A cinnamon stick, or small roll of dried cinnamon bark, is edible. Some people consume them raw, while others use them as ingredients in various dishes.
However, most people rather crush them than chew on them whole.
Like many other spices, Cinnamon contains different chemicals and nutrients that can be good for your health.
Polyphenols, antioxidants, and even unusual molecules like cinnamaldehyde, citral, and cinnamate are among the nutrients found in Cinnamon.
Ground cinnamon or whole cinnamon sticks come from the bark of trees in the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon has been used for medicinal purposes for quite some time and is also widely used as a spice.
Cinnamon was used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat the common cold. A doctor’s approval is required before consuming cinnamon sticks or any other form of Cinnamon due to the risk of adverse reactions.
High coumarin levels in some cinnamon products have been linked to liver damage and negative medication interactions.
Cinnamon Stick Consumption
According to research, Cinnamon may help people with type 2 diabetes (1). It can increase glucose absorption, improve insulin sensitivity in fat and muscle tissues, boost liver glycogen synthesis, and slow stomach emptying.
Even though you can eat a cinnamon stick, it is wise to be cautious while consuming.
This is because it can be dangerous to the human body when consumed in large doses. The coumarin in some varieties of Cinnamon can be harmful to the liver and lead to undesirable medication interactions (2).
These negative effects are due to the chemical molecule cinnamaldehyde, found in all types of Cinnamon (3).
While preliminary evidence suggests that Cinnamon may help with glucose management, those with diabetes should still adhere to their doctor-prescribed treatment plan, as Cinnamon’s benefits are not substantial enough to serve as a substitute for medication.
Antioxidants like those found in Cinnamon are crucial to a healthy diet because they help to neutralize free radicals before they may damage healthy cells in the body.
Additional benefits of cinnamaldehyde include its ability to inhibit the expansion of cancerous cells and its antimicrobial effects (3).
Chemical compounds in Cinnamon have shown promise in halting the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, lowering inflammatory markers in rheumatoid arthritis, and preventing arterial hardening (arteriosclerosis) (4,5).
What Happens When You Eat Cinnamon Stick Excessively?
There are various potential negative outcomes associated with consuming excessive amounts of Cinnamon.
Too much Cassia cinnamon may cause the following symptoms:
Potential Liver Impairment
Ceylon cinnamon only has minute traces of coumarin, while crushed Cassia cinnamon can have 2.6 grams of coumarin (6).
Daily safe doses of coumarin are roughly 5 mg for a 59-kg individual (7). As a result, consuming even a single teaspoon of cassia cinnamon daily could be dangerous.
Too much coumarin in the diet has been linked to liver toxicity and damage (8).
Potentially Raise Cancer Danger
In excess, the coumarin found in Cassia cinnamon has been linked to an increased risk of cancer (9). It can lead to malignant growth in the lungs, liver, and kidneys.
Experts believe prolonged exposure to coumarin causes DNA damage and increases the likelihood of developing cancer (10).
Potentially Result in Mouth Ulcers
Cinnamon has been linked to mouth ulcers.
Large doses of cinnamaldehyde, a chemical found in Cinnamon, can cause allergic reactions (11). Saliva prevents chemicals from staying in touch with the mouth for too long; therefore, only large doses of the spice seem to trigger this reaction.
The patient might experience white patches in the mouth, swelling of the tongue or gums, a burning or itchy sensation, and a tingling sensation due to a cinnamaldehyde allergy.
Furthermore, those who use excessive amounts of cinnamon oil or cinnamon-flavored chewing gums, which can contain more cinnamaldehyde, appear more prone to mouth sores.
Low Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels are dangerous and should be treated. Untreated, it can cause various complications, including diabetes, heart disease, and more.
The power of Cinnamon to reduce blood sugar levels is well-known (12). The hormone insulin, which aids in removing sugar from the blood, has been found to produce effects similar to those of the spice.
Although Cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar, consuming too much of it might be dangerous. There’s a risk of fatigue, dizziness, and perhaps passing out (13).
Potential Drug Interactions
Most drugs do not interact negatively with modest cinnamon consumption.
However, if you are also taking medication for diabetes, heart disease, or liver illness, you should be careful not to take too much of it.
Cinnamon can interact with different drugs, amplifying their effects or causing more severe negative effects (14).
Excessive cinnamon consumption has been linked to an increased risk of liver damage in people using drugs that can harm the liver, such as paracetamol, acetaminophen, and statins (15).
The hypoglycemic effects of diabetes medication could counteract the blood sugar-lowering effects of Cinnamon.
There Could Be Serious Consequences If You Eat Dry Cinnamon
Numerous people have tried to ingest huge amounts of dry spice to complete the cinnamon challenge.
To complete this challenge, you must consume one tablespoon of dry, ground cinnamon in one minute or less. The challenge, while seemingly innocuous, actually poses serious risks.
Dry Cinnamon can irritate the esophagus, throat, and lungs and cause you to gag or choke if swallowed (16). Also, it can cause long-term lung damage (16).
The fibers in the spice are too long for the lungs to digest. It may be inhaled and induce aspiration pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs.
Without treatment, aspiration pneumonia can cause irreversible scarring and even collapse of the lungs.
Is There Any Benefit to Consuming Cinnamon Sticks?
Cinnamon sticks have a pleasant aroma and taste. Moreover, they also have therapeutic properties. Consider the following advantages of cinnamon sticks:
Works against Cancer
According to research, antioxidant and anticancer qualities have been attributed to Cinnamon (17). Antioxidants mitigate the harm done by free radicals to the organism.
As opposed to most molecules, free radicals have unpaired electrons. Unpaired electrons are a hallmark of free radicals, which sets them apart from most other types of compounds.
Helps Boost “Good” Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are the two most common types of cholesterol. The protein content of HDL makes it denser than the fatty content of LDL.
The term “bad cholesterol” is often contrasted with LDL. On the other hand, HDL is the “good cholesterol.”
Preliminary evidence suggests that consuming even a small amount of cinnamon daily can enhance good cholesterol profiles and cardiac health (18).
Has Anti-Inflammation Properties
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties (19).
Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory effects are significant. However, they are not quite as potent as those of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
The anti-inflammatory effects will be amplified if you combine it with other foods.
Evidence indicates that the anti-inflammatory effects of Cinnamon may have a positive impact on those with arthritis (20).
Arthritis is so prevalent. Cinnamon has been proposed as therapeutic in this regard. Therefore, a mixture of Cinnamon and honey is used in southern Nigerian folk medicine.
Can Control Blood Sugar Levels
Potentially, Cinnamon can control blood sugar levels (21).
Researchers have looked into whether or not Cinnamon can help people with type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes.
The body of a person with type 2 diabetes is unable to utilize insulin effectively. Therefore, the patient’s blood sugar levels rise.
Has Advantages against Bacteria and Fungi
Add some cinnamon to your diet if you want to have an easier time fighting off bacterial infections and viruses.
You can use the classic household cure of Cinnamon for fighting off colds and flu to boost your immune system.
Results in Better Glucose Management
Cinnamon includes an enzyme that promotes a healthy equilibrium between glucose and insulin to prevent dangerous spikes in blood sugar (22).
Acts as a Genuine Antioxidant
Cinnamon has antibacterial properties (23). It has high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds, including polyphenols that can benefit the human body.
Accelerates Heart Rate
Components in Cinnamon speed up the body’s metabolic rate and improve blood flow by making the blood thinner (24). Cinnamon is often included in a weight-loss diet because of this effect.
Final Word – When Does Eating Cinnamon Become Too Much?
Eating cinnamon sticks regularly may lead to undesirable health effects. Excessive coumarin intake causes liver damage and adverse medication reactions.
If you have hypoglycemia or are using blood-thinning drugs, you should not eat large amounts of Cinnamon. When consumed in large quantities, Cinnamon can cause dangerously low blood sugar.
On the other hand, people also ask if it is safe to eat cinnamon sticks while expecting a baby. The answer is somewhat arguable.
Cinnamon is safe in small amounts, but you should always avoid excessive consumption of this spice, regardless of whether or not you are expecting it. Again, this is conditional on your health and any drugs you may take.