Cinnamon Tea: Benefits for Heart and Immune Health Plus Potential Side Effects
Cinnamon is a beloved spice that makes drinking tea even more enjoyable. Adding this woody spice to hot water creates a tea that is sweetly aromatic and delectably spiced.
Cinnamon tea is not only delicious, it's also good for you. Cinnamon tea has been used to accelerate weight loss, improve immunity, and prevent chronic disease. Discover everything cinnamon tea has to offer and pour yourself a cup of spicy goodness.
What Is Cinnamon Tea?
Cinnamon tea is an herbal tea or tisane made by infusing cinnamon bark in hot water. The cinnamon bark generally comes in the form of cinnamon sticks, but the tea can also be made using crushed bark in cinnamon tea bags. Cinnamon tea can also be brewed using cinnamon powder and cinnamon extract.
This tea is popular around the world where regional variations change the flavor profile of the tea. In Chile, the tea is known as "té con canela" where a cinnamon stick is infused in hot water along with black tea leaves. In Korea, cinnamon tea is called "gyepi-cha" and it is mixed with ginger tea. Korean cinnamon tea uses only bark from the Chinese or Cassia cinnamon—known scientifically as Cinnamomum cassia. The Korean tea is sweetened with honey or sugar and served with a garnish of jujubes.
Cinnamon can be made from a variety of different cinnamon species, but the most common is known as Cinnamomum Verum or Ceylon cinnamon. The tree is native to Sri Lanka and only the inner cinnamon bark is used to brew herbal teas. Another popular favorite is Saigon cinnamon, which is cultivated in Vietnam.
Cinnamon is a woody spice that lends a sweet and savory flavor to tea infusions. The tea emits an incredible aroma that entices the senses and offers a warming effect. The tea is light golden to deep brown in color when brewed. It features hints of honey, resin, and spice from the first sip to the last drop.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon Tea
1. Chock Full of Antioxidants
Cinnamon tea, like many herbal teas, is packed with antioxidants that offer health benefits (1). Cinnamon bark contains catechins and procyanidins that boast antioxidant activity. These antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Free radicals have been linked to chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer as well as premature aging. Cinnamon bark also contains polyphenols and flavonoids that have free radical-scavenging properties.
2. Protects Heart Health
Consuming cinnamon tea may help lower your risk of heart disease. Today, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading killers in America. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in cinnamon tea may help to prevent heart problems caused by high cholesterol and triglycerides.
A study published in Diabetes Care found that cinnamon tea can improve blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity (2). The study consisted of 60 individuals with type 2 diabetes. The participants were divided into six groups: three received a placebo while three received varying doses of cinnamon for a period of 40 days. Results showed that all three cinnamon groups experienced a decrease in lipid levels, total cholesterol, and bad LDL cholesterol levels. The placebo groups demonstrated no noticeable changes.
3. May Protect Brain Health
Recent studies show that cinnamon tea benefits may also include a protection of overall health and mental capacity. Drinking cinnamon tea may help protect the brain from neurological disease such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that Ceylon cinnamon inhibits the emergence of certain hallmarks of Alzheimer's including tau. Tau are proteins that become defective and lead to symptoms including dementia and improper chemical signals in the brain (3).
An animal study published in 2014 also found that cinnamon helps protect neurons and improve motor function in mice with Parkinson's. The cinnamon helped to protect the production of dopamine, which helped to normalize neurotransmitters (4).
4. May Decrease Inflammation
Cinnamon tea may help decrease inflammation, which can cause a host of health problems. Inflammation can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems including blood clots and heart attack. Inflammation can also cause or worsen pain symptoms and damage human tissue.
A study published in Food & Function found that Ceylon cinnamon was one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods. Researchers pointed to cinnamic aldehyde as the main agent behind these health benefits (5).
5. Boosts Immunity
Like many teas, cinnamon tea can help boost the immune system and fend off pathogens that can make you sick. Studies show that cinnamon can inhibit the growth and spread of bacteria including salmonella and candida albicans. This tea boasts antibacterial properties that can help fend off bacteria that cause bad breath as well as the common cold and flu (6).
Side Effects of Cinnamon Tea
Cinnamon tea is safe when consumed in mild and moderate amounts. Excessive consumption of hot cinnamon tea can cause side effects including mouth sores and throat irritation.
Cinnamon tea can also cause allergic reaction in people who are allergic to the cinnamon tree. Stop use immediately and seek advice from a healthcare provider if you experience symptoms including itching, swelling of the tongue, or difficulty breathing. People who are allergic to cinnamaldehyde should also avoid drinking this tea.
Cinnamon tea may interact with certain medications. If you take medications for diabetes, blood sugar problems, or heart disease, check with your doctor before drinking cinnamon tea. Some species of cinnamon also contain high amounts of coumarin that may cause liver failure. Do not drink cinnamon tea if you are on medication for a liver disease. Do not drink cinnamon tea if you take medications that can affect liver health.
Go Spicy With Cinnamon Tea
Whether you choose to brew cinnamon tea using ground cinnamon, tea bags, or dried cinnamon sticks, you're sure to enjoy the spicy flavor and reap the health benefits.
Be inspired by the Koreans and put together a tea recipe with ginger and cinnamon or go for South American tradition and blend black tea leaves into your cinnamon stick tea. The sweet and spicy flavor of cinnamon tea pairs well with fruits, herbs, and true teas to make a delicious hot tea or iced tea.