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Cinnamon has long been a staple of traditional medicine — and its use as a spice stretches back thousands of years, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

But despite its popularity, researchers are still learning about the benefits of cinnamon — including whether taking cinnamon pills can boost your health and how.

What Is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree, according to the NCCIH. The most common type of cinnamon sold in the United States is cassia cinnamon, which is native to China. Another type of cinnamon, called ceylon cinnamon, is found in Sri Lanka, and is sometimes referred to as “true” cinnamon.

Today, cinnamon can be packaged as a spice, supplement or tea; cinnamon pills and cinnamon supplements are used by people who want to lose weight, regulate their blood sugar levels and gain other health benefits.

Cinnamon is composed of the compounds cinnamic acid, cinnamaldehyde, eugenol and coumarin — all of which have antimicrobial (microbe-killing) abilities, according to a research review published in February 2019 in the journal Clinical Nutrition. The researchers also note that cinnamon is rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, which could help ward off diseases like cancer.

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