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Is Ceylon Cinnamon Safe?

Kindi Lantz January 30, 2020

Public Concern Of Cinnamon Has People Wondering If Ceylon Is The Best Option

With the ridiculous “Cinnamon Challenge” popularized by teenagers finding its way into news stories in the past several years, many folks grew leary of cinnamon products, whether Ceylon or Cassia.

Rightly so, for this adolescent challenge, someone consumes an entire spoonful of cinnamon at once. It can be very dangerous due to the fact that the cinnamon is dry and difficult to swallow. Instead, it coats the throat and those partaking will likely find themselves coughing, gagging, or even inhaling the spice, which can lead to a collapsed lung and other breathing difficulties. 

As with just about anything, moderation is key. 

Clearly, a potent spice used a teaspoon at a time in baking recipes, probably isn’t meant to be heaped onto a tablespoon and swallowed all at once, but cinnamon seems to be getting an even worse reputation because the challenge has led to widespread knowledge that cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a naturally occurring substance that has been noted to lead to liver complications when consumed in large amounts. Those who have done further research will have discovered that coumarin is significantly lower in Ceylon cinnamon than the more widely distributed Cassia variety. Still, it’s only natural to wonder if ANY cinnamon is safe for consumption. 

So let’s set the record straight. 

Is Ceylon Cinnamon Safe?

The FDA claims it is. Both Ceylon and Cassia cinnamons are recognized as being safe for their intended use. But cinnamon (all cinnamon) contains coumarin so it’s best to take caution. According to Healthline“the daily tolerable intake of coumarin is 0.05 mg per pound (0.1 mg per kg) of body weight”. Cassia, the most commonly used cinnamon variety contains anywhere between 5 and 16 mg of coumarin. In most instances, this version of the spice will be fine to use in your recipe. But, for those who are concerned about liver toxicity, Ceylon cinnamon should be considered as a replacement. Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of Coumarin, making it a much more acceptable larger quantities. 

Should I Stop Using Cinnamon?

Many medical studies have been conducted relating to the safety of cinnamon and have deduced cinnamon to be, not only a safe substance for reasonable consumption but also beneficial for many reasons. Cinnamon is thought to have a plethora of health benefits, including lowering blood sugar, reducing risk for heart disease, providing antioxidants, and improving neuro health. Whether or not you decide to cut all cinnamon from your diet is up to you, but science-backed evidence shows that the inclusion of a small amount of cinnamon in your daily routine may lead to a healthier version of yourself. If you want to err on the side of caution, though, just use Ceylon cinnamon rather than Cassia. You’ll get all of the suggested benefits and significantly lower levels of that dreaded coumarin. 

Does Ceylon Cinnamon Taste Different Than Cassia Cinnamon?

While both Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon reign from the bark of a Cinnamomum tree, they are of a different species: Cinnamomum Verum (Ceylon) and Cinnamomum Cassia, respectively. Cassia cinnamon is what you will commonly find in grocery stores. It is darker to the eye and is spicier in flavor. Ceylon cinnamon, on the other hand, possesses a milder flavor with sweet, floral notes. 

Try using Ceylon cinnamon in your next dessert recipe—you’ll love the delicate flavor it adds!