Cinnamon for many decades is best known as a spice (seasoning), sprinkled on lattes and toast. Interestingly, the bark of cinnamon tree can also be extracted and used as a foxy herb for a number of different conditions. Some herbalists say that it may work to help lower blood sugar in diabetics. Does it also work for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that is only found during pregnancy?
FAQs about cinnamon
This herb is a spice derived from the branches of trees that appertain to the genus called “Cinnamomum”, native to the Southeast Asia and South America. And there are two types of cinnamon;
- Cinnamomum aromaticum (Chinese or Cassia cinnamon), native to southern China.
- Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon), more expensive than Cassia cinnamon. It is often considered to be the real or true cinnamon.
Can you take cinnamon naturally from foods?
Today, it is an additive to countless foods. Even nowadays, it is regarded as the most popular spice after black pepper in the Europe and North America. Since cassia cinnamon is less expensive, it is easier to be found in foods than ceylon cinnamon.
Cinnamon has been used in food since 2000 BC. Even in Ancient Egypt, it was very highly prized. And in medieval times, medical practitioners used it to help treat a number of conditions (such as sore throats, coughing, and even arthritis).
What are health advantages from consuming cinnamon?
It’s thought that cinnamon can provide a number of different health advantages. Unfortunately, most of these claims are not confirmed yet by research.
Some studies suggest that a particular type of cinnamon, cinnamomum aromaticum, may help reduce blood sugar in diabetics. Unfortunately, other studies have not found this benefit.
The same goes for other benefits such as for treating yeast infections and lowering blood cholesterol. Studies for these benefits have been inclusive, too.
Furthermore, cinnamon has essential properties such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. But it is not clear yet what the implications are for people!
It seems that studies on cinnamon show mixed results. More evidence and research are required before we can conclusively conclude the effectiveness of cinnamon in improving health or treating particular health condition.
How much you should take it?
Since it is still an unproven treatment, there is no approved established dose of this herb. Some studies suggest that 1-6 grams of powder are safe. Other recommend not greater than 2-4 grams a day!
It’s important to avoid high doses of cinnamon since it contains coumarin. Very high coumarin in the body can hurt your liver.
Is cinnamon effective and safe for gestational diabetes?
In general, cinnamon (especially as a part of regular food only) is safe for most people and usually doesn’t cause side effects. However for some people, it may cause side effects such as skin irritation, allergic reaction, lips and mouth irritation.
Cinnamon may have an effect on lowering blood sugar. Is it safe for pregnant women with gestational diabetes?
Again, as long as you take it in cooking and foods, you can include it in diet for gestational diabetes. But cinnamon supplement is different matter. You should not take it in supplement while pregnant – the same goes for inhaling /consuming cinnamon oil! High doses of this herb in the body may cause involuntary contractions or other risks.
As mentioned before – the safe, established dose is not known yet. Even though you use it in foods or cooking, it’s also recommended to keep it minimal while pregnant (not more than 0.5 tsp a day or ask your registered dietitian for more advice).