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This Sweet, Christmas-ey Spice Has Side-Effects You Never Knew About

Cinnamon this, cinnamon that. Yes, of course cinnamon makes everything nicer, but a coin has two sides.

Cinnamon rolls, bread, tea, cookies, waffles, lattes, and puddings; biryani, and shahi pulao – the best of food across the world has cinnamon, and why shouldn’t it? Cinnamon is not only fragrant and flavourful; it’s also known to be good for health.Here’s how cinnamon is beneficial for you:
  • Loaded with antioxidants.
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Helps lower blood sugar levels.
  • Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Has anti-ageing properties.
  • Is good for teeth and gums.
  • Boosts alertness and memory.
  • Helps ease PMS in women.
But as in every story, this little cinnamon-story also comes with a twist – a condition. Noted experts recommend an intake of not more than 5 grams per day. Along with flavonoids and cinnamaldehyde (which are the good health-promoting contents of cinnamon), cinnamon also contains coumarin, which is known to be toxic in relatively high doses. Here’s why your favourite dalchini may not seem so nice anymore:
  • Toxicity – A continuous cinnamon usage for over 6 months will cause a build-up of coumarin and other toxins in the body. In fact, doctors suggest taking a 1 month break from regular cinnamon use every 6 weeks. This will allow your body time to void itself of these toxins, and rejuvenate.
  • Premature labour – Cinnamon is known to induce uterine contractions and premature labour in pregnant women. So while cinnamon provides great relief from uterine cramps during menstruation, cinnamon oils and teas are believed to be better avoided during gestation.
  • Allergies – A lot of people remain allergic to cinnamon without realising it. For people who are allergic, a slightly higher intake of cinnamon can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, upset stomach, swelling in the hands, or even anaphylactic shock. But to be fair, these are possible reactions of any allergy; this point is just to state that cinnamon can cause it too.
  • Skin irritation – Cinnamon isn’t only used as a spice. In fact, another popular derivative of it is cinnamon oil, which is equally favourable for a number of reasons.  But when used in a concentrated quantity, it can cause an acute burning sensation, much like chilli powder. It is advisable to wear gloves while using cinnamon oil.
  • Increased heart rate – Too much cinnamon can be fatal for heart patients, as it is known to increase the heart rate and thin the blood. But this danger only exists when the usage is in more than a 2 per cent concentration.
  • Body heat – Cinnamon is great for winters, as it is known to increase body temperature, just like alcohol, black pepper, lobster, coffee, garlic, and ginger. But it is better avoided in women going through menopause, and in extremely hot weather.
The take home message here is that as long as you’re not overdoing it, you can happily enjoy an occasional cup of cinnamon tea or a roll without worrying, and absorb its benefits.

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