Many kinds of cinnamon, cinnamon-flavored foods, beverages and food supplements in the United States use a form of the spice that contains high levels of a natural substance that may cause liver damage in some sensitive people, scientists are reporting.
... cinnamon, which comes from the bark of certain trees, is one of the most important flavoring agents used in foods and beverages. "True," or Ceylon, cinnamon is expensive, so most breads, sticky buns and other products in the United States use dried cassia bark, or cassia cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon contains very little coumarin, a naturally occurring substance that has been linked to liver damage in people sensitive to the substance. However, cassia cinnamon can contain larger amounts. Khan's team decided to check on the coumarin content of a wide variety of food products.
"As found in this study, coumarin was present, sometimes in substantial amounts, in cinnamon-based food supplements and cinnamon-flavored foods," they say. [emphasis mine]
I checked all of my spice jars and they never specify if it's Ceylon cinnamon or cassia cinnamon.
I just ordered Ceylon cinnamon from Penzey's Spices.
It seems likely that all of the cinnamon in my cupboard is the wrong kind, after doing some internet research. Since I've had liver problems recently, I'll be mixing my own pumpkin pie spice, etc. from this new supply. Such a shame. I'd just discovered I liked 5 spice powder too. Used it once from a new purchase.
I get bulk spices from the Monterey Bay spice co. They have a lot of things that are hard to find locally, like powdered guarana.
Some spices are good quality in bulk, like I can buy vanilla beans much cheaper from them. Some aren't - large bags of dried spices lose a lot of their flavor.
Oh cool - I can get some spices from them. Thank you Luara.
"may cause liver damage in some sensitive people" ... How might someone like me, without liver problems, decide whether to worry about coumarin?
You'll probably be fine if you don't eat massive amounts of cinnamon for a prolonged time.
Oh, dear. I just received an email that extolled cinnamon and honey as the cure all of all cure alls. And I do have liver disease.
As discussed in the February 18-19 comments in No Nonsense:
I've been buying the cheap cinnamon. I suppose I should read that article and figure out what to do.
Thanks to you, Ruth, I have ordered a supply of Ceylon Cinnamon and am dumping all from my cabinet. I certainly don't want any additional liver problems than I already have. I do like cinnamon on my oatmeal.
My Ceylon cinnamon arrived and it is like a difference in night and compared to the cassia cinnamon. It is a rich warm brown and smells heavenly, sweet. Does anyone know of any other spices we should be ordering from a reputable dealer.