Which variety of cinnamon is the healthiest?

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually five (rather than four) botanical species of the bark of the tree commonly known as cinnamon. These species are as follows:

  • Cinnamomum Cassia

  • Cinnamomum Verum

  • Cinnamomum Burmannii

  • Cinnamomum Loureiroi

  • Cinnamomum Citriodorum

The last type of cinnamon, cinnamomum citriodorum, is an often forgotten type of cinnamon because it is quite rare. It was declared an endangered species over 20 years ago and is certainly even more rare today.

Which variety of cinnamon is the most popular and common?

Cassia cinnamon is the type of cinnamon that you will usually see in the spice aisle of the supermarket and in food products/supplements when the label just says 'cinnamon'. It is the cheapest and most widely available of the five types, so many manufacturers use it to keep costs down. It is extracted from the bark of an evergreen tree found in southern China and ground into a powder. Unfortunately, it is also the least safe variety...but more on that later.

What are the health benefits of cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, especially in extract form. Its polyphenols, namely rutin, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin are responsible for most of its health-promoting effects. All types of cinnamon contain polyphenols, but their content varies. In this research species-specific phytochemical profiles and antidiabetic properties of different types of cinnamon (except lemon cinnamon, which is very difficult to obtain) were analysed.

The study concluded that: "cinnamon exhibits antihyperglycaemic properties, but the effects are species specific, with the best overall properties observed for Ceylon cinnamon".

Cinnamon extract (made by concentrating the bark from its raw form) has not only been shown to naturally lower blood sugar levels, but has also been proven in the medical literature to normalise cholesterol levels. This meta-research on the therapeutic use of cinnamon in patients with type 2 diabetes showed that cinnamon lowered cholesterol, reduced LDL-C and reduced triglycerides, while raising HDL-C ('good' cholesterol).

Toxins in cinnamon.

The main reason why Ceylon cinnamon, commonly known as 'true cinnamon', is considered the healthiest type of cinnamon is because it has essentially zero toxins. All forms of cinnamon contain a compound called coumarin, which is toxic to humans. But their levels vary drastically. Cassia cinnamon is so rich in coumarin that even regular consumption of this spice in moderate doses is probably harmful. This research from BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal concluded as follows:

"1 kg of [cassia cinnamon] powder contains approximately 2.1-4.4 g of coumarin, which means that 1 teaspoon of [cassia cinnamon] powder would contain approximately 5.8 - 12.1 mg of coumarin. This is above the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for coumarin of 0.1 mg/kg body weight/day recommended by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)."

Another research showed that Cinnamomum Loureiroi, also known as Saigon cinnamon, contained "significant amounts" of coumarin, which is partly why we found Ceylon cinnamon superior.

The study found that Ceylon cinnamon contains 'hardly any' coumarins. The study refers to ceylon cinnamon (cinnamomum verum) as cinnamomum zeylanicum, but these are actually two scientific terms for the same type of cinnamon. This research on Cinnamon has a great explanation of the difference in name: "The first is Cinnamomum verum, translated as 'true cinnamon'. It is also called Sri Lankan or Ceylon cinnamon. Sri Lanka is the only regular supplier of oils from the bark and leaves of true cinnamon. The older botanical name C. Verum, Cinnamomum zeylancium, comes from the older Sri Lankan name Ceylon."

So which variety of cinnamon is the healthiest and safest to use?

Ceylon cinnamon contains all the health-promoting properties of cinnamon, but due to the minimal content of coumarin it does not have any toxic properties and therefore is the healthiest type of cinnamon. So it will not be a surprise to learn that in FemiCanna Beauty we have used CO2 extract from organic Ceylon cinnamon. So you can take the recommended daily dose without any worries and enjoy the combined power of cannabinoids, Lycomato and cinnamon extract.

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