Cinnamon Tea Benefits For Heart, Brain, and Immune Health
Cinnamon is a beloved spice that makes culinary dishes taste more vibrant and aromatic. The spice can also be used to brew a tasty tea that is invigorating and soothing. Cinnamon tea offers a delightful warming aroma with nutty notes and a hint of vanilla. Discover the benefits of cinnamon tea ranging from boosted immunity to decreased inflammation.
What Is Cinnamon Tea?
Cinnamon tea is made from the bark of the cinnamon tree. There are two main varieties of cinnamon that are used for tea and culinary purposes: Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as "true cinnamon" whereas Cassia cinnamon is known by the botanical name as Cassia Cinnamomum or the common names "Saigon cinnamon" and "Chinese cinnamon". Cinnamon is largely produced in Asia with Sri Lanka being one of the main cultivators.
Cinnamon tea is a delicious elixir that emits a spicy aroma and provides a warming sensation. The spice has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Cinnamon is also popular in autumn dishes and is a staple in holiday culinary treats.
Cinnamon tea offers a flavor profile that is mildly spicy with a warming finish. When infused in hot water, the tea brews into a pale brown hue and is often served with a slice of lemon or garnished with a clove of star anise or a cinnamon stick. The tea benefits from the additions of vanilla and honey.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon Tea
1. Decreases Inflammation
Cinnamon contains compounds that work to decreases inflammation, which may help people who suffer from chronic pain. A study published in Food & Function aimed to analyze the anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon.
Researchers found that two compounds — E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxycinnamaldehyde — demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory action. Researchers concluded that given the proper therapeutic concentrations, cinnamon may be beneficial in treating age-related inflammatory health problems such as arthritis (1).
2. Heart Health
Drinking cinnamon tea regularly may help to decrease the risk of heart disease thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of the spice. By decreasing inflammation, cinnamon helps to improve blood circulation, reducing the risk of blood clots and heart attack.
Cinnamon also offers beneficial effects when it comes to total cholesterol. A study published in Diabetes Care investigated the effects of cinnamon on 60 people with type 2 diabetes. The participants were divided into six groups and given either cinnamon or a placebo. The cinnamon study groups received either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon every day for a 40 day period. Researchers found that all three concentrations of cinnamon significantly reduced bad LDL cholesterol levels (2).
A meta-analysis published in the Annals of Family Medicine also took a look at the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar levels and heart disease risk factors. The systematic study reviewed ten randomized controlled trials and found that cinnamon consistently decreased LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels when taken daily. Lower blood sugar levels may help people who suffer from type 2 diabetes. Researchers also found that cinnamon helped to improve insulin sensitivity, which may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes (3).
3. Antioxidant Activity
Cinnamon tea contains high concentrations of antioxidants that are beneficial for health. Like true teas, cinnamon contains polyphenols that work to prevent free radicals — highly reactive cells that interact with healthy cells to create deterioration known as oxidative stress (4). Oxidative stress is the body's version of rust and has been linked to serious neurological disorders as well as premature aging.
4. Brain Health
Recent research shows that cinnamon may be beneficial in preventing neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Both of these diseases are degenerative, causing slow declines in faculties and mental cognition over time. The diseases tend to affect older populations and are the result of improper neurotransmitter and chemical production in the brain.
Tau is a protein that is considered a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease when present in larger than normal quantities. Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that Ceylon cinnamon extract helps to inhibit tau aggression. The researchers attributed these benefits to the presence of cinnamaldehyde (5).
Parkinson's disease is characterized by a decreased production of dopamine. The disease affects neurotransmitters and results in a loss of mobility, motor function, and cognition. Research published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology found that cinnamon helped to protect proteins and neurons in mice. The mouse model also demonstrated improved motor functions (6). More research is needed to see if these results translate over to humans as well.
5. Benefits Immune Health
Cinnamon tea may be beneficial for the immune system thanks to antifungal and antibacterial properties. Most research has shown these benefits are limited to the respiratory system.
A study published in Allergy found that cinnamon compounds such as cinnamic aldehyde boast antifungal properties. Cinnamon oil was shown to have fungicidal effects on bacteria and fungi such as Candida albicans and A. fumigatus (7).
Additional research published in Acta Biomedica found that cinnamon oil helped to fight bacteria that cause dental plaque. The oil was particularly effective against Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that cause dental caries (8).
6. Naturally Sweet Choice
If you're looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, cinnamon tea is an excellent choice. It adds a touch of subtle sweet flavor without the harmful effects of processed sugars. Drinking cinnamon tea may help you achieve your weight loss goals when used as a substitute for sugary soft drinks and juices. Make sure to pair the beverage with regular exercise and a healthy diet for the best results.
Side Effects of Cinnamon Tea
Cinnamon is safe when consumed in moderate amounts. Ingesting large amounts of cinnamon can lead to negative side effects including liver damage. This is largely due to the presence of a compound known as coumarin. Cassia cinnamon contains larger concentrations of the compound compared to Ceylon cinnamon which only has trace amounts.
The FDA does not approve the use of cinnamon in the treatment of any ailments or chronic disease. Cinnamon tea and cinnamon powder may interact with blood sugar medications. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional before drinking herbal teas or taking cinnamon supplements if you are taking any medications.
Drinking Cinnamon Tea
In addition to the tasty flavor, there are many cinnamon tea benefits that make drinking this tea a true pleasure. From boosted immunity to a lower risk of heart disease, research shows that cinnamon may be beneficial to human health. Pour yourself a cup of this tasty tea and cheers to your health.