Pregnancy Use

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Cinnamomum cassia or C. zeylanicum/verum should not be used in pregnancy; however, usual dietary intakes are likely to be safe. Currently, evidence of teratogenicity from animal studies is contradictory.

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Cinnamon has been used since ancient times as a flavouring and medicinal agent.

• It is a natural food preservative with antioxidant and wide ranging antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

• It has been used traditionally to treat dyspepsia, nausea, flatulence, poor appetite, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Some evidence suggests it may be effective for some of these indications.

• Ground cinnamon (C. cassia) may reduce blood glucose and lipid levels and be useful for peoplewith type 2 diabetes; however, this has yet to be clearly established because inconsistent results have been obtained in controlled studies.

• Cinnamon oil can cause allergic contact dermatitis when used topically and should be avoided by people with allergies to cinnamon or Peru balsam, pregnancy or those with active gastrointestinal ulcers.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Cinnamon is a natural food preservative with wide ranging antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It may improve digestion and ease symptoms of dyspepsia, flatulence and nausea. Its effect on blood glucose, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels remains to be established as inconsistent test results have been reported. When will it start to work?

The effects on digestion should start rapidly; however, effects on blood glucose and lipid levels may take 1 month or more. Are there any safety issues?

Cinnamon oil can cause allergic contact dermatitis when used topically and should be avoided by people with allergies to cinnamon or Peru balsam, pregnant women or those with active gastrointestinal ulcers.

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