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Hypertension and Cinnamon

Written by ColleenO, FoundHealth.

Although we may typically think of cinnamon as a spice, it has been used for centuries as a treatment for numerous health issues and is especially popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Recently it has received attention for helping to control blood sugar in diabetics. Research suggests that it might also be helpful for controlling high blood pressure.

Effect of Cinnamon on Hypertension

Cinnamon has shown some potential to lower blood pressure and high cholesterol, and help control glucose levels in the blood. How it does this is not yet fully understood.

Read more details about Cinnamon.

Research Evidence on Cinnamon

In a randomized study involving 58 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 g of cinnamon daily reduced high blood pressure levels, as well as HbA1c levels (a measurement of blood sugar levels over time).144

How to Use Cinnamon

In the study discussed here, the effective dose of cinnamon was 2 g daily. Typical recommended dosages of ground cinnamon bark are 1 to 4 g daily. Cinnamon oil is generally used at a dose of 0.05 to 0.2 g daily.13

Cinnamon is widely available in its most familiar form--as a powdered spice--and can also be found in supplement form, usually as capsules of cinnamon powder or oil. Cinnamon supplements are typically available in drug stores and natural food stores, or wherever supplements are sold.

Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment

  • Naturopathic doctor
  • Integrative MD
  • Nutritionist or dietitian
  • Herbalist

Safety Issues

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.

References

  1. Harada M, Ozaki Y. Pharmacological studies on Chinese cinnamon. Central effects of cinnamaldehyde [in Japanese]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1972;92:135-140.
  2. Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998: 110.
  3. Perry PA, Dean BS, Krenzelok EP. Cinnamon oil abuse by adolescents. Vet Hum Toxicol. 32(2):162-4.
  4. Mihail RC. Oral leukoplakia caused by cinnamon food allergy. J Otolaryngol. 21(5):366-7.
  1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Wiley; 1996: 168.
  2. Akilen R, Tsiami A, Devendra D, Robinson N. Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Diabet Med. 2010;27(10):1159-1167.

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