Cinnamon essential oil is one of the most bio-active of all the essential oils. Further, it is one of the strongest in antimicrobial capabilities. Research has demonstrated cinnamon to be antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, potentially blood sugar and cholesterol lowering, cancer fighting, insect repelling, and more. Click here to see a compiled list of research on cinnamon: Cinnamon Research.
Cinnamon essential oil also offers a powerfully aromatic scent that many enjoy. It is a great essential oil to include in a blend for cleaning the house or creating a holiday aroma. It may also be effective when included in a very small amount of a blend for topical use.
Contraindications of Cinnamon Essential Oil
The essential oil should not be used during pregnancy or nursing. Further, avoid with small children under 3 years, the frail population, and with certain medical conditions. Medical conditions may include: those with liver damage, those taking anti-coagulants, those taking diabetic medications, and those with blood disorders. Also avoid pre-surgery due to a possible blood thinning effect (References: Cinnamon Research).
With children older than 3 years, dilute in greater amounts than an adult dosage, based on size compared to an adult. Avoid with pets, especially cats and reptiles.
Be aware that cinnamon essential oil represents the most active constituents of cinnamon, condensed and very potent compared to the spice. Excessive use of cinnamon can cause liver and organ toxicity or failure. It can further cause mild to severe skin and mucus membrane damage.
Topical Use of Cinnamon Essential Oil
Use extremely small amounts of the essential oil topically, very heavily diluted in a carrier oil. Especially undiluted, cinnamon essential oil can have severe reactions to both the skin and mucus membranes. It is recommended to dilute cinnamon bark essential oil at a 0.05% ratio for topical use (Tisserand & Young, 2014). This would equal (approximately) only 1 drop in 4 ounces of a carrier oil. It can also be added in a very small amount of a blend of essential oils diluted in a carrier oil. Here is an example recipe with an essential oil blend that includes cinnamon.
Antimicrobial Skin Salve
- 1 cup of olive oil (8 ounces)
- ¼ cup of beeswax (2 ounces)
- ¼ cup of shea butter (2 ounces)
- 3 drops of cinnamon(Cinnamomum zeylanicum or C. verum) essential oil
- 30 drops of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil
- 15 drops of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) essential oil
- 30 drops of geranium (Pelagonium graveolens) essential oil
In a crockpot or double boiler, heat the olive oil, beeswax, and shea butter on low until it melts. Then, turn off the heat and add the essential oil. Next, pour immediately into container(s). Seal with a lid once cool. Adults, apply about a dime sized amount of the salve topically to the affected area daily. Avoid large open wounds. Discontinue use if any irritation occurs. Not for prolonged use exceeding two weeks. Avoid with those pregnant, breastfeeding, and children under the age of 3. Review possible contraindications of each essential oils included in this recipe before use.
Cinnamon Essential Oil for Cleaning
Cinnamon essential oil, with its strong pleasant aroma and antimicrobial actions, is great for adding in a multi-use house cleaning recipe. Here is one to try.
Essential Oil Spicy House Cleaner
- 6 drops cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) essential oil
- 15 drops peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil
- 20 drops rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) essential oil
- 30 drops lemon (Citrus limonum) essential oil
- 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of dish detergent or liquid castile soap
- 3 cups of water
Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle except the water. Then, shake. Finally, add the water and shake again. Use as a general house cleaner. Shake and spray. Discontinue use if any irritation occurs.
Internal Use of Cinnamon
For internal use, it is recommended to stick with the spice in normal food quantity amounts. Do not ingest cinnamon essential oil. Here is my favorite tea recipe to try:
- 2 quarts water
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 12 cardamom seeds
- 6 whole cloves
- 12 black peppercorns
- 6 slices fresh ginger root
- 2 black tea bags
Boil all items except the tea bags for 30 minutes. Then, simmer for 2 hours. Finally, in the last 10 minutes, add the tea bags. Let cool overnight, then strain, and keep the liquid in the refrigerator. Heat smaller quantities as needed along with milk and honey to taste. Drink as a tea. Do not exceed normal spice quantity amounts for ingestion; review possible contraindications of each herb before use.
Here is another tea I love when it is cold outside. Click her to try this Easy Cinnamon Tea recipe.
Cinnamon Bark vs Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
Cinnamon bark essential oil is made up of mostly of the constituent: cinnamonaldehyde (up to 76%) while cinnamon leaf is made up of mostly the constituent: eugenol (up to 87%). Both cinnamonaldehyde and eugenol are very reactive constituents. A toxic and carcinogenic constituent that may be found in both essential oils is safrole (with up to 1% in cinnamon leaf oil). Further, there is an unusual safrole high type of cinnamon essential oil that should be avoided (Tisserand & Young, 2014). Seek a reliable brand to purchase, as cinnamon bark essential oil is often adultered with cinnamon leaf oil, clove, bay, eugenol, cinnamonaldehyde, or synthetic oil (Lis-Balchin, 2006)
- See: Cinnamon Research
- Tisserand, R. & Young, R. (2014). Essential Oil Safety. Second Edition. Churchill, Livingstone, Elsevier.
- Lis-Balchin, M. (2006). Aromatherapy science, A guide for healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical Press: London.
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA (ARC), Professional NAHA and AIA Member, LMT
The listings of research represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the species, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. Research found is catalogued by therapeutic action. This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use. These statements are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. The information at this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult a Doctor before using herbs and essential oils if you have medical conditions, are taking medications, or have questions.