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What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Cinnamon?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An allergic reaction to cinnamon can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the severity of the allergy and whether the cinnamon touches the skin or is swallowed. Some of the most common symptoms include watery eyes, runny nose, and cough. Skin irritation may result in various types of dermatitis, including eczema. Swelling of the face or throat, especially if accompanied by difficulty breathing, may indicate the presence of a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

In many cases, an allergic reaction to cinnamon is so subtle that it may be confused with other problems, such as the common cold or seasonal allergies. This is especially true when cinnamon is an added ingredient in a product, because the affected person may not even realize that the spice has been consumed. Itchy, watery eyes and a stuffy or runny nose are commonly reported signs of a reaction and usually begin within a matter of seconds or minutes following contact with cinnamon. A cough, a mild fever, or a sore throat may also occur. Those with underlying respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, may notice a worsening of symptoms after coming into contact with this spice.

Sometimes, an allergic reaction may appear in the form of skin irritation, medically known as dermatitis. This often involves a condition known as eczema, in which the skin may itch, peel, or develop blisters that break open. This type of reaction is most common when cinnamon comes into contact with the skin, although those with a relatively mild allergy may develop skin symptoms if cinnamon is repeatedly ingested.

Anaphylaxis may occur during an allergic reaction to cinnamon, although this is not common. Symptoms of this severe type of allergic reaction may include swelling of the face, tongue, or throat as well as difficulty breathing. When breathing becomes difficult, there is a risk of oxygen deprivation to the brain and other organs of the body, which can cause permanent brain damage or even death within a matter of minutes, making it crucial to obtain emergency medical assistance at the first sign of these symptoms. Life support measures such as oxygen therapy may be necessary, and hospitalization is likely until the health of the patient has stabilized.

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Discussion Comments

By anon995966 — On Jun 17, 2016

I've found that my epiglottis in the back of my mouth swells after having certain types of cinnamon, making it difficult to swallow.

By anon966743 — On Aug 21, 2014

I recently had a terrible reaction to cinnamon gum that blistered the inside of my mouth so badly that I ended up in the ER. In the past I've had canker sores from using cinnamon toothpaste, but nothing like what the gum did to me.

I did a little checking and the gum is made with cinnamon oil. I've never had a reaction from eating cereals with cinnamon but a nurse friend said I should avoid it completely from now on because I could have an anaphylactic reaction in the future and honestly I'm scared to have anything with it right now. It was a week of pure agony.

Should I avoid all cinnamon products now? I'll sure miss my Dr. Peppers.

By fBoyle — On May 02, 2013

I have anaphylaxis from just a pinch of cinnamon. It's becoming very difficult to eat out nowadays or buy snacks because cinnamon seems to be in almost everything.

By SteamLouis — On May 01, 2013

@alisha-- To be honest, I'm not sure. If this only happens when she eats cinnamon, it's certainly a sensitivity to cinnamon and possibly an allergy. An allergy test is the best way to find out.

It can be difficult to diagnose cinnamon allergy when there aren't serious symptoms present like itching, swelling and rash. Plus, there are different levels of allergic reactions, some are mild and difficult to see. Something else that complicates things further is that there are different types of cinnamon in the world and some people are allergic to one or two kinds and not all.

I think it's best for your mom to avoid all cinnamon until she sees her doctor and finds out whether she's allergic to it or not. If she is allergic, it can progress quickly and she may experience more serious reactions the next time she has cinnamon.

By discographer — On May 01, 2013

Recently, when my mom eats cinnamon, she says that the inside of her mouth hurts. She doesn't have any other symptoms as far as we know. The weird part is that she has eaten cinnamon her whole life without problems.

Is pain a sign of allergy? Has she suddenly become allergic to cinnamon?

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