Is cinnamon a nut allergy?

No, cinnamon is not considered a nut allergy, cinnamon is a spice derived from the inner bark of several species of trees in the Cinnamomum genus. This bark is harvested and dried into rolls, which are then ground into a powder (cinnamon). Even though cinnamon is not a nut, it doesn’t mean that you can’t develop an allergy or sensitivity to it.

Is cinnamon safe for tree nut allergy sufferers?

Most likely yes. Cinnamon is made from tree bark and not a tree nut, most allergists suggest that cinnamon is safe to consume if you have a tree nut allergy.

Consume with caution

Regardless of a tree nut allergy, you can still have an intolerant or allergic reaction to cinnamon. Even without consuming cinnamon, just being around cinnamon that has become airborne can give you allergy-like symptoms too.

Consult with your doctor about any concerns you may have about your health and safety, especially as they relate to allergic reactions.

Cross-reactivity to cinnamon

left image of a tree nut, right image of cinnamon being poured out of a spoon and into a bowl. Overlay words say "cross reactivity"

It is important for those with nut allergies or any other food allergy to be aware of cross-reactivity and how it could possibly affect them when eating different foods or ingesting certain substances like cinnamon.

Cross-reactivity definition

Cross-Reactivity is when a person has an allergic reaction, the proteins in one allergen might be similar to those found in another. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology explains that if someone is sensitive to birch tree pollen; they may find that consuming apples results in a reaction as well.

While not everyone who has a tree nut allergy will be affected by cinnamon and vice versa, it is important for those who may have a potential risk of cross-reactivity to always read labels on products and discuss their food allergies with their doctor or allergist before trying something new.

Nut and cinnamon cross contamination

food factory worker watching a conveyor belt with cookies on it. Overlay words say "cross contamination"

Nut processing can cause cross-contamination when other foods are processed in the same place. For example, if a tree nut you’re allergic to is processed in the same place as cinnamon, some of the nut’s proteins could get mixed with the cinnamon. This may cause you to have an allergic reaction.

Cinnamon may be on food labels as “spices”

food label ingredients list with the term "spices" highlighted in red.

If you have an allergy or sensitivity to cinnamon be careful with labels that say the food contains “spices”. The term “spices” includes over 80 substances, according to the FDA. There are three types of cinnamon that may be hiding on our food labels:

  • Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Chinese Cinnamon
  • Saigon Cinnamon

Can you be allergic to cinnamon?

Yes, it is possible to be allergic to cinnamon (spice allergy), and the allergy can develop at any point during your life. A cinnamon allergy is when your immune system sees cinnamon as a harmful invader (mistakenly) and produces histamines to try and protect your body from harm.

What is a cinnamon sensitivity?

A cinnamon sensitivity is an adverse reaction to cinnamon that does not involve the immune system. Symptoms of a cinnamon sensitivity can range from minor gastrointestinal discomfort to headaches, rashes, fatigue, and joint pain.

Do you think you have a cinnamon allergy or sensitivity?

If you suspect you have a cinnamon allergy or sensitivity, I recommend you check out this cinnamon allergy article. There you will find in-depth information about cinnamon allergies like symptoms, types of reactions, and treatment options.