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As a widely used food spice, ground cinnamon bark is believed to be safe. However, cinnamon's essential oil is much more concentrated than the powdered bark commonly used for baking. There is some evidence that high doses of cinnamon oil might depress the central nervous system. 1 Germany's Commission E recommends that pregnant women should avoid taking cinnamon oil or high doses of the bark. 2 Maximum safe doses in young children, nursing women, or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease have not been determined.
When used topically, cinnamon bark oil may cause flushing and a burning sensation. 3 Some people have reported strong burning sensations or mouth ulcers after chewing cinnamon-flavored gum or candy. 4 However, these reactions disappeared within days of discontinuing the gum.
- Harada M, Ozaki Y. Pharmacological studies on Chinese cinnamon. Central effects of cinnamaldehyde [in Japanese]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1972;92:135-140.
- Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998: 110.
- Perry PA, Dean BS, Krenzelok EP. Cinnamon oil abuse by adolescents. Vet Hum Toxicol. 32(2):162-4.
- Mihail RC. Oral leukoplakia caused by cinnamon food allergy. J Otolaryngol. 21(5):366-7.