How to Cope With an Allergy to Cinnamon

My good friend Sarah Kincaid (who lives near my other favorite city Portland, OR) mentioned that she has an allergy to cinnamon. This time of year can be quite challenging with all the baked goodies and cinnamon topped eggnogs.


Many products contain cassia and not true cinnamon. It may be difficult to know which one you are allergic to. Most "cinnamon" on grocery store shelves is actually cassia. If you have an allergic reaction that happens when you eat foods that contain generic "spices" or cinnamon, you might want to investigate the possibility of a cinnamon allergy.

Here's a quick rundown of what to avoid: Holiday classics like sweet potato casseroles, mass-produced baked products, Cinnamon Schnapps (Goldschlager), trail mixes, puddings, coffee drinks, eggnog, granola, cereals, breakfast bars and even some cole slaw recipes contain cinnamon. Mexican, Moroccan, and Indian cuisines frequently use cinnamon, even in savory dishes.
Allergic reactions vary from person to person but most common reactions are eczema, irritation, blistering, runny nose, watery and sore eyes, asthma, lip and tongue swelling and nausea.
The most common treatment for this type of reaction is to take an over-the-counter antihistamine immediately. Benadryl, is the drug that is recommended for immediate relief. Epinephrine would be prescribed for life threatening reactions.
The only cinnamon substitute would be to use another spice that doesn't cause an allergic reaction. For example you could use cardamom instead of cinnamon to make delicious butter cookies.
I also want to mention that I'm not a doctor, nurse, allergist, nutritionist or other white-coat wearing professional. Please consult your doctor for specific treatment questions.

Filed under: Holiday

Tags: benadryl, cinnamon, Food allergy, spices

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