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Harvard Health Blog
Spice up your holidays with brain-healthy seasonings
- By Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor
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Best to use Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon), also known as Cinnamomum verum, or true cinnamon.
Not Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum burmannii.
True cinnamon has the same flavor as cassia, but it’s much lower in coumarin, and much less likely to be toxic.
When consumed in large quantities, coumarin can be toxic, affecting the nervous system and the liver. Cassia contains higher levels of coumarin (approximately 4%), while the amount in Ceylon cinnamon is approx. 0.04%.
See: Assessment of Coumarin Levels in Ground Cinnamon…
J. Blahová – 2012
Thank you for that additional important information. Now I am wondering whether the backs of the “cinnamon” labels clarify what the content is. (I know that one major US spice purveyor does, but, much to my dismay, they changed the front of the label to “cinnamon”, although the content is cassia. I need to examine the brands that are found in major US supermarkets.) Given this information about coumarin and the benefits of using true cinnamon, it is important to know what one is using.
The whipped cream and cinnamon buns you recommend are full of saturated fat. Eating a diet high in saturated fat contributes to high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of events hazardous to brain health – including vascular dementia and strokes.
I believe that when you speak of cinnamon, you are speaking of true cinnamon and not cassia. You should probably point out that most of what appears with the label “cinnamon” in the United States is actually cassia.
Perhaps you could also tell us whether or not cassia has any useful medical properties.
What is your scientific evidence for this? Are they large randomized clinical trials?
She links to the studies in the article.
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