Can Cinnamon Lower Your Blood Pressure?

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Some studies have suggested cinnamon can lower blood pressure. Because the data isn't robust, however, more research is needed to prove this effect.

Cinnamon is a sweet spice from the bark of an evergreen tree native to southeast Asia. There are several types. In the United States, cassia cinnamon is the most common.

This article looks at cinnamon and the research into whether or not it can help reduce blood pressure.

Cinnamon stick and powder
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Research on the Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Renewed interest in traditional remedies has prompted formal study of potential benefits and safety. Studies show promise, but it is important to remember that many of them are small. More research is needed before healthcare providers can recommend cinnamon supplementation.

Cinnamon and Blood Pressure

There is limited evidence to support claims for using cinnamon to control blood pressure. A 2021 review of eight trials including a total of 582 people found that cinnamon supplements might help reduce diastolic blood pressure. A small 2021 study with 40 participants also found that cinnamon supplements caused a moderate decrease in systolic blood pressure. 

Diastolic blood pressure is your blood pressure between heartbeats, while systolic blood pressure is your blood pressure during a heartbeat.

A 2021 review also concluded that cinnamon might be helpful for people with cardiovascular disease. The authors found evidence that cinnamon could help lower blood lipids, improve the immune response, and reduce inflammation. However, they also noted that because there haven't been many studies in humans, more research is needed.

Cinnamon and Blood Sugar

Many recent studies have focused on cinnamon's effect on blood sugar. The mechanism is unknown, but some studies report cinnamon may help control blood sugar in those with diabetes.

The evidence has been mixed, but one review of ten different studies suggests that cinnamon lowers both fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol.

A 2021 review suggested that cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity, regulate how the body processes glucose, and reduce inflammation. However, the authors also noted that much of the evidence to support cinnamon's health effects for people with diabetes is conflicting. 

Overall, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says human studies do not support the use of cinnamon for any health condition.

Cinnamon Side Effects

In human studies, participants used cinnamon doses ranging from a fraction of a teaspoon to two teaspoons each day. Side effects were rare when cinnamon was added to food in normal amounts.

Cinnamon is also available as a dietary supplement. Because the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements, it is important to use them with caution.

If you are taking other medications or herbal supplements, always ask your healthcare provider before you start taking anything new. Interactions may occur between supplements and medications, resulting in health problems.

Cinnamon is generally considered safe for short-term use by most people, but some may have an allergic reaction. Cinnamon also contains a chemical known as coumarin, which can be harmful to individuals with liver disease. Although the blood-thinner Coumadin (warfarin) is a coumarin derivative, the coumarin found in plants does not affect blood's ability to clot.

Dosage and Forms

There is no recommended dosage for cinnamon. However, in research, dosages have included:

  • 85 mg to 500 mg per day of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (CZ) for high blood pressure
  • 120 mg per day to 6 g (about 1 tsp) per day for diabetes

Studies have found that cassia cinnamon contains high levels of coumarin, which means it may not be safe to take in larger doses. Ceylon cinnamon is of higher quality and more expensive. It is often (but not always) found in supplements. Because Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of coumarin, it may be safer to take in larger doses of up to 1 tsp.

Cinnamon powder is often added to foods and baked goods. It also comes as a stick, which you can use in hot beverages or to flavor food. You can get the same health effects from food grade cinnamon as from supplements. Because food forms found in grocery stores are usually the cassia variety, however, it is a good idea to limit your consumption.

Supplements come as capsules, gelcaps, gummies, and oils. Make sure to check the packaging to see what variety of cinnamon it contains.

Summary

Cinnamon has been studied for its potential benefits in treating high blood pressure and diabetes. So far, the research is promising, but there hasn't been enough of it for healthcare providers to recommend cinnamon as an alternative therapy.

Taking large doses of cinnamon may not be good for you. Cassia cinnamon, commonly sold in the United States, contains large amounts of a compound called coumarin, which may be harmful to your liver. When buying cinnamon supplements, look for Ceylon cinnamon, which contains only trace amounts of coumarin.

A Word From Verywell

It won't hurt to sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal or add a cinnamon stick to a hot coffee or cocoa drink, but it's unlikely to help you control your blood pressure. So far, there's not enough evidence to support using cinnamon as an alternative to proven therapies.

If you have high blood pressure, don't rely on cinnamon to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Instead, it's important to focus on measures known to improve blood pressure, including:

  • Limiting your intake of salt
  • Adopting a healthy diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Quitting smoking

Many people also need to take one or more blood pressure medications to reach a healthy blood pressure target. Talk to your healthcare provider about which proven treatment options are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of cinnamon lowers blood pressure?

    Both cassia and ceylon are said to reduce blood pressure, though research to support this is mixed. If you are trying to choose a cinnamon supplement, it may help to know that ceylon contains less coumarin—a compound known to have side effects—than cassia.

  • How can I bring my blood pressure down immediately?

    Lying down and taking some deep breaths may help. However, reducing chronic and dangerously high blood pressure requires medical supervision. You may require prescription medication and lifestyle modifications.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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