Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) is one of the world’s most beloved spices, but did you know it has useful benefits for fertility as well? It has been used for years to curb heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), including heavy bleeding due to endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Over the last 10 years it has been used to aid women with insulin resistance associated with PCOS and those with type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon for PCOS
Resistance to insulin increases the body’s insulin levels. A pilot study published in 2007 by Fertility and Sterility showed cinnamon to greatly reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS. The study showed that cinnamon reduced insulin resistance by increasing phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases activity in the insulin signaling pathway. This potentiates the action of the insulin. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase are a family of enzymes involved in cell function. Half of the women who took part in the pilot study took cinnamon extract for 8 weeks, while the half of the women took a placebo. After the 8-week period, both groups of women were tested using fasting and 2-hour oral glucose tolerance tests. The group who took the cinnamon had greatly reduced insulin resistance compared to the placebo group.
Another study showed cinnamon to improve glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). The double-blind study used 79 patients who normally managing their diabetes with diet, or medications like Metformin, a medication often prescribed for PCOS patients as well. Patients were randomly assigned to take 1 capsule, 3 times a day, of cinnamon (equal to 3g. or 1 tsp.), or a placebo for 4 months. At 40 days, fasting glucose levels were taken; patients taking cinnamon had a significantly reduced glucose level by 10.3% compared to 3.4% in the placebo group. These findings are promising to PCOS patients because of the similar insulin resistance associated with both type 2 diabetes and PCOS.
One study suggests cinnamon may also reduce insulin resistance by slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which is important for people with diabetes and women with PCOS.
Research at the Human Nutrition Center at Tufts found that cinnamon triples insulin’s ability to metabolize glucose (blood sugar), protecting people against diabetes, lowering hunger, lowering sugar cravings, while increasing weight loss. Weight loss is often a difficult part of living with PCOS. Many women find that losing weight is next to impossible when living with PCOS. Cinnamon may be one natural way to improve weight loss in women with PCOS.
Lowering insulin resistance before PCOS turns to type 2 diabetes is important. Cinnamon may help, along with specific dietary changes for PCOS and diabetes. Learn more here…
Why is insulin resistance a problem for women with PCOS?
- Insulin resistance affects normal ovulation by preventing the body from ovulating or limiting the maturation process of the released egg.
- Women who are insulin resistant are also 4-5 times more likely to have a miscarriage. Imbalanced insulin levels due to PCOS make it difficult for the embryo to attach properly to the uterus.
- Insulin resistance may lead to type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon Reduces Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Cinnamon has been shown to be a useful tool for women with heavy menstrual bleeding associated with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and primary menorrhagia. Cinnamon has been used traditionally for hundreds of years to stop excessive menstrual bleeding, hemorrhage during childbirth and miscarriage and today, for any fertility condition where heavy menstruation is present. Cinnamon taken internally may curb heavy bleeding.
Indication by Fertility Issue
Endometriosis is when excess endometrial lining of the uterus that normally grows in preparation for implantation of the egg, does not completely shed during menstruation. It then begins to attach to other places of the body besides the uterus. When menses comes not only does the lining in the uterus bleed the endometriosis that has grown in other places of the body also bleeds. Some women with endometriosis have abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
Uterine fibroids are lumps of tissue that form on the uterus or within the uterus. They may cause excessive menstrual bleeding.
(heavy menstrual bleeding) Most women who are experiencing excessive bleeding during their menstrual cycle have ovulatory dysfunction; in other words, they are not ovulating correctly. This is most often due to hormonal imbalance.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have used cinnamon for thousands of years to bring warmth to a cold uterus. A cold uterus is defined as boggy, congested uterus with poor circulation and menstrual irregularities, including PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or amenorrhea or for women with a sedentary lifestyle. The increased circulation and warming effect also may help reduce menstrual cramping.
Cinnamon may also help to prevent yeast infection. High blood sugar levels increase risk of chronic yeast infection (Candida overgrowth); remember that cinnamon helps to lower blood sugar levels.
Daily for PCOS or type 2 Diabetes
Dried bark powder: 1 capsule, 3 times a day or 3g.= 1 tsp.of loose powdered cinnamon root
Tincture: 2-4 mL or 45-115 drops a day, in a little water
Note: If using to reduce insulin resistance, it is best to let your doctor know.
Acutely for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Dried bark powder: 1 heaping teaspoon in 1 cup hot water per day or 3 capsules right away, then 1 cap two more times that day.
Tincture: 115 drops right away, 30 drops two times in the day after that
Note: Only to be used this way during heavy bleeding times
Not to be taken at high doses long-term, may be caustic to the mucosal lining of the digestive system.
Cautions: When NOT to use Cinnamon
-Cinnamon is a slight blood thinner, it is best not used by those on blood thinning medications.
-Not for use by people with stomach or duodenal ulcers.
-Not for use in pregnancy or lactation beyond using it as a cooking spice in foods.
I have used cinnamon externally to stop bleeding as well. Any cut that I can’t get to stop, I add cinnamon and it stops almost immediately. If you doubt its action for stopping excessive bleeding, try it sometime. I love cinnamon and love to add it to all kinds of foods…curry, oatmeal, cookies, breads, tea, chai tea, and more. Adding cinnamon to Fertility Smoothies is a great way to warm up your uterus! YUM!
- Wang, J. G., Anderson, R. A., Graham, G. M., Chu, M. C., Sauer, M. V., Guarnaccia, M. M., & Lobo, R. A. (2007). The effect of cinnamon extract on insulin resistance parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. Fertility and sterility, 88(1), 240-243. Retrieved from: https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(06)04555-9/fulltext
- Hlebowicz, J., Darwiche, G., Björgell, O., & Almér, L. O. (2007). Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 85(6), 1552-1556. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/85/6/1552/4632985
- Mang, B., Wolters, M., Schmitt, B., Kelb, K., Lichtinghagen, R., Stichtenoth, D. O., & Hahn, A. (2006). Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA1c, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, 36(5), 340-344. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2362.2006.01629.x Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/85/6/1552/4632985
- Monte, T. (1997). The complete guide to natural healing. New York: Berkley Pub. Group.
- Rodriguez, H. (2017). 5 Steps To Reversing Endometriosis Infertility. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/endometriosis
- January and February 2010: Cinnamon, by John Gallagher, https://learningherbs.com/herbmentor/
- Romm, Aviva. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Churchill Livingstone: St. Louis, Missouri.
- Weed, S. S. (2011). Down there: sexual and reproductive health. Ash Tree Publishing.