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016564 

George RC, Lew J, Graves DJ. Interaction of Cinnamaldehyde and Epicatechin with Tau: Implications of Beneficial Effects in Modulating Alzheimer's Disease Pathogenesis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;36:21-40.

Gladstar R. Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2012. 

Gruenwald J, Freder J, Armbruester N. Cinnamon and health. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Oct;50(9):822-34. doi: 10.1080/10408390902773052. 

Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Björgell O, Almér LO. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1552-6. 

Jitomir J, Willoughby DS. Cassia cinnamon for the attenuation of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance resulting from sleep loss. J Med Food. 2009 Jun;12(3):467-72. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2008.0128. 

Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MMA, et al. Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-3218. 

Kwon HK, Hwang JS, So JS, et al. Cinnamon extract induces tumor cell death through inhibition of NFKB and AP1. BMC Cancer. 2010;10:392. Published online 2010 Jul 24. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-392. 

Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt B, et al. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006 May;36(5):340-4. 

Mars B. Healing Herbal Teas: A Complete Guide to Making Delicious, Healthful Beverages. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, 2006. 

Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, et al. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr;4(Suppl 1):S11-5. 

Mayaud L, Carricajo A, Zhiri A, Aubert G. Comparison of bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity of 13 essential oils against strains with varying sensitivity to antibiotics. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2008 Sep;47(3):167-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2008.02406.x.

Mohamed Sham Shihabudeen H, Hansi Priscilla D, Thirumurugan K. Cinnamon extract inhibits α-glucosidase activity and dampens postprandial glucose excursion in diabetic rats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Jun 29;8(1):46. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-46. 

Pires RH, Montanari LB, Martins CH, et al. Anticandidal efficacy of cinnamon oil against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Candida parapsilosis and Candida orthopsilosis. Mycopathologia. 2011 Dec;172(6):453-64. doi: 10.1007/s11046-011-9448-0. Epub 2011 Jul 15. 

Premanathan M, Rajendran S, Ramanathan T, et al. A survey of some Indian medicinal plants for anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity. Indian J Med Res. 2000 Sep;112:73-7. 

Schoene NW, Kelly MA, Polansky MM, Anderson RA. Water-soluble polymeric polyphenols from cinnamon inhibit proliferation and alter cell cycle distribution patterns of hematologic tumor cell lines. Cancer Lett. 2005 Dec 8;230(1):134-40. 

Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Apr;105(6):969-76. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-0986-9. Epub 2009 Jan 22. 

Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Effects of short-term cinnamon ingestion on in vivo glucose tolerance. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2007 Nov;9(6):895-901. 

Tillotson, AK. The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2001.

UC Santa Barbara Scientists Discover Cinnamon Compounds’ Potential Ability to Prevent Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from https://www.j-alz.com/node/295 

Verspohl EJ, Bauer K, Neddermann E. Antidiabetic Effect of Cinnamomum Cassia and Cinnamomum Zeylanicum in Vivo and in Vitro. Phytotherapy Research. 19.3 (2005): 203-206.

Wang GS, Deng JH, Ma YH, et al.  Mechanisms, clinically curative effects, and antifungal activities of cinnamon oil and pogostemon oil complex against three species of Candida. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2012 Mar;32(1):19-24. 

Wang JG, Anderson RA, Graham GM, et al. The effect of cinnamon extract on insulin resistance parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. Fertil Steril. 2007 Jul;88(1):240-3. Epub 2007 Feb 12. 

Warnke PH, Becker ST, Podschun R, et al. The battle against multi-resistant strains: Renaissance of antimicrobial essential oils as a promising force to fight hospital-acquired infections. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2009 Oct;37(7):392-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2009.03.017. Epub 2009 May 26. 

Zak V. 20,000 Secrets of Tea. New York, NY: Dell Publishing, 1999.  

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