Cinnamon: 6 effects & 3 side effects + recipes

Today, cinnamon is an integral part of local cuisine. Especially around Christmas, the actually exotic spice is processed in all dishes. But cinnamon not only tastes good, it also has some health benefits. We tell you what you need to know about cinnamon.

The real cinnamon trade has its origins in the Middle Ages. At that time it was only sold by the Arabs, who continued to keep the origin of the spice a secret. Spices were expensive at that time. The long import route of the cinnamon also increased the price. Nevertheless, the spice was in great demand. It was believed that cinnamon could cure diseases such as gout.Cinnamon has always been a popular spice. It was already widely used in ancient times. For a long time, the origin of the spice was kept a secret. Many myths have grown up around the tasty spice. So it was believed that it came from so-called cinnamon birds or that it grew in deep water.

In modern times, people began to search for the origin of the spice and found it on the island of Ceylon. In the centuries that followed, it was mainly the Portuguese and Dutch who imported the spice to Europe.

Over time, Europeans began to cultivate the exotic spice themselves in order to limit the long import route and to cover demand. Nowadays it is grown in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and the Seychelles, as well as in South and Southeast Asia.

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There are cinnamon varieties

Cinnamon is not always the same as cinnamon. There are different types with partly different effects. While some types of cinnamon have a positive effect on the body, others should be treated with caution.

Ceylon cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon is considered the real cinnamon. It is originally from countries in South Asia such as Sri Lanka, Burma and Bangladesh. In this country it is used less and is mainly available in pharmacies or as a cinnamon stick.

Ceylon cinnamon is said to have some health benefits and is low in the concern ingredient coumarin, which is present in higher concentrations in lower-priced cinnamon varieties. Compared to these, Ceylon cinnamon is of higher quality and more expensive, but it is still worth buying because of the fine taste and the health benefits of this type of cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon also differs from its cheaper relatives in its composition. It contains less cinnamaldehyde than other types of cinnamon and therefore tastes less spicy.

Production of Ceylon cinnamon

The Ceylon cinnamon tree belongs to the laurel family. It is evergreen and can be harvested two to three times a year. The young leaves of the cinnamon tree are red and develop a dark green color over time. Stone fruits about one centimeter in size form from the greyish blossoms of the cinnamon tree.

Ceylon cinnamon is obtained from the bark of the six to ten meter high tree. The bark is peeled from the trees in thin strips and later dried. During this process, the bark curls up, forming the dry cinnamon stick we know in this country.

Cassia cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon is the common type of cinnamon in this country, which you can find in powder form in conventional supermarkets. This variety originally comes from Seres in China and is considered an adulterated variant of real Ceylon cinnamon.

Other types of cinnamon are also grouped under the generic term Cassia cinnamon. These include the Indonesian and rather cheap Cinnamomum burmannii and the Vietnamese Cinnamomum loureiroi, which is very popular in China and Japan. Due to a comparatively high concentration of coumarin, cassia cinnamon is associated with some health risks.

Production of cassia cinnamon

The cinnamon cassia or the Chinese cinnamon tree is very similar to the Ceylon cinnamon tree. Nevertheless, both leaves and flowers of the trees differ in some factors. Cinnamon, obtained from the bark of the cassia tree, has the same name as Ceylon cinnamon, but it is a spice in its own right.

The two types of cinnamon can be distinguished by the shape of the dried cinnamon stick. While a Ceylon cinnamon stick consists of many thin layers, cassia cinnamon sticks consist of a thicker bark layer.

Effective ingredients

Cinnamon can consist of up to four percent essential oil . In the case of Ceylon cinnamon, up to 76 percent and in the case of cassia cinnamon up to 90 percent are made up of cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for the aromatic smell of the spice.

The bark also contains eugenol , which also gives the cinnamon a spicy taste. The bark also contains tannins , which can sometimes help with digestive problems.

One ingredient of concern in cinnamon is coumarin , which can pose some risks in higher concentrations. While Ceylon cinnamon contains only a very small and harmless amount of coumarin, cassia cinnamon contains up to 0.3 percent and should therefore be dosed with caution.

Cinnamon is so healthy

Especially Ceylon cinnamon has some positive effects on the body. Not only in the Middle Ages, but also today, cinnamon is still considered a natural remedy. There are numerous studies investigating the effects of cinnamon.


Cinnamon has digestive properties. When added to food, it can be more digestible for the digestive tract. It promotes intestinal activity, relaxes the intestinal muscles and can thus prevent digestive problems such as flatulence . Due to its antibacterial effects, cinnamaldehyde can act against bacteria and thus inhibit bacteria such as salmonella, among others.

Cinnamon is also suitable for people with a loss of appetite. It has appetite-stimulating effects and can thus bring about an improvement in symptoms.


Cinnamon is also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Cinnamon was already known as a remedy for gout in the Middle Ages. It is still recommended today for diseases with inflammatory symptoms.

Diverse minerals

Cinnamon contains a variety of minerals. It contains, among other things, potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium and iron. Even tiny amounts of each mineral can have a major impact on the body. A few milligrams can make a difference here. A lack of minerals should definitely be treated by a doctor.

High number of antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the body from so-called free radicals. These can damage the body’s own cells and thus promote diseases and the aging process. Free radicals are caused, for example, by UV radiation and bad habits such as smoking . In addition to foods such as matcha tea , cinnamon also contains many antioxidants.

effect on blood sugar levels

Cinnamon is particularly well known for its effect on blood sugar levels and some people supplement it for this purpose. Cinnamon supplements are sometimes recommended for type II diabetics. The effect of cinnamon on type II diabetes has been tested in several studies. There were different results. In an animal experiment with rats, scientists found that cinnamon can increase insulin secretion. Two other studies confirmed a reducing effect of cinnamon on the blood sugar level of type II diabetics in combination with an appropriate diet or antidiabetics. However, another study could not confirm this effect.

Pharmacologists and diabetologists advise against taking cinnamon preparations.

Cinnamon as a fat burner: lose weight

The blood sugar-lowering properties of cinnamon are also said to ensure that fat burning increases. This should support the weight loss process. Just one gram of the spice a day is said to have a positive effect on the body and can help stabilize blood sugar . Constant blood sugar can help the body work longer to burn fat. However, studies on the effects of cinnamon on fat metabolism have so far not come to any clear conclusions.

Lose weight with honey and cinnamon

A combination of cinnamon and honey is particularly recommended for weight loss . A diet drink made from these ingredients is suitable for this purpose. This should stimulate the metabolism and lower the insulin level. Both cinnamon and honey are said to be able to lower insulin levels and thus keep them constant over a longer period of time. This ensures fewer food cravings and can thus contribute to weight reduction. In order to have a good effect on your health, you should make sure that the products in question are of good quality. It is advisable to use Ceylon cinnamon and organic products.You can make the diet drink from cinnamon and honey as follows:

  • Put half a teaspoon of cinnamon in a glass. That’s about one gram.
  • Add boiling water and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Finally, stir a teaspoon of honey into the lukewarm water.

Enjoy your meal!

These are possible side effects of cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon, and especially cinnamon supplements, can have some side effects and pose risks. You should therefore definitely stick to the prescribed daily intake and avoid the food if you have intolerance.

Liver damage from coumarin

Coumarin is a flavoring substance found in many foods. It is found in comparatively high concentrations in cassia cinnamon. A maximum content of coumarin in food has been set since 2011. For baked goods, this is 50 milligrams per kilogram of food; dessert dishes should contain no more than 5 grams of coumarin per kilogram of food. So far, however, there are no maximum levels for spices such as cinnamon.

Regular intake of cassia cinnamon preparations can lead to liver disorders in the long term. Some people may be particularly sensitive to coumarin. Liver damage can occur in them after a short time. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment recommends switching to low-coumarin Ceylon cinnamon if you eat cinnamon regularly in order to avoid possible risks. In the case of dietary supplements, the Institute points out that the recommended dose values ​​may be exceeded. This depends on the preparation in question.

risks in pregnancy

There is a general warning against eating foods containing cinnamon during pregnancy. However, it also depends on the dose here. The magazine “ Eltern ” speaks of a contraction-promoting effect when consuming more than 200 grams of cinnamon stars per day in combination with a cinnamon tea. Damage to the baby or the mother’s liver from coumarin or cinnamaldehyde can only occur if large amounts of cinnamon are consumed. Nevertheless, it is advisable to switch to the low-coumarin Ceylon cinnamon.

Is cinnamon toxic?

The coumarin contained in cassia cinnamon is classified as having a low level of toxicity. This is because the body only absorbs up to six percent of the flavoring on average. Sensitive people should still be careful and avoid consuming too much coumarin-containing cassia cinnamon. Adults should generally consume no more than a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. It is safe for children to consume up to half a gram of cinnamon per day.

Buy Ceylon cinnamon

You can get Ceylon cinnamon from the spice trader as well as in health food stores and pharmacies. Normal cinnamon shakers usually contain the cheaper cassia cinnamon. When it comes to Ceylon cinnamon, this is often on the label, while Cassia cinnamon is often labeled as cinnamon only.

Tip : You can get Ceylon cinnamon in larger quantities online and easily order it for your home.

Cinnamon and Sugar: Tasty Recipes

Cinnamon goes particularly well in desserts and is therefore often combined with sugar. A combination of cinnamon and sugar is often stirred into milk dishes such as rice pudding. Cinnamon is also a popular ingredient in baked goods. It is used in all kinds of recipes, especially at Christmas. Cinnamon stars, which contain a large amount of the spice, are particularly popular. Cinnamon rolls, which are usually prepared with icing, and cinnamon cakes, which are often combined with apples, are suitable all year round.

Apple and cinnamon combinations

In addition to the typical cinnamon-sugar combination, the combination of cinnamon and apple is also particularly popular. This combination works well in cakes, muffins or as a compote. We present some recipes.

Apple-Cinnamon Muffins

These muffins are especially tasty in the colder months, but they also look great in the warmer temperatures.

You need:

  • 2 large apples
  • 125 grams of butter
  • 150 grams of sugar
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 220 grams of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

The preparation:

  • Mix the sugar and vanilla sugar with the butter. Add the eggs and mix everything with the mixer until fluffy and fluffy.
  • Add the milk and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Mix the baking powder with the flour and add the mixture to the mass and stir well.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and cut the apples into small cubes. A few cubes can be a bit bigger.
  • Mix the small diced apples with the batter and fill them evenly into twelve muffin cups.
  • Once you’ve spread the batter, you can spread the larger diced apples over the muffins.
  • Bake the muffins at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Apple and cinnamon compote

Compote is versatile. You can eat it with desserts such as ice cream, waffles and pudding or combine it savory with potato pancakes.

You need:

  • 6 apples
  • 450 milliliters naturally cloudy apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch

The preparation:

  • Peel the apples, core them and cut them into small pieces.
  • Put the apple pieces in a saucepan with 400 milliliters of apple juice, the cinnamon and sugar and stir everything together.
  • Allow the mixture to slowly heat on the stove and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the cornstarch with the remaining 50 milliliters of apple juice and add it to the heated mixture.
  • Bring the compote to a boil again, stirring constantly, so that it thickens further.
  • If you want, you can puree the coarse compote to get a fine mush.


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