Cinnamon oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 9:2 min

Cinnamon oil is a very valuable essential oil that can be obtained from the bark of various cinnamon trees.

Name Cinnamon bark oil
Lat. Name Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum ceylanicum
Synonyms Cinnamon, Cinnamon bark, Cassia
Origin Sri Lanka
Price per 10ml 7,50

There are two different types of cinnamon essential oils: first, cinnamon bark oil, which is obtained from true cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum), and second, cinnamon cassia oil that comes from the cinnamon cassia (Cinnamomum cassia). There is also cinnamon leaf oil, which - as the name suggests - is obtained from the leaves of Cinnamomum verum. It is a colourless to slightly yellowish liquid with a fine smell of cinnamon.

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Psychological impact

The light scent of cinnamon oil is calming to the mind. We usually associate this scent with Christmas. For centuries, cinnamon oil was said to have strong aphrodisiac properties. It is thought to stimulate senses of pleasure and the desire for company. Unfortunately, it has not yet been revealed scientifically whether this is caused directly by the cinnamon fragrance or the association with the festive season.

A study by Phillip Zoladz, a student at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, examined the effects of scents on cerebral performance of humans. He assigned various tasks to two different groups, one group being required to chew cinnamon gum, while the other, control, group was not.

It turned out that the group that was allowed to chew the cinnamon gum showed increased memory, finer judgement and better concentration.

Alzheimer's

Cinnamon is also said to help specifically against Alzheimer's by reducing the deposits on the cerebral nerves that are responsible for Alzheimer's. The study was published by the University of California in 2009 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Physical effect

Cinnamon has many positive effects on the body, due to its powerful ingredients, but it can also be harmful to health under certain circumstances. As Paracelsus said: '' The dose makes the poison. ''

Cinnamon oil has strong insecticidal properties - some substances found in cinnamon can eradicate insects, even in very low concentrations. Its antibacterial properties have also proven, and used in traditional medicine for ages. Cinnamon oil can therefore be used against a variety of physical ailments.

Clear skin

The beneficial effect that cinnamon has on complexion can be attributed to several factors. On the one hand, the cinnamon oil contains a lot of antioxidants, which protects the skin from ageing rapidly. Cinnamon is particularly beneficial for smokers who are exposed to increased amounts of free radicals from cigarette smoke.

Cinnamon also promotes blood circulation, which is why it is used in many cosmetic products. Increased perfusion of the skin increases the skin's ability to regenerate itself and its cells. The skin is rejuvenated.

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Diabetes

Modern research indicates that cinnamon is particularly suitable for diabetics. Dr. Bärbel Mang's dissertation at the university of hanover exposed the effects of cinnamon cassia on the glucose metabolism of non-insulin-dependent diabetics.

She was able to prove that the active ingredients contained in the cinnamon stimulate the metabolism in the body, in a general sense. Consequently, the pancreas is able to produce more insulin and thereby break down more sugar in the blood. Diabetics who are in the earlier phases of the disease, and whose pancreases are still functional, can therefore be spared the regular insulin injections, at least for a period of time.

A publication in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003 confirmed these research results. In this study, 6 test groups were formed from patients with Diabetes type II. 3 of the 6 groups received a daily dose of cinnamon, while the other 3 groups formed placebo groups. A significant decrease in the level of glucose in the blood could be demonstrated after only 20 days with the daily intake of cinnamon. Furthermore, the patient's cholesterol level and the level of triglycerides in the blood also decreased.

However, no improvement was found in the placebo groups. Another 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that diabetes lowers blood sugar by also delaying gastric emptying. As a result, the body is not flooded with excessive amounts of glucose all at once, and the pancreas is not overloaded.

Cinnamon oil for weight loss

Due to increased metabolism - caused by cinnamon intake - the body is able to break down excess fat more quickly. If the blood sugar level are high enough, the body does not attack its own fat deposits because it receives enough energy from blood sugar. If the blood sugar levels drops due to cinnamon, the body receives the signals lack of energy. As a result, the body begins to salvage its reserves and burn fat. Cinnamon also promotes thermogenesis: internal heat production. Increased temperatures in the body also increases the metabolism - a dual effect towards burning fat.

Cancer

A 2010 study by Indian scientists led by Soumya J Koppikar found that cassia cinnamon can cause cell death of cervical cancers. German researchers from the University of Regensburg also found that the high content of coumarin in cinnamon can significantly reduce the accumulation of lung metastases and that various types of prostate cancer can be inhibited.

Delayed menstruation

Cinnamon is also said to have a steadying effect if menstrual cycles become inconsistent. If menstruation is absent for several weeks, cinnamon can promote the menstruation with its anticoagulant properties. In addition, cinnamon can help directly against menstrual cramps and pains.

Colds and flu

Owing to cinnamon's strong antibacterial properties and circulation promoting effects, it can successfully treat colds and flu infections.

Cinnamon and the digestive system

Cinnamon stimulates the stomach to produce more gastric juice. This is helpful for the classical upset stomach. Furthermore, cinnamon also helps against a serious loss of appetite and, due to its anti-inflammatory effects, is ideal for problems such as gastritis.

Side effects

Cinnamon oil should always be used with care, as an overdose can lead to serious side effects. Cinnamon's high cinnamaldehyde content can cause severe allergic reactions on the skin. Even a mediocre dose of cinnamon oil can overly stimulate the nervous system, which manifests in an increase in bowel activity and heart rate. This condition is followed by drowsiness and depressive conditions.

Under no circumstances should cinnamon be used during pregnancy, as an excessive dose can lead to miscarriages. Even when suffering from intestinal ulcers, cinnamon oil should be avoided. Cinnamon generally has a high allergic potential. Workers in the cinnamon industry report severe allergic reactions of the respiratory tract, which may lead to respiratory arrest.

Applications

Cinnamon and cinnamon bark oil can be extremely beneficial, but you should always pay careful attention to the dosage. With cinnamon oil in particular there is a risk of overdosing because it has a very high concentration of active ingredients.

Never apply pure cinnamon oil to the skin, but rather in a very dilute form. First, test on a small region of the skin whether the oil will be well tolerated. To use cinnamon oil as a bath additive, be careful not to add too much of it to the bath water. Slowly add the oil, and see how much you can take.

Cinnamon is also an excellent mouthwash because it has a pleasant odour and kills excess germs in the mouth. 1-2 drops dissolved in warm water are sufficient. If you want to use the cinnamon oil as a fragrance oil, you can heat it like any other essential oil in a fragrance lamp or diffuser as normal. However, if you feel a burning sensation in the lungs or shortness of breath, stop the process and ventilate the room well.

Cinnamon oil is less suitable for intake because it has a very high concentration of coumarin and cinnamaldehyde. While these ingredients have potent medical benefits, they can also lead to unhealthy consequences, as both substances are known to trigger strong allergic reactions

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Chemical composition

Cinnamon oil also contains substances typically found in other essential oils such as phenols, di-tri- and sesquiterpenes and some ketones. Common ingredients in cinnamon are:

Cinnamon aldehyde is the flavouring component in cinnamon oil. It is used as a flavouring or for its smell. Cinnamaldehyde also has a very high allergic potential. It is the reason why many people are allergic to cinnamon.

Cinnamic acid also smells of cinnamon, but is less allergenic than cinnamon aldehyde. The human body is able to produce cinnamic acid itself because it needs it for nutrient exchanges within the cells. Cinnamic acid acts as a mediator in the so-called cinnamic acid route. This is responsible for oxygen uptake within the cell.

Eugenol is responsible for the cinnamon oil's powerful high antibacterial (against bacteria) and antifungal (against fungi) effect.

Cinnamon varieties

Cinnamon oil is obtained from various types of cinnamon and parts of plants. There are currently 3 different oils on the market.

Cinnamomum verum

True cinnamon oil is slightly viscous, smells finely of cinnamon, has a sweet to overpowering taste and changes colour with age. It is mainly produced on the island of Sri Lanka. Its main ingredient is cinnamaldehyde.

Cinnamomum cassia

Cinnamon cassia oil from China is less viscous than true cinnamon oil, smells less of cinnamon and burns less on intake. It has a reddish colour, given to it by the main ingredient cinnamic acid.

Cinnamon leaf oil

Cinnamon leaf oil has an extremely aromatic scent of cinnamon, tastes pungent, burns, and has a very acidic pH.

Manufacturing

Cinnamon oil is obtained by steam distillation from the fresh bark of younger branches. For Cinnamomum verum, about 1l of pure cinnamon oil is obtained from 200 kg of bark. The yield of cassia cinnamon oil is about 0.7%: slightly more.

History

Cinnamon was said to have been around in 3000 BCE. Used in China as a spice, it is one of the oldest spices in the world. Vasco da Gama eventually brought it to Europe. For centuries it was considered the ultimate luxury item. It was sometimes more expensive than gold and was the most expensive spice traded alongside pepper. Owning cinnamon was considered a status symbol due to its rarity.

Botany

The true cinnamon tree is a rather small tree with a maximum height of 10 m. Its bark is divided into two and consists of a protective outer layer and a strongly aromatic-scented inner layer. The buds of the cinnamon tree are fluffy and hairy. Early leaves are red and then change colour to green with age. The fruits are dark blue to black.

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