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There Are 2 Types of Cinnamon — And You’re Probably Using the Worst One

Sprinkling too much of this spice can cause some major problems...


Are you someone who loves sprinkling a little cinnamon into your coffee each morning? Or chowing down on pastries packed with the scrumptious spice? Well, we regret to inform you that you might want to cut back on that — unless you’re using “true cinnamon.”

Yep, it turns out there are actually two different types of cinnamon: cassia and Ceylon. Cassia is the one we find most often at grocery stores or at cafes. Unfortunately, it also has the potential to cause some serious health problems.

According to the US Department of Health, cassia contains a natural chemical called coumarin. While this chemical has been shown to help as a blood thinner to prevent clotting, it can cause or worsen liver disease. It’s more of an issue for people who already suffer a liver ailment, but something we should all probably keep in mind. Healthline warns that having even just one to two teaspoons of cassia in a day could put you over the recommended limit for coumarin. Here’s how they break it down: 

The tolerable daily intake of coumarin is approximately 0.05 mg/pound (0.1 mg/kg) of body weight, or 5 mg per day for a 130-pound (59-kg) person. This means that just 1 teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon could put you over the daily limit.


Luckily, you don’t have to give up your favorite spice entirely. Ceylon cinnamon (the one known as “true cinnamon”) contains only trace amounts of coumarin, making it much less likely to provoke any health problems. It is a bit pricier than cassia, but could be worth the extra money to make sure you’re getting your cinnamon fix without putting your liver at risk. 

You also might also find that you prefer the flavor of Ceylon to cassia, anyway. According to Bon Appétit, it’s a much milder taste and aroma with “almost floral notes,” while still being distinctly “cinnamon”-y. BA writer Alex Delaney colorfully compares Ceylon to listening to your favorite vinyl record on a fancy sound system while lounging in a luxuriously comfortable chair. Cassia, on the other hand, is like listening to that same song on clunky car speakers. “You can still appreciate the music in the car, but…the chair. That’s where you want to be.” 

Sounds like a delicious way to keep enjoying cinnamon without worrying about it doing any damage to your health. Try one like Simply Organic Ceylon Cinnamon ($6.24, Amazon) and you just might forget all about the cassia you’ve had in the past.

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