Can you eat a spoonful of cinnamon?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat a spoonful of cinnamon? We will discuss the risks associated with eating a spoonful of cinnamon. We will also discuss the health benefits, the permissible quantities, and side effects related to cinnamon.

Can you eat a spoonful of cinnamon?

You cannot eat a spoonful of cinnamon at a time. According to the American Association of Poison control, eating dry cinnamon can be a choking hazard. It can cause gagging and vomiting. .Cinnamon is a caustic powder composed of cellulose fibers, which neither dissolve nor biodegrade in the lungs. The powder quickly dries out the mouth, which makes swallowing the powder very difficult. Coughing and burning sensations in the mouth, nose, and throat ensue.

More serious symptoms include vomiting, epistaxis, and chest tightness and even atelectasis. Furthermore, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) warns that teenagers with asthma or other pre-existing respiratory problems are at greater risk for developing respiratory distress from the cinnamon challenge. (1)

The Cinnamon Challenge: What is it?

The cinnamon challenge has existed for nearly a decade. This dare consists of consuming one tablespoon of cinnamon powder within one minute without drinking any fluids. The cinnamon challenge has become more popular among teenagers and young adults over the past four years.

Not all persons who intentionally abuse or misuse cinnamon powder will need medical attention.However, episodes in which medical attention is warranted may be underreported. (1)

What are the risks of eating a spoonful of cinnamon?

There are some risks associated with consuming large doses of cinnamon at once, The choking risk can be avoided by adding the cinnamon to food but a burning sensation in the gastrointestinal system may occur at a large intake. 

It may also cause lethargy, double vision, vomiting, lightheadedness, and irritation of the skin and urinary tract.(5)

Coumarin, a natural compound with hepatotoxic properties, is found in various Cinnamomum species. High levels of coumarin are particularly present in certain types of cinnamon, such as cassia.

Cassia is derived from Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum loureiroi, and Cinnamomum burmannii, while true cinnamon comes from Cinnamomum verum, which contains lower levels of coumarin.

In the food industry, cassia is commonly used for its flavor, resulting in the presence of coumarin in food products when consumed in large amounts. It’s important to note that coumarin has the potential to harm the liver, as it is hepatotoxic.(3)

How to properly use cinnamon?

To use cinnamon, add the stick or cook it with the food or sprinkle the powder according to the recipe. 

The essential oil of cinnamon bark is used in cooking preparations due to its delicate aroma and sweet and spicy flavor. It is usually used in seasoning meat, fish, sauces, baked goods and beverages.

It can be used in bakery and pastry products such as cakes and sweets, and as an alternative to synthetic food preservatives. It can be added to chewing gum as a flavor agent due to its refreshing effect in the mouth and their ability to remove bad breath.

There is a tendency to increase the consumption as tea, due to its antioxidant capacity and its use in the diet of thousands of people throughout the world.(2)

Both ground and stick cinnamons are readily available.  Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled as a flavor enhancing garnish on desserts and beverages.  Cinnamon sticks can be used to infuse subtle cinnamon flavor into beverages and stews and can be removed before serving.  Stick cinnamon can be ground with a fine grater to make ground cinnamon. (4)

What are the Health Benefits Of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice that offers various health benefits. It contains nutrients like polyphenols and antioxidants, as well as unique compounds such as cinnamaldehyde, citral, and cinnamate.

Research suggests that cinnamon can be helpful for individuals with type 2 diabetes. It aids in glucose absorption, improves insulin sensitivity in fat and muscle tissues, promotes glycogen synthesis in the liver, and slows down stomach emptying.

Cinnamaldehyde, found in all cinnamon varieties, is responsible for these effects. However, it’s important to note that cinnamon should not replace medication in diabetes treatment. It’s best to follow your doctor’s plan.

Cinnamon also contains antioxidants, which play a crucial role in neutralizing harmful free radicals and protecting the body’s cells.

Furthermore, cinnamaldehyde has antibacterial properties and shows potential in preventing the growth of cancer cells, as seen in animal studies.

The components of cinnamon may also have benefits in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, and preventing arterial hardening (arteriosclerosis).(2)

Other FAQs about Cinnamon which you may be interested in.

How to counteract too much cinnamon in a recipe?

Can you grate cinnamon sticks?

What are the best cinnamon rolls in Dallas?


  1. Bosmia AN, Leon KJ. Lung injury and the cin-namon challenge: college students should beware this Internet dare. J Inj Violence Res. 7(1):41-2. 2015
  2. Ribeiro-Santos, R., Andrade, M., Madella, D., Martinazzo, A. P., de Aquino Garcia Moura, L., de Melo, N. R., & Sanches-Silva, A.  Revisiting an ancient spice with medicinal purposes: Cinnamon. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 62, 154–169.(2017).
  3. Ballin, N. Z., & Sørensen, A. T.  Coumarin content in cinnamon containing food products on the Danish market. Food Control, 38, 198–203.(2014).
  4. McCormick Science Institute. Cinnamon. 2023
  5. Muhammad, D. R. A., & Dewettinck, K.  Cinnamon and its derivatives as potential ingredient in functional food—A review. International Journal of Food Properties, 1–27. 2017.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!