Benefits Of Cinnamon

What is cinnamon?

Cinnamon is most familiar as a household spice used mainly as a cooking ingredient in either whole cinnamon stick form or as a powdered spice. It can be used for many food preparations and drinks, both sweet and savoury. It is a brown-coloured and fragrant spice with a warm, sweet and earthy flavour. 

Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of a bushy, evergreen tree and is a member of the Laurel (Lauraceae) family. More than one of these trees is used in the production of cinnamon spice; the main one used is the Sri Lankan native, the Ceylon Cinnamon or (Cinnamomum verum). This tree is found in Sri Lanka, on the Malabar Coast of India and in Myanmar. Other Cinnamon sources are the Chinese Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia), the Vietnamese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum, Indonesian and Madagascar (Cinnamomum citriodorum).

The bark is peeled away from the tree and then placed in the sun to dry upon drying it curls into the familiar rolls known as cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon is used widely in cooking but also as an essential oil and in herbal medicine.

The ancient Egyptians prized cinnamon and its properties and used it as part of their religious practices and embalming process. 

Cinnamon was once traded as a currency with a value said to be higher than that of gold. This spice was the most valuable source of profit for the Dutch East India Company.

Cinnamon is a key Ayurvedic spice. Ayurveda is the traditional health system of India In Ayurvedic medicine cinnamon is seen as a warming spice that acts upon digestion, clears respiratory passages, aids circulation and promotes healthy joints. Ayurvedic medicine makes use of the essential oil externally for wounds and insect bites (do not apply cinnamon essential oil neat to skin), it recommends chewing cinnamon pieces to strengthen teeth and benefit the breath and for treating skin problems such as acne.

 Traditionally, cinnamon is used in the following ways:

  • Powder mixed with honey
  • Made into a tea
  • Powder mixed with water and applied to the skin as a paste
  • As an essential oil 
  • In cooking or sprinkled on food 

Health benefits of cinnamon

When consumed in the diet as part of food or drinks such as herbal teas, the health benefits of cinnamon will enhance well-being. As a part of herbal medicine, Cinnamon can be used at a stronger dose to obtain further health benefits.

The active constituents of cinnamon are:

  • Cinnamaldehyde
  • Cinnamic acid 
  • Coumarin
  • Linalool
  • Eugenol
  • Caryophyllene
  • Polyphenol polymers

Cinnamon is a very important digestive herb, meaning it has specific actions in the digestive processes. It is a carminative herb, meaning it aids with flatulence. Cinnamon is considered to be a warming carminative, meaning part of its action is to stimulate function through increasing heat. Cinnamon is a highly aromatic herb and digestive that will stimulate digestive functioning to support more effective and comfortable processing of food.

Digestive conditions cinnamon may benefit

Cinnamon like many other spices used in cooking has benefits for the digestive processes outlined above but cinnamon is a very important spice that greatly benefits gut health. Gut health has become a very exciting area of research in recent times due to the realisation of the impact of gut function on our entire physiological processes and general health. Cinnamon reduces inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and has antimicrobial properties that prevent harmful bacteria from entering the gut allowing beneficial bacteria to increase. Cinnamon functions in gut health as a prebiotic herb. 

Generally speaking, cinnamon will warm and enhance the digestive system, reducing symptoms of inflammation, improving appetite and reducing digestive discomfort such as indigestion and flatulence.

Viral conditions cinnamon may benefit

  • Common cold
  • Influenza
  • Gastrointestinal infection

Cinnamon has long been suggested as a folk remedy for respiratory viruses as it is a warming herb. In herbal medicine, cinnamon is indicated for viral conditions where a warming remedy would be beneficial due to its action on circulation. In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated cinnamon’s antiviral activity one study involved an extract of cinnamon that was found to be effective against enveloped viruses such as influenza.4

Several studies have demonstrated the antimicrobial activity of cinnamon against many different bacterial strains. Cinnamon essential oil has proven to be even more potent in its antimicrobial activity than other essential oils tested. 

Circulatory and cardiovascular conditions cinnamon may benefit 

  • Cold extremities 
  • Hypertension: some studies have demonstrated cinnamaldehyde can produce hypotensive (lower blood pressure) effects5
  • Cholesterol and lipid-lowering benefits have been demonstrated by the use of Cinnamomum cassia powder and essential oil5
  • Atherosclerosis: cinnamon has shown protective activity on cells that may help to prevent hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis

Hormone and reproductive conditions cinnamon may benefit 

Several studies have looked at the use of cinnamon for menstrual problems and PCOS in cases of PCOS, cinnamon can reduce insulin resistance in women. Insulin resistance affects normal ovulation, preventing ovulation or stopping the egg from maturing; insulin resistance in women can lead to a higher risk of miscarriage.

Cinnamon can aid tissue regeneration in the reproductive system through enhancing blood circulation.5 This will have a positive impact on fertility due to improved reproductive tissue and organ function.

The astringent action of cinnamon may benefit conditions where excess blood flow occurs such as haemorrhage or heavy menstrual loss.

The ability of cinnamon to lower blood glucose levels may be beneficial in preventing the build-up of yeasts such as Candida albicans which causes thrush.

Due to cinnamon having an astringent action, it may help with excess bleeding associated with endometriosis and uterine fibroids. 

Cinnamon has been found to help reduce pelvic pain. This would be of benefit to those suffering from period pain, pain caused by endometriosis, pain caused by fibroids and any other unknown causes of pelvic pain syndrome.

Skin care 

Due to the high antioxidant content of cinnamon which arises from polyphenols in the spice, studies show cinnamon to have more than 41 beneficial compounds that fight free radical activity. 

Potential skincare benefits of cinnamon include:

  • Antioxidant 
  • Anti-bacterial 
  • Antifungal 
  • Fighting acne and blemishes 
  • Enhances blood flow to skin surface, enhancing ‘skin glow’
  • Helps to keep skin hydrated
  • Lightens where hyperpigmentation has occurred 
  • Helps dry skin by removing dead skin cells
  • Potential benefit in eczema 
  • Use as a massage oil 

Other health benefits of cinnamon

  • Blood sugar benefits due to high antioxidant content:5 Cinnamon has been shown to demonstrate a lowering effect on blood glucose levels compared to other spices suggesting potential antidiabetic effects
  • Cosmetic due to suppressing hyperpigmentation (causes age spots)
  • Anti Inflammatory due to essential oils present and several flavonoid compounds5
  • Neurodegenerative disorders: cinnamon has demonstrated potential benefits in the treatment of Parkinson's disease due to possible protection of brain cells through its antioxidant activity. Potential therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer's disease have been suggested by further studies5
  • Possible indications of benefits of cinnamon in the treatment of cancer:5 it could help to prevent cancer and inhibit spread by actions to restrain tumour cells 
  • Immune system benefits: as discussed earlier cinnamon has been used to treat common viral conditions of the respiratory system and studies have demonstrated how it can regulate the immune system to benefit general health
  • Weight loss aid: cinnamon may help promote weight loss. It is a high-fibre food so may reduce food cravings. It is also thought that cinnamon may boost the metabolism as the body uses so much energy to process this spice compared with other foods. The lowering effect cinnamon has on blood glucose levels may help with weight loss. The overall anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of cinnamon will benefit overall physiological function and potentially aid with weight loss

Nutritional facts

Each teaspoon or three grams of cinnamon consumed provides the following:

  • 7 kcl/31 KJ
  • 0.1 g protein
  • 0.9 g carbohydrate
  • 1.6 g fibre 

Cinnamon contains the following vitamins and minerals:3

  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin C 
  • Calcium 
  • Iron 
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus  

Cinnamon is the most widely consumed spice in the world and is beneficial due to a high antioxidant content which gives us many health benefits. This spice can form part of a healthy diet and be used as a powder or as a whole spice in the form of cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon can be used in its dried form to make a lovely herbal tea or can be purchased in ready-made tea bags.

The many health benefits of cinnamon can be gained by consuming it as part of a healthy diet in its many forms and this will add important antioxidants to the body. Antioxidants are vital to human beings as they function to clear up free radical species that contribute to metabolic disease and the ageing process. Due to the high flavonoid content of cinnamon, it is very high in antioxidants. The antioxidants found in cinnamon have demonstrated their ability to scavenge free radicals even better than some other spices.5

Cinnamon can be taken as a dietary supplement and there are many on the market in different forms:

  • Cinnamon powder
  • Cinnamon tablets
  • Cinnamon capsules 
  • Cinnamon sprays 

Side effects and other concerns

German Commission E does not recommend cinnamon be used in pregnancy however safety literature does not support this. Occasional allergic reactions have been reported involving the skin and mucosa this is thought to be through contact with cinnamic aldehyde found in the essential oil as this is a very potent chemical. Some people have a specific sensitivity to cinnamic aldehyde and should therefore avoid contact with cinnamon essential oil.


Cinnamon has demonstrated its many uses over many years of traditional and more modern usage. A popular spice for cooking and baking and a mainstay of the traditional ayurvedic lifestyle. It has nutritional value due to its high antioxidant content alongside other beneficial compounds and nutrients. Many health benefits can be gained by using cinnamon medicinally for the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system and immune system. Traditionally cinnamon has been used in the treatment of skin conditions and still today it is an important natural skincare ingredient. 

Cinnamon is an incredibly versatile natural health remedy that can be used in a number of different forms from powder that can be made into a paste, a delicious herbal tea, as a herbal tincture, as an essential oil and as a natural health supplement.


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  2. Goel B, Mishra S. Medicinal and nutritional perspective of cinnamon: a mini-review. European Journal of Medicinal Plants [Internet]. 2020 Feb 27 [cited 2023 Sep 28];10–6. Available from:
  3. Gul S, Safdar M. Proximate composition and mineral analysis of cinnamon. Pakistan J of Nutrition [Internet]. 2009 Aug 15 [cited 2023 Sep 28];8(9):1456–60. Available from:
  4. Rao PV, Gan SH. Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2023 Sep 28];2014:1–12. Available from:
  5. Shang C, Lin H, Fang X, Wang Y, Jiang Z, Qu Y, et al. Beneficial effects of cinnamon and its extracts in the management of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Food Funct [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2023 Sep 28];12(24):12194–220. Available from:
  6. Jahan F, Happy AA, Chowdhury MMH, Hossain MA. Natural herbs and spices: a great resource for skin care cosmetics. Journal of Plant Sciences [Internet]. 2019 Sep 16 [cited 2023 Sep 28];7(4):86. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Victoria Ward

BSc, Herbal Medicine,University of Lincoln

Experienced Medical Herbalist BSc (Hons) and former nurse, highly knowledgeable about healthcare and medicinal plants. I’m especially interested in skin care and gut health. Regular blogger for my own website and freelance article writer. I enjoy writing both creative, ghostwriting and medical writing. Passionate about country life, have two horses and a collie dog. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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