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Cinnamon, Cloves, and Diabetes

author image Cassie Wright
Cassie Wright has been a registered dietitian since 2006 and a certified diabetes educator since 2011. Her areas of expertise include diabetes education, maternal/infant health and weight management. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Messiah College and completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Cinnamon, Cloves, and Diabetes
Cinnamon has glucose-lowering effects. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

With rates of diabetes rising and no cure in sight, many patients are turning to natural remedies for support in managing their condition. Although many supplements and herbs have proven to be less than effective in helping to control diabetes, cinnamon and cloves have been well-documented in research for their glucose-lowering effects. Adding 1/2 tsp. per day in combination with a healthy lifestyle involving nutrition and exercise may help you control your diabetes.


Cinnamon, once thought to be worth more than its weight in gold, originates from bushy green trees native to Sri Lanka. Now grown in more countries, the inner layers of the tree bark are dried to cultivate cinnamon. With biological properties similar to the hormone insulin, cinnamon has the ability to lower post-meal blood sugars, according to research published by the American Society of Nutrition in 2007. In addition, the use of cinnamon at meals decreases insulin resistance and enhances the effects of gastrointestinal hormones responsible for satiety and decreased gastric emptying rates, according to the American Society of Nutrition in 2009.


Eating a piece of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving may not be so problematic after all, if cloves were used in the baking process. Cloves come from a flower bud of a tropical evergreen tree. Research promotes the use of cloves for patients with diabetes for the glucose-lowering impacts experienced when consuming cloves on a daily basis. When consumed for more than 30 days, according to research published by Dr. Alam Khan in 2006, cloves have the potential to lower an average serum glucose from 225 mg/dl to 150 mg/dl.

Heart Health Benefits

The ability to prevent co-morbidities -- such as renal impairment, heart disease, eye disease and vascular complications -- ranks among the most important concerns for patients diagnosed with diabetes. For people seeking to use cinnamon and cloves for their glucose-lowering impacts, an additional heart health benefit exists. The use of cinnamon and cloves for more than 40 days leads to a reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to research published by the American Diabetes Association in 2003.

Safety First

When considering the intake of any new supplements or herbs, consult with your doctor first. Supplements and herbs are not regulated by any governing body, potentially increasing your risks for unwanted side effects or problems. Supplements and herbs have the potential to counteract medications, particularly those used to treat diabetes. If you are considering using cinnamon and cloves to lower your blood sugar, consider safety first.

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