Cinnamon Sticks: How Much is Safe to Eat Raw?

Are you wondering if you can eat cinnamon sticks raw, and if yes, how much? Indeed, with its warm and inviting aroma, cinnamon is a popular spice known for its use in sweet and savory dishes. Though it’s enjoyed as cooked or infused, concern might arise when consuming it raw. 

The good news is today’s article will help you know how much raw Cinnamon you can eat daily and which variety is safer to consume.

So, keep reading to enjoy a safe maximum amount of cinnamon.

Key Takeaways

  • Eating 1-2 raw cinnamon sticks daily is safe for most people, but be aware of their coumarin content.
  • Ceylon cinnamon has less coumarin than Cassia cinnamon and is considered the safer option.
  • Chewing raw cinnamon sticks may irritate the mouth and throat and carry a risk of choking.
  • Children, pregnant women, and people with liver disease should avoid consuming cinnamon.

What Are Cinnamon Sticks, and What’s in them?

Cinnamon sticks, also known as quills or cinnamon bark, are the rolled-up bark of the cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum cassia). These sticks are derived from the inner bark of the tree. They’re carefully dried and rolled into cylindrical shapes. They come in different lengths and are easy to find in spice markets around the world.

Flavor and Aroma

Cinnamon sticks have a strong, sweet, and woody aroma that’s often associated with comfort and warmth. When used in cooking, they infuse dishes with their distinctive flavor. This flavor is more subtle and less intense compared to ground cinnamon.

Coumarin Content

Coumarin is a live-toxicity causing organic compound found in many plants, including cinnamon. The amount of coumarin in 2 grams of cinnamon stick can vary depending on the type of cinnamon:

  • Cassia cinnamon has been found to have coumarin content ranging from 0.4% to 1% per gram. This means that 2 grams of Cassia cinnamon could contain up to 2 mg of coumarin.
  • As researchers have found, ceylon cinnamon contains coumarin ranging from 0.001% to 0.004% per gram. This means 1 stick of Ceylon cinnamon, which weighs about 2 grams could contain 0.0020 mg and 0.0080 mg of coumarin. So, ceylon cinnamon is considered safer to consume regularly than cassia cinnamon.

However, as advised by the European Food Safe Authority, the safe daily intake amount of coumarin is 0.1 mg per kilogram of body weight. Using the EFSA recommendation, an adult weighing 70 kg can safely consume up to 7 mg of coumarin per day. So, an adult can enjoy 2 cinnamon sticks daily.

Besides this, one should also consider individual sensitivity varies, and consult a doctor before consuming cinnamon is advisable.

Anti Oxidants

Cinnamon sticks contain several antioxidants, including:

  • Cinnamaldehyde: This is the main compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and aroma. It is also a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the body from damage.
  • Polyphenols: Cinnamon sticks contain a variety of polyphenols, which are plant compounds with antioxidant properties.
  • Flavonoids: Cinnamon sticks contain several flavonoids, including quercetin, kaempferol, and epicatechin. These flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Procyanidins: Cinnamon sticks contain procyanidins, a type of polyphenol that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Cinnamon sticks’ antioxidants combat free radicals that harm cells and DNA, linked to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. They also help reduce inflammation associated with heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

Can You Eat Cinnamon Sticks Raw?

Yes, cinnamon sticks, especially Ceylon cinnamon, are safe to eat; you can chew them. Yet, consuming them raw has certain risks of choking or irritating the mouth and airways. 

Also, consuming cinnamon raw may not provide the same culinary experience as using them in cooking. The sticks are quite hard and fibrous, making them challenging to chew and swallow comfortably. 

Attempting to eat cinnamon sticks raw may lead to potential digestive discomfort or choking hazards because of their fibrous nature. In this regard, certain precautions are essential. So, keep reading to know about them.

What are Some Health Benefits of Raw Cinnamons Sticks and Powder?

Since cinnamon is a rich source of antioxidants, it offers some health benefits, like: 

  • Blood sugar control: Cinnamon aids in improving insulin sensitivity, reducing blood sugar spikes, and is beneficial for diabetes management and prevention.
  • Heart disease protection: Cinnamon can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation and enhance heart blood flow.
  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties: Cinnamon fights off bacteria and fungi, preventing infections, tooth decay, and bad breath.
  • Brain function improvement: Antioxidants in cinnamon safeguard the brain, potentially enhancing cognitive function in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
  • Metabolism boost: Compounds in cinnamon can increase metabolism and promote weight loss, but it’s effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
  • Pain relief: Cinnamon’s analgesic properties make it effective against muscle pain, headaches, and menstrual cramps.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: Cinnamon’s antioxidants reduce inflammation, aiding conditions like arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Overall, cinnamon is a healthy spice that has a number of potential health benefits. It’s a good idea to add it to your diet in moderation.

How Much Cinnamon is Safe to Consume Daily?

The safe amount of cinnamon to consume daily depends on the type of cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon, the most common type of cinnamon, contains coumarin (a toxic compound) that can damage the liver, kidneys, and lungs in large amounts. 

Considering the previously discussed safe-to-consume amount of coumarin by the European Food Safe Authority, 1 teaspoon of ground cassia cinnamon (about 2 grams) contains about 1 mg of coumarin, which is safe limit, Yet, more than 1 teaspoon of ground cassia cinnamon or 1/2 of whole cassia cinnamon stick daily could exceed the TDI for coumarin because other foods might also be adding coumarin to your daily intake limit.

Ceylon cinnamon, on the other hand, contains very little coumarin. The EFSA has not set a TDI for coumarin in Ceylon cinnamon, but consuming up to 2 teaspoons of ground Ceylon cinnamon daily is generally considered safe.

If you are not sure what type of cinnamon you are consuming, it is best to err on the side of caution and consume only 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon per day. You can also choose to consume Ceylon cinnamon, which is lower in coumarin.

Why Should You Avoid Consuming Cinnamon Sticks Raw Daily? 

There are a few reasons why you should avoid consuming cinnamon sticks raw daily.

1. Coumarin content

Raw cinnamon sticks have a chemical compound known as coumarin. It, when consumed excessively, could pose a risk to the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established a safe daily intake (TDI) of 0.1 mg of coumarin per kilogram of body weight.

This translates to a safe consumption threshold of up to 7 mg of coumarin daily for an adult weighing 70 kg (154 lbs). However, a single teaspoon of ground cinnamon (approximately 2 grams) contains about 1 mg of coumarin. Consequently, consuming 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick per day could surpass the prescribed TDI for coumarin.

2. Risk of Choking

Cinnamon sticks are dense and may present a risk of choking, particularly among children. Notably, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has recorded incidents of children choking on cinnamon sticks. As a precautionary measure, it is advisable to explore alternative methods of consuming cinnamon.”

3. Irritation to the Mouth and Throat

Cinnamon sticks can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. This is due to the high concentration of cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon, which is a compound that can irritate the mucous membranes.

If you want to enjoy the health benefits of cinnamon, it’s best to consume it in moderation and in cooked or processed foods. You can also grind the cinnamon sticks into powder before consuming them, making them easier to digest and reducing the risk of irritation.

Who Should Avoid Eating Cinnamon Sticks Raw?

A few people should avoid eating cinnamon sticks raw. These include:

Individuals Sensitive to coumarin

You should avoid munching cinnamon if you’re allergic to coumarin–a compound found in cinnamon. Coumarin allergy is not very common. 

In fact, a study published in the journal “Contact Dermatitis” in 2004 found that only 1 out of 512 patients tested positive for a coumarin allergy. However, it’s worth mentioning that the study was conducted in Europe, and the prevalence of coumarin allergy may be different in other parts of the world.


Children are more likely to choke on raw cinnamon sticks. The sticks can also cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat.

People with Asthma

Raw cinnamon can irritate the airways and worsen asthma symptoms owing to cinnamaldehyde (an irritant) in it.

People with Liver Disease

Raw cinnamon contains coumarin, a compound that can damage the liver. People with liver disease should avoid eating large amounts of cinnamon.

People Taking Certain Medications

Cinnamon can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and diabetes medications. It’s important to talk to your doctor before adding cinnamon to your diet if you are taking any medications.

If you are healthy and do not have any of the above conditions, you can eat cinnamon sticks raw in moderation. However, it’s best to grind the sticks into powder before eating them. This will make them easier to digest and will reduce the risk of choking.

What are Better Ways to Enjoy Cinnamon, instead of Chewing the Sticks Raw?

Since chewing cinnamon sticks is generally safe, it’s also associated with certain risks if not eaten carefully. Yet, because of the health benefits of cinnamon, you can consider eating it using safer methods. Some of these methods are listed below.


Cinnamon sticks are often used to infuse liquids such as teas, hot beverages, and mulled wines. Simmering them in liquids extracts their flavor and aroma, creating delightful and aromatic drinks.


You can add cinnamon to simmering stews, curries, and rice dishes. They impart a mild, warm flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dish.


In baking, you can use cinnamon sticks in recipes like poached fruits, custards, or rice puddings, lending a subtle cinnamon essence.

Decorative Purposes

You can also use cinnamon sticks for decorative purposes, adorning gift wraps, wreaths, and potpourri sachets. Their pleasant aroma adds to the charm.

What Foods Should You Avoid Consuming When Incorporating Cinnamon in Your Diet?

Coumarin is a naturally occurring compound found in many plants. It is most commonly found in cinnamon, but it is also found in other foods. So, when you eat cinnamon and other coumarin-rich foods, the chances are you can exceed the estimated safe daily amount of coumarin of 5-8 mg per body weight of 50-80 kg, respectively.

Here is a list of these coumarin-rich foods that you should eat in moderation when adding cinnamon to your diet.

  • Tonka beans: These beans are used as a flavoring agent and contain a high amount of coumarin.
  • Sweet clover: This plant is used as a forage crop and contains a high amount of coumarin.
  • Bergamot oranges: These oranges are used to make Earl Grey tea, and they contain a small amount of coumarin.
  • Some fruits: Some fruits, such as apricots, cherries, and strawberries, contain some amounts of coumarin.
  • Some vegetables: Some vegetables, such as celery and carrots, have coumarin in small amounts.
  • Some spices: Some spices, such as nutmeg and cumin, contain small amounts of coumarin.

Note: some people may be more sensitive to coumarin than others. If you have any health concerns, it’s best to talk to your doctor before consuming foods that contain coumarin. 


Though eating cinnamon raw is safe, yet, you should avoid eating them daily due to their texture and potential digestive discomfort; they have a wide range of uses in cooking, baking, and infusions.

If you’re in love with cinnamon sticks, it’s better to opt for Ceylon cinnamon, which has a negligible amount of coumarin in it. Their unique flavor and aroma can enhance a variety of dishes and beverages. 

The next time you encounter cinnamon sticks, think of them as versatile culinary tools rather than snacks, and let them infuse your recipes with their wonderful essence.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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