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Lipid Disorders 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][3]. Research suggests that it might also be helpful for improving lipid profile (lowering triglycerides and LDL cholesterol).

[3]: type-2-diabetes/type-2-diabetes-and-cinnamon supplements may help improve lipid profile (triglycerides and cholesterol).

Effect of Cinnamon on Lipid Disorders

In the study discussed here, cinnamon supplements improved triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol, without worsening HDL cholesterol.

Read more details about Cinnamon.

Research Evidence on Cinnamon

One double-blind study found evidence that cinnamon, taken at a dose of 1-6 grams daily, improved triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol, without worsening HDL cholesterol.198

How to Use Cinnamon

In the study discussed here, the effective dose of cinnamon was 1-6 grams 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

  • Acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist
  • 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.


  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. Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:3215-3218.

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