Fake vs Real Cinnamon

Monday, October 12, 2015


I love cinnamon. The taste of cinnamon mmmm....so warm and spicy. The aroma of cinnamon takes me to wonderful places in my mind. Bake shops, my grandmas kitchen, my parents kitchen and of course it is a wonderful aroma of Christmas. I use cinnamon a lot in my cooking and baking. It is a must in my homemade almond milk and my Hot Toddys. (blog post on that coming soon)

When I learned that there is a "fake" and a "real" cinnamon (per se) I was........well, I was obviously confused. The cinnamon we buy from the grocery store (the fake stuff) is Cassia or Cinnamomum Aromaticum, also commonly known as Chinese cinnamon. It is cultivated in China and Indonesia. Ceylon cinnamon (the real stuff) is native to Sri Lanka, Madagascar and the Seychelles and sourced from the plant Cinnamomum Zeylanicum.

Cinnamon, whether cassia or ceylon is well known for its many health benefits.

  • strong antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • beneficial effects on lowering your blood sugar levels (diabetics)
  • heart health
  • neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • weight loss
  • muscle spasms
  • vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, loss of appetite, and erectile dysfunction (sorry couldn't tell ya if that's true or not, but thought I'd include it). 

So let's get to the point of this blog post.

Cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a naturally occurring substance 
with strong blood-thinning properties. 

The reason fake cinnamon can be bad for you is that large amounts of coumarin over a prolonged period of time can be toxic and cause serious health issues to the liver and kidneys. Cassia cinnamon, which is 90% of the cinnamon sold in stores, contains much higher levels of this. The amount of coumarin in ceylon cinnamon is only 0.0004%, compared to 5% found in cassia cinnamon. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry tested cinnamon commercially available in the U.S. and found "substantial amounts" of coumarin in cassia cinnamon, but only trace amounts of coumarin in ceylon cinnamon. The U.S. FDA considers cassia and ceylon cinnamon safe for human consumption. (that's all they say about it) Some countries have enforced a limit on the amount of cassia cinnamon used in foods and suggested a minimum daily intake. Organizations like the European Food Safety Authority have recommended no more than 0.1 milligrams of daily coumarin intake from food per 2.2 pounds of body weight. For a person weighing 150 pounds, this recommendation translates to about 7 milligrams of coumarin. These numbers show how it would be possible for a person consuming a lot of cassia cinnamon to increase their risk of potential toxicity problems. 

I personally only use ceylon cinnamon because I ingest cinnamon daily, up to 1 teaspoon or so. Some studies have found one teaspoon of cassia cinnamon to contain between 5-12 milligrams of coumarin. Another interesting tid bit on cinnamon. Some people who have adverse reactions to cassia (fake) cinnamon, do not have those reactions when they use the real cinnamon, ceylon. 
You can visually tell the difference between fake and real cinnamon sticks. The powdered and ground cinnamon, you will have a hard time visually telling the difference. Ceylon cinnamon will have a more mild, sweet taste without so much bitter after taste like cassia. If you look at your current bottle of cinnamon it may or may not say more than just "Cinnamon".  So my Dash of Wisdom to you on cinnamon is; if you are consuming a considerable amount of it, you may want to purchase the "real cinnamon", ceylon cinnamon.

I purchase my ceylon cinnamon on-line. organic ground ceylon cinnamon


  1. This was good to know. We like cinnamon in our house too. I read my bottle of organic cinnamon and it didn't say which kind it is. So I assume not the good kind. Our next purchase will be the good kind. Thanks for the info.

    1. Your welcome. I love to share good information that we as consumers usually don't know.

    2. Your welcome. I love to share good information that we as consumers usually don't know.