Saigon cinnamon, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia, comes from the tree Cinnamomum loureiroi (1Trusted Source).
Used in many dishes around the world, it has a strong, sweet, and spicy flavor and aroma.
What’s more, Saigon cinnamon is linked to a number of health benefits.
This article tells you everything you need to know about Saigon cinnamon, including its potential benefits and how it differs from other varieties.
What makes Saigon cinnamon different
There are two main classes of cinnamon — Ceylon and cassia.
They comprise four major species, most of which — including Saigon cinnamon — are considered cassia varieties (1Trusted Source).
Saigon cinnamon contains more cinnamaldehyde than other types. This compound is responsible for its strong flavor and aroma and has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (1Trusted Source).
Coumarin is a chemical naturally found in cinnamon that can have toxic effects. Based on animal research, the European Food Safety Authority determined a tolerable daily intake to be 0.05 mg per pound (0.1 mg per kilogram) of body weight (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
This equates to about 1 teaspoon (2.5 grams) of Saigon cinnamon daily.
Ceylon cinnamon, which is derived from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree and considered “true cinnamon,” is much lower in coumarin and poses less risk of toxicity (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Still, as this type is more expensive, most grocery stores carry the cheaper cassia variety.
SUMMARYSaigon cinnamon is a species of cassia cinnamon with a stronger flavor and aroma than other varieties. Though it’s considered to be lower quality than Ceylon cinnamon, it’s less expensive and easily found in grocery stores.
Saigon cinnamon has been linked to several health benefits.
May help reduce blood sugar levels
Research suggests that cinnamon may help reduce blood sugar, which is especially important for people with diabetes.
Saigon cinnamon is a type of cassia cinnamon, which may play a role in reducing insulin resistance.
What’s more, several studies in people with diabetes indicate that taking 1–6 grams of cinnamon in supplement form daily for 4–16 weeks may moderately reduce blood sugar levels (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
However, these studies refer to cassia cinnamon in general and not the Saigon variety specifically.
Though cinnamon may moderately affect your blood sugar levels, most studies have been too small or haven’t found sufficient evidence to support its effectiveness for this use. Thus, more research is needed (3Trusted Source).
Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
The spice also contains several anti-inflammatory compounds that can benefit your health.
Chronic inflammation is linked to several conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, certain cancers, and heart disease (8Trusted Source).
Diets rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are associated with a reduced risk of many of these and other illnesses (7Trusted Source).
Saigon cinnamon is high in cinnamaldehyde — the compound that gives the spice its unique flavor and aroma. This compound is also responsible for many of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (1Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
In fact, cinnamaldehyde is the main substance in cassia varieties, accounting for nearly 73% of its composition (11).
Additionally, human studies indicate that supplementing with high doses of cinnamon extract can increase blood antioxidant levels and decrease markers of oxidative stress, which can lead to cellular damage (9Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
Though research is promising, more studies are needed to understand the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Saigon cinnamon specifically.
May have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
Indeed, the spice is used in both food and cosmetic products to decrease the risk of bacterial contamination (19Trusted Source).
However, few studies are available on Saigon cinnamon specifically.
Another test-tube study observed that cinnamon extract oil may be more effective than other oils at targeting and eradicating Borrelia sp., the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (21Trusted Source).
Though the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of cinnamon are promising, more studies in humans and on Saigon cinnamon specifically are needed to better understand these effects.
Here are some additional suggested benefits of Saigon cinnamon:
- Improves taste. According to one study, adding Saigon cinnamon to foods may improve palatability. Additionally, due to its naturally sweet and spicy taste, it may be a good alternative to low-calorie sweeteners (22Trusted Source).
- Strong flavor. Saigon cinnamon has a stronger flavor than other varieties, perhaps making it a preferable choice if you enjoy a more robust flavor.
SUMMARYSaigon cinnamon may reduce blood sugar levels and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. Plus, it’s a tasty addition to your diet. Nonetheless, more research on Saigon cinnamon specifically is needed.
You can easily add it to baked goods, yogurt, cereal, and even certain savory dishes.
Here are some ways to enjoy Saigon cinnamon:
- Sprinkle it on oatmeal.
- Add it to a smoothie.
- Bake with it in muffins, pies, or breads.
- Add it to curries or marinades.
- Add whole cinnamon sticks to a pot of tea.
SUMMARYSaigon cinnamon can easily be added to your diet and used in a variety of dishes.