Medically Reviewed by Dr. Atmika Paudel, PhD - Written by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP and Dr. Vibhuti Rana, PhD
Dr. Atmika Paudel, PhD says... The information regarding cinnamon oil for yeast infections and its possible safety issues in the following article is medically correct and relevant.
Cinnamon bark and cinnamon oil have typically been used for poor digestion, diarrhea, menstrual problems, parasitic infections, colic and rheumatic pains.
It has been found to be deadly to drug resistant candida yeast and other fungal infections. The active ingredients are cinnamaldehyde, cinnamon oil vapors and eugenol. Preliminary human evidence confirms this effect in a clinical trial performed by a team of researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York, where three of the five AIDS patients suffering from oral Candida (thrush) infections improved with topical application of the oil.(Source)
Studies performed on allergy causing fungi in 1995 that were published in the European Journal of Allergy and Immunology, have shown that cinnamon oil inhalable vapors are an effective agent against Aspergillus niger, A. fumigatus, A. nidulans A. flavus, Candida
albicans, C. tropicalis, C. pseudotropicalis, and Histoplasma capsulatum.(Source)
In 2012, published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, cinnamon oil was tested on Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, and Candida krusei in the intestine. The oil damaged the cell surface, inside organelles were destroyed and the cells burst after treatment. The patient cure percentage was 71.67% and after 48 to 72 hours the oil killed the Candida cells. The remaining 28.33% of patients all showed improvement.(Source)
In 1997, Microbiologists Azumi S, Tanimura A, Tanamoto K at the National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan, found that cinnamon oil concentrates had antibacterial actions against Salmonella infections.(Source) The diterpenes in the volatile compound have shown anti-allergic activity as well. In addition, water extracts may help reduce ulcers.(Source)
Test tube studies also show that cinnamon can augment the action of insulin and an Indian study demonstrated that it helped control blood sugar levels.(Source)
So yes, as the studies suggest, cinnamon oil for yeast infections really does work.
Dr. Vibhuti Rana, PhD says...
The above section has described multiple studies on the health benefits of using cinnamon oil. This essential oil, having spice-like odor, is derived from the leaves and bark of Cinnamomum zeylanicum and is very frequently distributed in Sri Lanka (1). It is well known for its flavoring (as a condiment) and medicinal ingredients. It has different chemical constituents: cinnamaldehyde is found in bark oil, eugenol in leaf oil, and camphor in root-bark oil (1).
Cinnamon oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic properties, revealed by a number of research reports worldwide. It is very popular amongst the traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and in alternative naturotherapy. Some common uses are treatment of impotence, frigidity, dyspnea, eye inflammations, leukorrhea, vaginitis, rheumatism, and neuralgia, as well as wounds and toothaches.
Cinnamon or cassia oil has antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory in nature. Moreover, it lowers the blood glucose and lipid levels, and has anti-cancer, antimicrobial, and cardiovascular-disease-lowering compound. In addition, cinnamon has shown neurological benefits in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases (2, 3). In another study, C. zeylanicum bark powder methanol extract bark powder and simvastatin were equally effective in treating hyperlipidaemia (4).
As far as yeast eradication with herbal oils are concerned, Goel et al showed that cinnamon and olive oil were effective for more than 50% eradication of fluconazole resistant non-albicans Candida species like C. parapsilosis, C. krusei, and C. tropicalis (5). In another study, as described above too, the morphology of these 3 species infecting the intestines of host changed significantly upon exposure to cinnamon oil and pogostemon oil, and these cells burst after 48 hours of treatment with these herbal oils. These antifungal results were recorded using Scanning Electron Microscopy experiments (6).
I, Faisal I, Rahman Z, Khan MZ, Muhammad F, Aslam B, Ahmad M,
Shahzadi A. Lipid lowering effect of Cinnamomum zeylanicum in
hyperlipidaemic albino rabbits. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2012
Jan;25(1):141-7. PMID: 22186322.
5. Goel N, Rohilla H, Singh G, Punia P. Antifungal Activity of Cinnamon Oil and Olive Oil against Candida Spp. Isolated from Blood Stream Infections. J Clin Diagn Res. 2016;10(8):DC09-DC11. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2016/19958.8339. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5028442/
6. Wang GS, Deng JH, Ma YH, Shi M, Li B. Mechanisms, clinically curative effects, and antifungal activities of cinnamon oil and pogostemon oil complex against three species of Candida. J Tradit Chin Med. 2012 Mar;32(1):19-24. doi: 10.1016/s0254-6272(12)60026-0. PMID: 22594097. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22594097/
Cinnamon oil for yeast can be toxic to the liver so I would use it for thrush and for skin yeast only, unless the formula you are buying has been approved for internal use. You might also have to dilute it in a little coconut oil because it is hot when used straight. I would test it on a tougher area of skin such as the hand before use.
If you are diabetic and are taking medications for the condition, cinnamon could lower your blood sugar levels even further, which could result in a change in your prescription. Please talk to your doctor before taking cinnamon oil for yeast infections if you have diabetes.
The powdered extracts in capsules are recommended for internal yeast infections and are generally safe.
Dr. Vibhuti Rana, PhD says...
Though cinnamon oil has numerous reported health benefits, it may not be suitable to take in a few conditions. The points stated in the above section regarding potential side effects of using cinnamon oil are correct. It is safer to use it locally or topically, but may cause some side effects upon oral consumption in a higher doze. In a report published in 2009, a young girl had developed acute eczema (allergic contact dermatitis) after applying galenic vaginal suppositories, which had contained cinnamon oil constituents (1). Similar case of contact dermatitis was also observed when cinnamon oil was used as an odor-removing agent in shoe insoles (2).
In addition, diabetics need to be careful while using this herbal medicine if they are already on insulin control medications. Rosacaea occurred in an old diabetic woman who was taking cinnamon oil pills to lower her blood sugar levels (3). Therefore, it is best to consult your alternative naturopathy expert before you start using this natural herbal remedy in routine.
1. Lauriola MM, De Bitonto A, Sena P. Allergic contact dermatitis due to cinnamon oil in galenic vaginal suppositories. Acta Derm Venereol. 2010 Mar;90(2):187-8. doi: 10.2340/00015555-0782. PMID: 20169306. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20169306/
2. Hartmann K, Hunzelmann N. Allergic contact dermatitis from cinnamon as an odour-neutralizing agent in shoe insoles. Contact Dermatitis. 2004 Apr;50(4):253-4. doi: 10.1111/j.0105-1873.2004.00301.x. PMID: 15186386. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15186386/
3. Campbell TM, Neems R, Moore J. Severe exacerbation of rosacea induced by cinnamon supplements. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD. 2008 Jun;7(6):586-587. https://europepmc.org/article/med/18561592
Cinnamon is widely used as spice and added for flavor in many cuisine regularly. Cinnamon oil is usually derived from bark and leaves of cinnamon tree. Both the bark and the leaves contain cinnamaldehyde; though the content is higher in the bark compared to the leaves.
There are numerous literatures that have studied the antibacterial and antifungal activities of both the cinnamon oil and cinnamaldehyde  Organic extracts of the cinnamon bark and leaves have shown in vitro activities against human bacterial pathogens Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio cholera, Salmonella typhymurium along with activities against human fungal pathogens Candida albicans, C. tropicalis, C. glabrata, C. krusei, and molds Aspergillus species, as well as dermatophytes Microsporum gypseum, Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagraphytes [1-3].
Cinnamon oil not only was effective against microbial planktonic cells, but also against biofilms and toxins produced by the microorganisms such as P. aeruginosa, Escherichia coli [4, 5], and Candida [6, 7].
Various pharmacological properties of cinnamon have been reviewed: such as anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-ischemic and neuroprotective, anti-nematodes, anti-melanin, anti-allergy, anti-diabetic, anti-Helicobacter pylori and gastro protective effects [2, 8, 9].
However, due to the high content of coumarins in cinnamon extracts, as mentioned above, blood coagulation problem and hepatoxicity may occur if taken in high doses and for prolonged period . Some studies have shown the increased risk of cancer, respiratory toxicity, and some people may develop allergic reactions such as mouth sores. Therefore, people taking medications for diabetes and medicines that effect liver such as fluconazole, paracetamol, isoniazid, methotrexate, statin and others should be cautious when eating cinnamon. When topically used and applied over the skin, some might encounter skin irritation.
Eugenol has also shown to be antibacterial that is also effective against biofilm, toxin production of P. aeruginosa , L. monocytogenes . It is also effective against fungus such as Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans [12, 13] including the biofilms , and dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum . There are some adverse effects associated with the use of eugenol as well. Some cases of mouth ulcers .
Goel N, Rohilla H, Singh G, Punia P. Antifungal activity of cinnamon
oil and olive oil against Candida spp.isolated from blood stream
infections. J Clin Diagn Res 2016; 10:DC09-DC11.
2. Zaidi SF, Aziz M, Muhammad JS, Kadowaki M. Diverse pharmacological properties of Cinnamomum cassia: A review. Pak J Pharm Sci 2015; 28.
3. Gill AO, Holley RA. Mechanisms of bactericidal action of cinnamaldehyde against Listeria monocytogenes and of Eugenol against L. monocytogenes and Lactobacillus sakei. Appl Environ Microbiol 2004; 70:5750.
4. Kalia M, Yadav VK, Singh PK, et al. Effect of cinnamon oil on quorumsensing-controlled virulence factors and biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PLOS ONE 2015; 10:e0135495.
5. Kim Y-G, Lee J-H, Kim S-I, Baek K-H, Lee J. Cinnamon bark oil and its components inhibit biofilm formation and toxin production. Int J Food Microbiol 2015; 195:30-9.
6. Pires RH, Montanari LB, Martins CHG, et al. Anticandidal efficacy of cinnamon oil against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Candida parapsilosis and Candida orthopsilosis. Mycopathologia 2011; 172:453-64.
7. Almeida LdFDd, Paula JFd, Almeida RVDd, Williams DW, Hebling J, Cavalcanti YW. Efficacy of citronella and cinnamon essential oils on Candida albicans biofilms. Acta Odontol Scand 2016; 74:393-8.
8. Subash Babu P, Prabuseenivasan S, Ignacimuthu S. Cinnamaldehyde—A potential antidiabetic agent. Phytomedicine 2007; 14:15-22.
9. Crawford P. Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med 2009; 22:507-12.
10. Kawatra P, Rajagopalan R. Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredient. Pharmacognosy Res 2015; 7:S1-S6.
11. Zhu R, Liu H, Liu C, et al. Cinnamaldehyde in diabetes: A review of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and safety. Pharmacol Res 2017; 122:78-89.
12. Boonchird C, Flegel TW. In vitro antifungal activity of eugenol and vanillin against Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. Can J Microbiol 1982; 28:1235-41.
13. Hassan HA, Geniady MM, Abdelwahab SF, et al. Topical eugenol successfully treats experimental Candida albicans-induced keratitis. Ophthalmic Res 2018; 60:69-79.
14. He M, Du M, Fan M, Bian Z. In vitro activity of eugenol against Candida albicans biofilms. Mycopathologia 2007; 163:137-43.
15. de Oliveira Pereira F, Mendes JM, de Oliveira Lima E. Investigation on mechanism of antifungal activity of eugenol against Trichophyton rubrum. Med Mycol 2013; 51:507-13.
16. Sarrami N, Pemberton MN, Thornhill MH, Theaker ED. Adverse reactions associated with the use of eugenol in dentistry. Br Dent J 2002; 193:257-9.
Cinnamon Oil is available in liquid or capsules at Amazon.
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