Objective: This review investigates the effectiveness of two cinnamon species, Cinnamomum verum and C. cassia, in diabetes management; their impact on related health conditions and relevant parameters in healthy individuals and safety issues.
Methods: PubMed, Cochrane Library, and ScienceDirect were searched from 2000 up to April 2018 for clinical trials using either C. verum or C. cassia in controlling blood glucose and other diabetes-related parameters and conditions.
Results: A total of twenty-five studies (n=997) were included for reviewing clinical evidence. Among these trials, fifteen studies investigated the effects on type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients (n=831), four investigated subjects with related clinical conditions (n=82), and six investigated healthy individuals (n=84). Nineteen studies used C. cassia and six used C. verum. Results suggested C. cassia helped manage diabetes at 3-6g, while the effectiveness of C. verum remained inconclusive. In addition, the chemical properties of C. cassia and C. verum differ considerably. Of note, C. cassia contains high levels of the potentially hepatotoxic constituent coumarin. A skin rash was the only adverse event reported.
Conclusion: While evidence supports the therapeutic benefit of C. cassia, interchangeability of C. cassia and C. verum remains inconclusive. Further research is warranted to address the effectiveness and safety of these cinnamon species. Given the potential hepatotoxicity of C. cassia, RCTs that include liver function tests are required. Robust RCTs on C. verum are recommended to establish if its efficacy can match its safety profile.