Since it is fall we need to have a discussion. A real open and honest discussion about essential oils and the beautiful season of Fall. Why? Because everything right now is cinnamon spice everything.
Seriously. It is spice everything like we have never used clove, or ginger, or cinnamon before! For example:
I don’t like colds and virals anymore than the next person. I am a cinnamon junky – especially when it comes to baking! I live in the desert, too and I absolutely agree that living in the desert makes it hard to feel festive about Fall. But, guess what guys?
Cinnamon (bark or leaf) essential oil, in any blend or on its own all the time, every day, for everything is not something that any qualified aromatherapist recommends. When we need it, you bet we are going to pull out the big guns. That is only when we need it.
Why? Cinnamon (bark or leaf) essential oils have a few concerns that are really important to take note of during the cooler weather we are enjoying or getting ready for.
What do you need to know about Cinnamon Bark or Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil?
Both essential oils do have a significant potential to cause skin irritation and even sensitization.
Cinnamon Bark has a really high potential to create some serious skin sensitizations1 due to the cinnamaldehyde content that naturally occurs in the essential oil. Cinnamon Leaf has a moderate potential to create those same irritations and sensitizations2due to the eugenol content that naturally occurs in the essential oil.
Topically, I don’t typically recommend using them unless the need and benefits outweigh the risk. Additionally, when I do choose to use them they are always diluted. Robert Tisserand recommends a daily max use of 0.07% (based on cinnamaldehyde content) for cinnamon bark essential oil and between 0.6% (based on the eugenol content) for cinnamon leaf essential oil1,2.
Cinnamon bark essential oil is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding by any route1.
Orally, the component cinnamaldehyde has been shown to affect blood clotting which is a huge concern while giving birth. Because of its significant ability to cause skin irritation and even sensitization, using it topically is not recommended anywhere on the mother’s body that an infant would come into contact with it.
If the need and benefit outweighs the risk, low amounts of diffusion using cinnamon bark essential oil can be used with caution. However, there are other more suitable essential oils during such a fragile time of constant change and growth.
Both cinnamon bark and cinnamon leaf essential oils have usage cautions for those that are on blood thinners, have bleeding disorders, or are having any major surgery.
These cautions are all based on the method, dose, and specific condition and severity of it. Oral or any other internal use of these may lead to serious blood clotting problems due to the cinnamaldehyde and eugenol contents3,4.
Diffusing in low amounts for a very short period of time can be used by those with the previously mentioned concerns. However, if you can use an alternative essential oil for the purpose you need, that is what most qualified aromatherapists will recommend.
While topical application of both essential oils can be used in appropriate dilutions, again if you can use an alternative essential oil, that is recommended.
Cinnamon in Everything?
While this is the season for cinnamon in everything, I ask you to consider your total daily dose of any type of cinnamon essential oils. This includes if you clean with a blend that has any type of cinnamon, diffuse it, take it internally, or apply it topically. Everything you do with any type of essential oil adds up to your total daily usage. If you absolutely think you need it but have questions, please reach out to a qualified aromatherapist that can help guide you in your use of essential oils.
In the meantime, enjoy boiling or slow cooking (in a crockpot/slow cooker) your cinnamon sticks, orange peels, cloves, cardamom and ginger in water for a real spicy and festive aroma. You will be surprised at how fragrant just boiling them can make your whole house!
1Tisserand, R., Young, R., & Williamson, E. M. (2014). Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals (Second ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. Page 248
2 Tisserand, R., Young, R., & Williamson, E. M. (2014). Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals (Second ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. Page 249
3 Tisserand, R., Young, R., & Williamson, E. M. (2014). Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals (Second ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. Page 531
4 Tisserand, R., Young, R., & Williamson, E. M. (2014). Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals (Second ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. Page 559