If you’re a tea lover, you may know that teas are a great way to reap the benefits of all kinds of herbs and spices. While herbal teas are commonly known for helping a sore throat, you may be surprised to learn that cinnamon tea may also be helpful for the immune system.
The numerous benefits of cinnamon can be attributed to its antioxidant content, which have sparked the interest of many researchers. Many studies have found that these compounds lend cinnamon health benefits such as its anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and anti-diabetic properties.
So, does cinnamon tea have the same benefits? And how much cinnamon should you consume as part of a healthy diet? Keep reading to find out.
Is Cinnamon Healthy?
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice that has been used in cuisines around the world for centuries. This spice comes from the cinnamon tree, and its use can be dated all the way back to 2800 BC when it was used as an ointment and for alleviating different illnesses and ailments.
Since then, cinnamon sticks (which are often sold as ground cinnamon) have become household staples and are often used to add a delicious and rich flavor to any meal or hot beverage.
But did you know there are actually multiple varieties of cinnamon? The four main types of cinnamon are:
- True cinnamon, which is also commonly called Ceylon cinnamon or Mexican cinnamon. The scientific name for ceylon cinnamon is Cinnamomum zeylanicum.
- Indonesian cinnamon, which also goes by the scientific name Cinnamomum burmanni
- Vietnamese cinnamon, which also goes by the scientific name Cinnamomum loureiroi
- Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon, which also goes by the scientific name Cinnamomum aromaticum.
But beyond its delicious flavor, cinnamon has been shown to have a number of positive effects on your health. However, it’s important to note that some of these properties have mainly been demonstrated in vitro, not in vivo and more human studies are needed. The benefits of cinnamon can be attributed to its:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Anti-diabetic properties
- Antimicrobial properties
- Antioxidant properties
- Potential anti-cancer properties
- Potential anti-lipidemic properties
- Antifungal properties
- Antibacterial properties
You may be thinking that it’s a good time to start adding more cinnamon to your diet. If you’re not familiar with cooking with cinnamon, a great way to start adding this spice into your diet is to start drinking cinnamon tea.
Making a cup of cinnamon tea is as easy as placing a few cinnamon sticks into hot or boiling water and letting it steep for a few minutes.
8 Benefits of Cinnamon Tea
If you still need a little convincing to add more of this spice into your diet, let’s take a look at eight of the most well-researched health benefits of cinnamon tea.
Can Lower Blood Sugar
Cinnamon tea is shown to benefit your metabolic health by supporting healthy blood sugar levels. This is because the antioxidant properties of cinnamon tea, which come from the polyphenols found in this spice, are thought to help lower post-meal glucose.
Biomedical researcher Dr. Steve Gendron adds, "it may lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. This means it may help your body do a better job of using its own insulin to move sugar from your blood into your cells, where it's needed for energy."
One study on Indonesian cinnamon, or Cinnamomum burmannii, took a closer look at the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar levels in nondiabetic individuals. The authors found that those who consumed the cinnamon tea had slightly lower postprandial blood glucose levels.
May Improve Cardiovascular Health
Cinnamon tea is also shown to have cardio-protective properties in animal studies. The antioxidants found in cinnamon might help the body fight off free radicals that can damage tissue in the body and lead to chronic diseases like heart disease. However, more human studies are needed.
Many components found in cinnamon are shown to reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels, all of which can also support heart health. Another study found that consuming cinnamon led to a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure.
By supporting metabolic health and improving insulin sensitivity, this spice may also be helpful in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes diabetes, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
May Be Helpful for Weight Loss
Another metabolic benefit of cinnamon tea is its link to weight loss. A meta analysis investigating the effects of cinnamon tea on weight loss and obesity found multiple studies support the benefits of cinnamon tea for weight loss.
More specifically, these studies found that consumption of cinnamon tea could affect obesity levels. This benefit may also stem from the ability of cinnamon to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help with healthy weight regulation.
Can Reduce Menstrual Cramps
One study found that consuming cinnamon not only alleviated menstrual cramping and pain significantly, but also led to a significant reduction of menstrual bleeding, nausea, and vomiting.
The next time you experience menstrual cramps, drinking a cinnamon tea may just be helpful in dealing with this unpleasant feeling.
Might Support Collagen Formation
A study investigating the effects of cinnamon consumption on collagen production found that cinnamon may increase the amount of type I collagen. However, more studies are needed.
May Help Prevent Certain Cancers
Cinnamon is commonly known for its metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, but some have suggested it also contains anticancer properties. In vitro cell culture studies have shown that Cinnamon casia can cause tumor or cancer cells to die without affecting normal cells. However, it’s important to note that these are in vitro studies and not in vivo. The way a living human body may metabolize cinnamon is very different from an in vitro cell culture. At this time, we do not yet have enough evidence to suggest cinnamon has in vivo anti-cancer properties.
May Improve Cognitive Function
Cinnamon might also boost brain function and cognitive health. Notably, cinnamon is shown to support memory function in animal studies.
In a study done on rats, scientists investigated the effect of cinnamon on memory. The authors found that consuming cinnamon led to better memory and recognition.
Cinnamon may affect cognitive function in a few different ways:
- Cinnamon contains antioxidants and other phytochemicals that can improve the brain’s ability to glucose for optimal function.
- It may reduce harmful factors such as oxidative stress, which can impact brain function.
- By reducing insulin resistance, cinnamon may reduce certain brain changes caused by Alzheimer’s disease and help to improve the brain’s insulin signaling.
Can Help with Bloating and Inflammation
Last but certainly not the least, cinnamon tea may help to reduce bloating and reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties found in cinnamon are connected to compounds known as 2′-hydroxycinnamaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamic acid.
One study found that the anti-inflammatory properties of 2′-hydroxycinnamaldehyde come from its ability to stop the production of nitric oxide, a harmful and inflammatory molecule. It’s important to note that this study was an in vitro study and not an in vivo study.
However, one in vivo study suggested that consuming cinnamon leads to a significant improvement in GI symptoms in individuals with dyspepsia.
Can You Drink Cinnamon Tea Every Day?
While cinnamon tea can be beneficial for your overall health, it may not be a good tea to consume large amounts of on a daily basis. This is because a specific compound in Cassia cinnamon called coumarin may be hepatotoxic, or toxic to the liver.
This compound can damage the liver by increasing levels of total serum bilirubin, reducing levels of prothrombin time, and leading to necrosis of the liver. Excessive consumption of cinnamon can also lead to elevated oxalate levels in some cases.
To be safe, experts recommend a daily cinnamon intake of less than 0.1 milligram of cinnamon per kilogram body weight.
Who Should Not Drink Cinnamon Tea?
Due to the potential effects of cinnamon on the liver, you may want to limit or avoid consuming cinnamon if you have or are at risk for developing any liver condition.
You may also want to avoid cinnamon consumption, or at the very least be cautious about how much you consume, if you’re prone to kidney stones. Cinnamon can also interact with certain medications such as statins, leading to unwanted side effects.
If any of these scenarios apply to you, you will definitely want to discuss cinnamon consumption with your doctor or a registered dietitian before you start drinking cinnamon tea.
When Should You Drink Cinnamon Tea?
While you’ll want to stick to caffeinated drinks such as coffee and black tea in the morning, you can enjoy cinnamon tea at any time of day! Try adding a cup of cinnamon tea to your afternoon routine at work, or use it as a relaxing bedtime beverage in the evening.
If you’re looking to reap the benefits of cinnamon to help improve your postprandial glucose response, you may also consider drinking your cinnamon tea around meal times.
When it comes to adding new foods to your diet, find the time that works for you, your unique body, and your schedule!
What are Some Other Ways to Add Cinnamon to Your Diet?
Not a fan of tea? No problem—here are some other ways to consume more cinnamon and get some of these great health benefits:
- Try including a pinch of cinnamon to savory dishes.Whether it’s a sweet potato casserole or even a hearty pot roast, including a teaspoon of cinnamon to the mix can add a unique rich flavor to your meal.
- Add cinnamon powder or extract to your smoothies. Try blending simple ingredients like vanilla protein powder, bananas, cinnamon powder, peanut butter, and almond milk for a delicious and blood sugar-friendly snack.
- Use cinnamon as your finishing touch. If you’re making a Greek yogurt parfait, try topping it off with some cinnamon powder for a touch of sweetness instead of sugar or honey.
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Heather is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN, LDN), subject matter expert, and technical writer, with a master's degree in nutrition science from Bastyr University. She has a specialty in neuroendocrinology and has been working in the field of nutrition—including nutrition research, education, medical writing, and clinical integrative and functional nutrition—for over 15 years.