Coumarin, oh coumarin

By Chong Sheau Ching
Aug 9, 2018

As with any food consumption, if one overdoses on something, it is not healthy. Moderation is the key in cinnamon consumption.

Coumarin is a natural compound that occurs in celery, chamomile and green tea.  It has anti-coagulant and anti-inflammatory properties. In small quantities, it has high medicinal values.  It is only toxic if  taken consistently in high quantities,  such as several tablespoons of cinnamon powder daily for several months. When you make teas, health infusions or use cinnamon  as a spice in cooking and baking, the amount of coumarin you consume is small, even if it is from Cassia cinnamon.

 Are we so scared about coumarin that we don’t eat celery or drink green tea any more?

Drinking teas made from cinnamon several times a week is very different from consuming three  tablespoons of cinnamon powder daily.

If you are concerned about coumarin in cinnamon:

i. Do not take it as a food supplement such as powder in pill form unless you have a doctor’s prescription.

ii. Avoid daily cinnamon powder intake if you are pregnant or sensitive to coumarin. Consult your doctor especially when you are taking other medications.

iii.  If you still want to take cinnamon in powder form  --

The tolerable daily intake of coumarin is 0.1mg/kg of body weight. For a 50kg person, that's 5mg.

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon is 1.5gm. Cassia Cinnamon contains approx. 1% of coumarin. Hence 1 flat teaspoon would have 0.015gm or 15mg of coumarin in Bario cinnamon powder.

To bring that to a tolerable range, take less than 1/3 flat teaspoon a day, or put 1/10 flat teaspoon of cinnamon powder into your drink per day.


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