Cinnamon Essential Oil for Cancer, Diabetes and More!


Warm, spicy, fragrant, powerful, even dangerous? What comes to mind when you think of cinnamon essential oil? Even as a potentially sensitizing and irritating oil, we shouldn't make the mistake of avoiding cinnamon altogether. There are many benefits of this classic spice and essential oil.

In this article, you will learn all about:

  1. Cinnamon Essential Oil Sources
  2. The History of Cinnamon Use
  3. Top 5 Cinnamon Oil Uses
  4. Cinnamon Oil Blends and Applications

Cinnamon Essential Oil Sources

While we know cinnamon as simply sticks, powder, or oil, there is much more to it than a simple cinnamon source. The flavorful “sticks” we know are derived from the inner bark of a Cinnamomum tree, of which there are many different varieties. In fact, cassia essential oil comes from a cinnamon treeCinnamomum cassia. This is a cheaper version of cinnamon and doesn't contain the heath benefits that cinnamon does, even though it has a pleasant smell and is nice for aromatherapy.

As always, variety effects composition, and cinnamon essential oil most commonly comes from the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree. From there, either the inner bark or the leaves can be harvested for distillation. This should be indicated as either “cinnamon bark” or “cinnamon leaf” on your bottle of essential oils.

And yep, you guessed it: the bark and leaf oils have their own composition, as well.

  • Cinnamon bark essential oil, on the other hand is steam distilled from cinnamon bark, is reddish/ brown in color and contains mostly cinnamaldehyde (63.1-75.7%) and much less eugenol (2.0-13.3%). It's a known sensitizer and irritant.
  • Cinnamon leaf essential oil, for example is steam distilled from cinnamon leaves, is yellowish in color and contains high amounts of eugenol (68.6–87.0%) and some cinnamaldehyde (0.6-1.1%). It's not a sensitizer like cinnamon bark is, though it's still a known irritant. 

Cinnamon leaf is typically more heavily filled with eugenol – used to relieve pain and inflammation and fight bacteria – while the bark is comprised more of cinnamaldehyde and camphor – potent as an antioxidant and antidiabetic. (1)

History of Cinnamon Use

One of the oldest and most beloved spices, cinnamon was prized in ancient times as a costly and decadent substance, usually burned for its aroma. Biblical mentions include cinnamon as a “choice spice” and part of the holy anointing oil of Exodus.

Further east, cinnamon was used in medicinal preparations in the Ayurvedic model of medicine. It was thought to be “warming” and was used as an antimicrobial treatment or protective substance.

Over time, the spice trade waned and culinary preparations became standard, at least in the Western world. The ability to distill essential oils specifically has opened up another avenue of use for us, and extensive research on this ancient spice has confirmed both aromatherapy uses and medicinal whole-spice uses.

Top 5 Cinnamon Essential Oil Uses

Because the leaf and bark oils work differently, I'll note where one is preferred over the other. The safest use for essential oil is aromatic, via sprays and diffusion or inhalation methods. Some internal and topical use can be utilized as well, though, as long as you carefully dilute and use appropriate amounts. With that in mind, here are the top 5 uses for your cinnamon essential oil.

1. Antibacterial Strength

Cinnamon oil is well known as antibacterial, and that is translating to varied uses as researchers begin to think outside of the box. In 2015, a couple of interesting studies were released for uses of cinnamon's antibacterial strength.

The first combined antibiotic doxycycline with isolated components of 3 essential oils, one of which being cinnamon – with all three components (carvacol, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde) found in both cinnamon leaf and bark oils. The combination had a synergistic effect, which could imply some answers to the problem of antibiotic resistance! (2)

The second addressed an issue on our minds for awhile now, that of oral health with natural products. Cinnamon oil on its own was protective against an array of oral bacterial colonies. The oils didn't contain prominent levels of cinnamaldehyde, indicating a potential preference toward leaf oil. (3)

A much earlier study had confirmed more traditional uses for this antibacterial oil – relieving bacterial respiratory conditions. Of the essential oils tested in 2007, cinnamon and thyme rose to the top as most effective against respiratory infections. (4)

Indications: Diluted into alcohol for mouthrinse blends, cleaners, hand sanitizers, room diffusion, respiratory blends for inhalation.

2. Antidiabetic Potential

We know that cinnamon as a whole spice can be used for anti-diabetic purposes, helping to lower fasting blood sugar levels. (5) Further research is diving into the way this works, and some studies have found specific compounds of cinnamon are responsible for the effect – compounds also found in the essential oil.

For example, cinnamaldehyde in animal models has been observed reducing glucose levels and normalizing responses in circulating blood. (6) In 2015, researchers found cinnamic acid to improve glucose tolerance and potentially stimulate insulin production. (7)

These results are promising, and it will be interesting to see how it ultimately plays out. Diabetes affects a large swath of the population, and natural remedies are needed now more than ever.

Indications: One or two drops diluted in a lipid and included in recipes; inhalation or diffusion; whole-spice culinary inclusion.

3. Antifungal Synergy

Especially with such a strong and potentially irritating essential oil like cinnamon, blending and dilution are important. Fortunately, the oils seem to work even better that way. A 2013 study demonstrated the effects of synergy on fungal infections, with the lavender and cinnamon blend performing the best. (8)

Incidentally, lavender soothes what cinnamon may irritate! When creating your blends, use small amounts of cinnamon to enhance the other oils in the combination for an overall effective result.

Indications: Topical fungal infections, diffusion and sprays for in-home fungal growth.

4. Gut Health Protection

Traditional medicinal uses of cinnamon essential oil include protecting the digestive system. The whole spice is still indicated for this purpose, but aspects of the essential oil are finding their way into studies on this topic, as well.

Eugenol, for example, found in the cinnamon leaf oil, was the subject of a study in 2000. It was found to have a protective effect on the mucosal lining against ulcers and lesions. (9) More recently, in 2015, both eugenol and cinnamaldehyde were explored as additives in animal feed for intestinal protection. (10)

Both cinnamon leaf and bark oils could be utilized here, though the leaf is much milder in taste and should contain the eugenol content that is recurring in studies.

Indications: One or two drops diluted into a lipid and added to recipes; whole-spice use in culinary preparations.

5. Cancer Fighting

Last, but certainly not least, is cinnamon essential oil's ability to fight cancer. Eighty studies to date have investigated cinnamaldehyde's ability to inhibit tumor cell proliferation via trigger cancer cell apoptosis (“programmed cell death”) and other mechanisms and the research is clear: cancer patients should be encouraged that natural solutions truly do exist! (11)

Cinnamon Oil Blends and Applications

For all of its known benefits, cinnamon oil is also known as a sensitizer. The oil should always be diluted carefully, as much as a 1:200 ratio when used topically and never more than a drop or so in a full recipe. Remember that oil and water don't mix, so dilution should happen first in a lipid like coconut oil or another carrier oil.

Use cinnamon oil in:

Dilution is the key to unlock the many benefits of cinnamon oil!

Safety & Contraindications

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions?

 Let me help take out the guesswork and download my FREE roller bottle guide HERE.

Essential Oil Roller Bottle Dilution Guide

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

CLICK HERE to download my free EO Roller Bottle Dilution Chart! 

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.



This post currently has 33 comments.

  1. Deborah
    April 5, 2017

    Thank you for your work with God’s food!
    I have been blessed with helping my brother, who has stage 4 liver cancer.
    Would this be helpful for him? What type of cinnamon, and what would a possible dosage be?

  2. Lela McGee
    April 4, 2017

    Always appreciative of your knowledge. I’m a little bit of a geek over the constituents in oils; always trying to understand what to look for regarding desired outcome. You might want to check your info directly under the opening where you give the percentages of eugenoland cinnamaldehyde in both the bark oil and leaf oil. That info directly contradicts the info where the percentages are stated.

    • Dr. Z
      April 4, 2017

      Lela, good catch! Those got swapped. Thanks for pointing that out!

      Bark has more cinnamaldehyde.
      Leaf has more eugenol.

      All fixed now. 🙂

  3. Verna
    February 26, 2017

    Dr. Zip
    Is cinnamon bark & cinnamon oil safe for
    Breast cancer survivor to use,
    I read that sunflower oil,sunflower seeds , & cinnamon .
    Can interfere with hormone receptors .

    • Dr. Z
      February 27, 2017

      Not that I know of. At least I haven’t seen any research out there about. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible.

      First that I’m hearing of this…

  4. Sarah Dickens
    February 19, 2017

    Thanks for the article. I have re-read a few times and still feel a bit confused: which type of cinnamon oil should I use to help regulate blood sugar levels?
    Thank you.

    • Dr. Z
      February 20, 2017

      Hi Sarah,

      The bark is comprised more of cinnamaldehyde and is usually used as the antidiabetic.

      • Judith
        April 8, 2017

        I struggle with low blood sugar. Can I use Cinnamon Oil for that too?

  5. Phyllis
    August 25, 2016

    What about Ceylon Cinnamon?
    Is it available as an oil?
    I drink the powder with honey.
    Thank you for the information

  6. Terri
    August 7, 2016

    Dr Z,

    I drink 1 to 2 drops of the cinnamon bark oil in a quart of water, is it safe and is the ratio good?? I’ve been doing it for about 2 months now. It’s not only heathly but yummy!!

    • Dr. Z
      August 8, 2016

      Hi Terri,

      I would caution against drinking straight (neat) cinnamon oil in water. It’s highly volatile and should ALWAYS be diluted. It can cause some serious harm to your esophagus.

      Why not mix 1 drop in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and add some honey and take twice a day? That’s even yummier and much safer! 🙂

      • mary Ferran
        August 25, 2016

        Hello dr Z. I need to neubilize cinamon oil the bark.
        For i read a study on nuebilizing for aspaergillus inside lungs. The article does not sy how many drops in distilled water. Can someone guide me? Thank you.

        • Dr. Z
          August 26, 2016

          Hi Mary,

          It really all depends on the size and how much water it contains. A few drops is generally a good place to start. 🙂

          • Mary ferran
            September 4, 2016

            Thank you, is really nice pf you to answer!!!! Drs like you make one believe again, i want to join your page. I going to do that now, thank you

          • Dr. Z
            September 6, 2016


  7. Joyce Barnard
    May 28, 2016

    Hi Dr Z. I am currently on an insulin pump for type 2 diabetes. I want to start using cinnamon oil and others to maintain my diabetes. can you take the cinnamon oil in a capsule if so how much. I drink water of lemon, lime and peppermint daily. I have several comorbidites to go along with diabetes. PMR, depression,HTN, fibromyaglia, and skin disorder. I have recently started using oils because I was having reaction to several chemical in lotions and cleaners etc. One being Formaldehye enhancers and chromium. Oils have come to my recuse and I love Doterra producs. I you could give me some advice I would truly appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

    • Dr. Z
      May 29, 2016

      Hi Joyce,

      Please contact your MD and pharmacist because of all the comorbidities and chemical reactions that you’ve experienced. You definitely want to be safer than sorry…

      Ask them if taking 2-3 drops in a capsule a couple times per day would be contraindicated…

  8. Tamian
    April 16, 2016

    This is good to know, but how do we know what products are reputable, and where to get them?

    • Customer Support
      June 13, 2016

      Essential Oil Brands: If you are inquiring about essential oil brand recommendations please note that the information published on my website is for educational purposes only, and I do not sell supplements & essential oils. To ensure that I can continue to provide unbiased, evidence-based material I must remain “brand neutral,” and I cannot recommend specific companies to purchase products from. I trust that you understand. 🙂
      With that said, there are several quality, therapeutic grade brands out there. Here’s what I do:
      Ask the company that you’re interested in for a report of their sourcing and quality standards. (indigenously sourced, sustainable, organic, non-gmo, etc..)
      Check online for some positive and negative reports – be careful to not let MLM propaganda get in the way of truth. (EVERYONE’s brand is the best, right? Especially, when they’re selling something).
      Contact the company and see if their grade is safe for internal use.
      Try a couple, and test for yourself.
      Lemon, lavender and peppermint are common and relatively inexpensive and you should get a good gauge to see if this brand is for you or not.
      Remember, many of these companies get their oils from the same supplier. They just private label them.

  9. Anne
    March 6, 2016

    Hi Dr. Z.
    I have purchased a cinnamon bark essential oil. The latin name on the bottle is cinnamomum aromaticum. I don´t see that name in your article. Do you know if this is a good enough source? Or is it the not so optimal cassia cinnamon?

    Also, is it possible to ingest this oil ind a capsule (I have empty ones), if one drop was mixed with a carrier oil in the capsule? How much would one need for blood sugar regulation and digestion problems?

    Thank you in advance!

  10. Jina
    January 26, 2016

    How would you best differentiate between cinnamon bark oil and cassia oil? I am sorry I was not understanding the true difference between those two in the article. Is cassia the leaf or the bark? Thank you for the clarification.

    • Dr. Z
      January 31, 2016

      Hi Jina,

      This article has a good explanation:

      The source of cinnamon essential oil is the sweet spice Cinnamomum verum ( also zeylanicum ). This is known as true cinnamon. There is another cheaper variety of cinnamon powder that we get from trees in the genus Cassia. This cheap cinnamon comes from China, while true cinnamon grows in many parts of the tropical world, notably in Sri Lanka and India. Although Cassia cinnamon is also used to extract essential oil, the one from true cinnamon is the one which possesses wonderful health benefits. There are two kinds of essential oils derived from this tree.

      Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil – This one is steam distilled from the leaves of cinnamon. This is yellowish in color.

      Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil – This is steam distilled from the bark of cinnamon. It is slightly reddish in color with a hint of brown.

      Both of these essential oils have some differences in their chemical composition, obviously because they come from different parts of the same plant. However, their health benefits can be quite similar. Production The essential oil can be obtained through steam distillation. This yields organic essential oil which is pure. There are other methods of extracting essential oil, like through solvent extraction which may yield a higher oil extraction percentage. This is more economical for the manufacturer but it is not organic. As a result, it may not provide all the health benefits to such a degree as the pure, organic essential oil

  11. Laurie
    January 23, 2016

    What type of cinnamon oil(leaf or bark) would be best used for breast cancer and how would I use it? Thanks for your reply

    • kay
      February 3, 2016

      Laurie, you may also like to work with Rosemary, Lavender and Frankincense while tending to the cells in your breast.

  12. Dolores Arnold
    January 7, 2016

    Thanks for this!

    • Victoria
      January 17, 2016

      I am so greatful for this information. Dr. Z thank you . Can you please let us know where your best essential oils are to purchase.

      • Dr. Z
        January 18, 2016

        Hi Victoria,

        To ensure that I continue to provide unbiased, evidence-based material I must remain “brand neutral,” and I cannot recommend specific companies to purchase products from. I trust that you understand.

        With that said, there are several quality, therapeutic grade brands out there. Here’s what I do:

        !) Ask the company that you’re interested in for a report of their sourcing and quality standards. (indigenously sourced, sustainable, organic, non-gmo, etc..)
        2) Check online for some positive and negative reports – be careful to not let MLM propaganda get in the way of truth. (EVERYONE’s brand is the best, right? Especially, when they’re selling something).
        3) Contact the company and see if their grade is safe for internal use.
        4) Try a couple, and test for yourself.
        5) Lemon, lavender and peppermint are common and relatively inexpensive and you should get a good gauge to see if this brand is for you or not.

        Remember, many of these companies get their oils from the same supplier. They just private label them. There are very few suppliers of frankincense, for example.

    • Kenya Wilson
      January 23, 2016

      I am a Believer who has been called into service by GOD. I talk with HIM all the time, so I know my being presented with this series is no coincidence. There is just so much useful information you’ve provided that I feel like a kid in a candy store!I can’t thank you and Josh and the others enough for this summit. I can’t tell you what it means to me. My family is probably 85% diabetic and I was diagnosed with it last January. I refuse to take any of the deadly medications for it. You’ve opened the door to what I knew existed, natural cures. GOD knows our hearts and when we are in HIS will, HE will give us the desires of our hearts. Again, thank you. I hope we can meet in person one day so I can tell you my body is truly healed. Contine to be blessed and favored.

      • Dr. Z
        January 23, 2016

        Wow, I’m speechless. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Shalom to you and your family!

        • Pam
          March 22, 2017

          so is it safe for me to put a drop of cinnamon oil in my coffee

          • Dr. Z
            March 23, 2017

            Not unless you mix it with a carrier oil or creamer before to dilute it. Otherwise, you’re likely to get burned or irritate your esophagus.


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