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A sticker featuring the tale of cinnamon's health properties.

A Tale Of Two Cinnamons

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Cinnamon’s Health Benefits (But Watch Out!)

Cinnamon is enjoyed for its sweet and punchy flavor. It also has important health properties!

Let’s take a look at the science…

A Tale Of Two Cinnamons

In your local supermarket, there is likely “cinnamon” and if you’re lucky, also “sweet cinnamon”. The difference between these is critical to understand before we continue:

“Cinnamon” = Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum aromaticum. This is cheapest and most readily available. It has a relatively high cinnamaldehyde content, and a high coumarin content.

“Sweet cinnamon” Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum. It has a lower cinnamaldehyde content, and/but a much lower (almost undetectable) coumarin content.

You may be wondering: what’s with the “or” in both of those cases? Each simply has two botanical names in use. It’s inconvenient and confusing, but that’s how it is.

Great! What’s cinnamaldehyde and what’s coumarin?

Cinnamaldehyde is what gives cinnamon its “spice” aspect; it’s strong and fragrant. It also gives cinnamon most of its health benefits.

As a quick aside: it’s also used as the flavoring element in cinnamon flavored vapes, and in that form, it can cause health problems. So do eat it, but we recommend not to vape it.

Coumarin is toxic in large quantities.

The recommended safe amount is 0.1mg/kg, so you could easily go over this with a couple of teaspoons of cassia cinnamon:

Toxicology and risk assessment of coumarin: focus on human data

…while in Sweet/True/Ceylon cinnamon, those levels are almost undetectable:

Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review

If you have a cinnamon sensitivity, it is likely, but not necessarily, tied to the coumarin content rather than the cinnamaldehyde content.

Summary of this section before moving on:

“Cinnamon”, or cassia cinnamon, has about 50% stronger health benefits than “Sweet Cinnamon”, also called Ceylon cinnamon.

“Cinnamon”, or cassia cinnamon, has about 250% stronger health risks than “Sweet Cinnamon”, also called Ceylon cinnamon.

The mathematics here is quite simple; sweet cinnamon is the preferred way to go.

The Health Benefits

We spent a lot of time/space today looking at the differences. We think this was not only worth it, but necessary. However, that leaves us with less time/space for discussing the actual benefits. We’ll summarize, with links to supporting science:

“Those three things that almost always go together”:

Heart and blood benefits:

Neuroprotective benefits:

The science does need more testing in these latter two, though.

Where to get it?

You may be able to find sweet cinnamon in your local supermarket, or if you prefer capsule form, here’s an example product on Amazon 😎


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