Question: Is cinnamon dangerous? Someone told me that cinnamon had the same ingredients as Coumadin. Is this true?
Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Used in small amounts as a spice and as a fragrance, cinnamon is safe.
Cinnamon oil contains trace amounts of coumarin, a blood thinner, in various small concentrations depending upon the source of the cinnamon. True cinnamon from Ceylon has very little coumarin, but the cassia variety, which is the most common variety of cinnamon sold in grocery stores in the USA, contains considerably more. There is not enough of this substance contained in the usual use of cinnamon to create a risk for bleeding.
Coumarin is a relative of the blood thinner Coumadin. Coumadin is used as a rat poison and as a potent blood thinner in very small doses.
European health agencies have issued an alert to avoid excessive consumption of the cassia variety of cinnamon due to reports of liver and kidney toxicity. The claims of the cassia variety of cinnamon related to lowering blood sugar and improving cholesterol come from a Pakistani study and are yet to be fully validated. Excessive consumption of cinnamon of the cassia variety should be avoided by those with blood disorders and especially those on blood thinners such as Coumadin.