Cinnamon is a popular spice in many dishes. Whether it is cinnamon rolls or cinnamon toast, this spice has an appealing smell and taste. Cinnamon gives dishes a distinct flavor. Unfortunately, some people experience an allergic reaction to cinnamon. These people have high sensitivity toward a particular protein found in the spice.
What are the uses of cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice, which comes from the bark of various species of cinnamon trees native to certain parts of China, India and Southeast Asia. Cinnamon is mainly used in food to enhance flavor. Many people use cinnamon for medicinal purposes. It is commonly found in the following
- Chewing gum
- Breakfast cereals
- Baked goods (cookies, muffins, pies or cakes)
- Flavored tea
- Flavored coffee
People should be aware that cinnamon may not directly appear on food labels. The United States Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to list some ingredients, including cinnamon, under titles, such as spices or flavoring. It may also be listed on labels as cassia or mixed spice.
What are the symptoms of cinnamon allergy?
Spice allergy accounts for up to two percent of all allergies, which go undiagnosed. Only a small percent of people experience allergic reactions after ingesting or coming into contact with cinnamon. The symptoms are
- Tingling, itching and swelling of the lips, face and tongue
- Swelling in other parts of the body
- Trouble breathing
- Nasal congestion
- Abdominal pain
Rarely, people may experience a severe, life-threatening, anaphylactic reaction that can cause them to go into shock. If experiencing any of the following symptoms, immediately consult a physician
What causes cinnamon allergy?
Breathing, touching or eating cinnamon can trigger allergic reactions in some people. The artificial cinnamon flavor in gum, toothpaste or mouthwash can cause allergic reactions in rare cases. The artificial cinnamon flavor may cause contact stomatitis, leading to burning or itching in the mouth. This condition resolves once people stop ingesting cinnamon. Cinnamyl alcohol or cinnamaldehyde, used in fragrances, can also trigger a reaction in some people.
How is cinnamon allergy treated?
The first step in treating cinnamon allergy is to avoid cinnamon or limit its exposure. If experiencing an allergic reaction, the physician may prescribe antihistamine medications, such as diphenhydramine.
The physician may also prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector to control anaphylactic reaction until the patient gets medical help. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends that children with cinnamon allergy and their caretakers carry an epinephrine auto-injector to avoid any mishaps.
Allergy Knowledge Base
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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