Whether or not you take your coffee with cream and sugar, milk and honey or with nothing at all, cinnamon tea is a simple, healthful beverage that many enjoy. Cinnamon tea has a sweet, spicy flavor as well as significant health benefits. To prepare this tea, boil a 3-inch piece of cinnamon stick in 1 1/4 cups of water for 15 to 25 minutes, and then let it steep and rest for another 15 minutes. Or, mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder with hot water and stir. One gram of cinnamon equals 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder or 1/2 cinnamon stick.
Cinnamon and Cholesterol
One research study published in the September 2013 issue of "Annals of Family Medicine" concluded that consuming cinnamon in a dose from 120 milligrams to 6 grams per day was associated with reduced levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, along with higher levels of the good cholesterol, HDL. This study reviewed previously published, randomized controlled trials that studied cinnamon's effect on glycemia and lipid levels.
The American Cancer Society notes that naturally occurring antioxidants in foods may provide some health benefits, including preventing certain cancers. Compared to some other antioxidant-rich herbs and spices, cinnamon has the third-highest antioxidant content -- with only cloves and allspice containing more. A study conducted to evaluate the antioxidant activity of cinnamon extracts published in 2010 in "Nutrition Journal" determined that cinnamon prevented oxidation more effectively than the synthetic antioxidant, BHT. This suggests that you can use cinnamon as a natural antioxidant to prevent unwanted oxidation of lipids in foods.
Type 2 Diabetes
The Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation reviewed multiple studies that were studied to determine the effects of cinnamon on blood-sugar control in diabetics. Clinical trial findings suggest the possibility of a small-to-modest effect of supplemental cinnamon on diabetics' blood sugar, likely because of small changes in insulin sensitivity. One study published in the December 2003 issue of "Diabetes Care" studied 60 people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers divided participants into six groups. Researchers gave groups one, two and three 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon daily. Researchers gave placebos to groups four, five and six. After 40 days, the three cinnamon groups had reduced blood-sugar levels by 18 to 29 percent. Researchers did not see any significant changes in groups that took a placebo.
Possible Adverse Effects
Hundreds of varieties of cinnamon exist, with Ceylon cinnamon and cassia being the two main varieties. Cassia is the most common and least-expensive variety found in the United States and Canada, while Ceylon cinnamon is mostly used in Europe and Mexico. Coumarin, which is a substance found in both varieties, can cause liver damage or liver failure when consumed in high amounts. The amount of coumarin found in Ceylon cinnamon is very small -- only 0.017 gram per kilogram. However the levels found in cassia cinnamon as well as in its two very close relatives, Saigon and Korintje, are much higher at 0.31 gram per kilogram, 6.97 grams per kilogram, and 2.15 grams per kilogram, respectively. The European Food Safety Authority established a tolerable daily intake for coumarin of 0.1 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. To determine which type of cinnamon a powder is made from, read the label to determine if the cinnamon product identifies the source on the label. Alternatively, call the manufacturer.
- Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation: Cinnamon and Diabetes
- Cinnamon Vogue: How to Make Cinnamon Stick Tea
- Diabetes Care:Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes
- PMC US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health: Annals of Family Medicine:Cinnamon Use in Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Cinnamon Vogue: Types of Cinnamon
- Nutrition Journal: The Total Antioxidant Content of More Than 3100 Foods, Beverages, Spices, Herbs and Supplements Used Worldwide
- American Cancer Society: Phytochemicals