The Cinnamon Challenge – How Much is Healthy, How Much is Safe?


June 21st, 2012

Looking for sustainably & ethically harvested Ceylon cinnamon? Enjoy the photos and stories of  La Cannelle plantation.

Cinnamon has several health benefits, a  source of manganese, fiber, iron and calcium. It’s believed to help with anti-clotting abilities, help stabilize sugar levels for those with Type 2 diabetes, lower bad cholesterol, and fight infections.

 There are two kinds of cinnamon, but product labels do not usually identify the type. Cassia, “common” cinnamon, usually from China, is redder, stronger in flavor, and cheaper. Ceylon (from Sri Lanka, Vietnam) or “true” cinnamon is a pale tan color; it is milder, sweeter, and more expensive than cassia.

Ceylon cinnamon sticks are tight rolls of thin layers; cassia sticks are hollow tubes of thicker, rougher, bark. They are generally ground into powders.

Not sure which type of cinnamon to use for your food? Penzeys offers a helpful guide.
CINNAMON AS ALLERGEN
Cinnamon also contains as essential oil called cinnamal, which can act as an allergen in a fair amount of people. Those who are allergic to cinnamon can suffer from contact dermatitis. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, cinnamon can also cause a severe allergic reaction that can lead to anaphylactic shock. We can only hope that someone who knows they are allergic to cinnamon would politely decline the challenge; but for someone who wasn’t aware of the existence or severity of an allergy, the results could be … challenging.”

CINNAMON AS NATURAL TOXIN & PESTICIDE.

On the plus side, cinnamon can be used as a natural pesticide known to be unkind to mosquito larvae, moths and ants … and most famously, rats.

Cinnamaldehyde is the organic compound that gives the spice its flavor but,   used in concentration,  is a pesticide and fungicide that causes internal hemorrhage & death.  EPA warns of acute dermal toxicity; acute oral toxicity; eye irritation; dermal irritation and dermal sensitization. When cooking, use recommended portions.

CINNAMON AS MEDICATION.

Cinnamon contain substantial amounts of coumarin (also present in the tonka bean, from which it’s name came, and other plants).  Coumarin is better known by its trademarked name, Coumadin, an anti-coagulant used to keep blood from clotting. Although coumarin itself has no anticoagulant properties, it is transformed into the natural anticoagulant dicoumarol by a number of species of fungi. Eating cinnamon, by itself, will not help your heart disease.

Coumarin is a possibly carcinogenic substance that can cause liver inflammation and can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In people who are sensitive, coumarin might cause or worsen liver disease.

Ground cinnamon can lead to a bronchial constriction that can be life threatening. For anyone suffering from asthma or COPD, this can be very serious.

Cassia cinnamon contains .5% coumarin. Due to concerns about the possible effects of coumarin, several years ago the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warned against consuming large amounts of Cassia cinnamon. One teaspoon of cinnamon powder contains may be above the Tolerable Daily Intake for smaller individuals.

Ceylon contains only .0004% coumarin and is unlikely to be problematic. If you enjoy cinnamon but are at risk, consider cooking with Ceylon.



One Response to “The Cinnamon Challenge – How Much is Healthy, How Much is Safe?”

  1. samualsoon on June 28, 2012 12:28 am

    Awesome write up here! Harvesting Ceylon cinnamon would be better due to it is healthy and nutritious though I've quite support with harvested Ceylon cinnamon.girokontoThanks for sharing with us!

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