Heart palpitations are sensations of increased or pounding heartbeat that can be felt in your chest, neck or throat. Palpitations usually lead to unpleasant awareness of the heartbeat, but are not considered serious. However, palpitations that occur as a result of abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, may indicate underlying conditions such as heart disease or abnormal blood electrolyte levels. Anemia, anxiety, caffeine, exercise, fever and thyroid disease are some of the other causes of heart palpitations. Reducing stress and caffeine intake, and practicing yoga and other relaxation exercises may help control the condition. The role of certain herbs and spices such as cinnamon in heart palpitations is inconclusive.
Cinnamon is extracted from the bark of the Cinnamomum plant native to India, China and Southeast Asia. The bark is made into powders, teas, capsules and liquid extracts. It has been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions, including bronchitis, loss of appetite and diabetes, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Cinnamon is generally safe when taken by mouth, although allergic reactions have been reported in certain cases.
Cinnamon and Heart
Cinnamaldehyde, extracted from cinnamon, can increase the contractile force and beating rate of heart in laboratory animals, reported a study published in the “Journal of Pharmacobio-Dynamics.” Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, author of "The 5-Minute Herb and Dietary Supplement Consult,” however, states that cinnamophilin extracted from cinnamon can help treat arrhythmia and regulate heart rate in animal models. Cinnamon twig and licorice may also help control palpitations that are felt below the region of heart, says Dr. Nigel Wiseman in his book “A Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine.” However, these effects have been proven only in animals. More studies and clinical trials are needed to prove these benefits conclusively.
Cinnamon can also lead to allergic reactions in certain individuals upon ingestion. Allergic reactions commonly lead to symptoms such as nasal congestion, asthma, skin irritation and upset stomach. An increased heart rate is a rare but serious symptom of food allergies. This may lead to breathlessness, loss of consciousness and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Cinnamon does not cause palpitations under normal circumstances. Palpitations upon ingestion of cinnamon may indicate a severe allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical help if your condition worsens as it may indicate a serious condition known as anaphylaxix. Talk to your doctor to make sure cinnamon is safe for you.
- MedlinePlus: Heart Palpitations
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Cinnamon
- Journal of Pharmacobio-Dynamics; Pharmacological Studies on Chinese Cinnamon. IV. Effect of Cinnamldehyde on the Isolated Heart of Guinea Pigs and its Catecholamine Releasing Effect from the Adrenal Gland of Dogs
- The 5-Minute Herb & Dietary Supplement Consult; Adriane Fugh-Berman
- A Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine; Nigel Wiseman and Ye Feng
- American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology: Allergic Reactions: Tips to Remember