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Cassia cinnamon is a type of cinnamon prepared from the dried inner bark of an evergreen tree that grows in areas of southeastern Asia. In addition to cassia cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon) is commonly used. The cinnamon spice found in food stores might contain both of these types of cinnamon. But, the most common cinnamon sold in North America is cassia cinnamon.
People take Cassia cinnamon by mouth for diabetes, gas (flatulence), muscle and stomach spasms, preventing nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, and loss of appetite.
Some people use it for erectile dysfunction (ED), hernia, bed-wetting, joint pain, menopausal symptoms, menstrual problems, and to cause abortions. Cassia cinnamon is also used for chest pain, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, cramps, and cancer.
People apply cassia cinnamon to the skin to repel mosquitos.
In food and beverages, cassia cinnamon is used as a flavoring agent.
How does it work?
Cassia cinnamon contains hydroxychalcone and similar chemicals. These chemicals seem to improve insulin sensitivity. Cassia cinnamon also contains chemicals that may activate blood proteins that increase blood sugar uptake. These effects may improve blood sugar control in patients with diabetes. Cassia cinnamon also contains cinnamaldehyde. This chemical might have activity against bacteria and fungi. It also seems to stop the growth of some types of solid tumor cells.
Possibly Effective for...
- Diabetes. Some research shows that taking cassia cinnamon daily for up to 3 months helps control blood sugar and reduces cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Cassia cinnamon does not appear to improve blood sugar control and related symptoms in people with type 1 diabetes.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Mosquito repellent. Early research suggests that applying cassia cinnamon oil cream to the skin can protect against mosquito bites. But, it seems to decrease in effectiveness faster than creams containing citronella and geranium oils or DEET.
- Bed wetting.
- Chest pain.
- Common cold.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED).
- High blood pressure.
- Intestinal gas.
- Joint pain.
- Kidney problems.
- Loss of appetite.
- Menopausal symptoms.
- Menstrual problems.
- Muscle and stomach spasms.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Cassia cinnamon is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods and when taken by mouth in medicinal doses for up to 4 months.
Cassia cinnamon is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin in the short-term.
Cassia cinnamon is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts for a long period of time. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon might cause side effects in some people. Cassia cinnamon can contain large amounts of a chemical called coumarin. In people who are sensitive, coumarin might cause or worsen liver disease. When applied to the skin, cassia cinnamon can sometimes cause skin irritation and allergic skin reactions.
Children: Cassia cinnamon is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. One gram of cassia cinnamon daily has been used safely in 13-18 year-old adolescents for up to 3 months.
Diabetes: Cassia cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and use cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
Liver disease: Cassia cinnamon contains a chemical that might harm the liver. If you have liver disease, do not take cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
Surgery: Cassia cinnamon might lower blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking cassia cinnamon as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs)Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
Taking very large doses of cassia cinnamon might harm the liver, especially in people with existing liver disease. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon along with medications that might also harm the liver might increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take large amounts of cassia cinnamon if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.
Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Cassia cinnamon might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking cassia cinnamon along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
The appropriate dose of cassia cinnamon depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cassia cinnamon. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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