Cinnamon Essential Oils: The Three Types and How They're Different

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cinnamon bark essential oil

Cinnamon Essential Oils: The Three Types and How They’re Different

Cinnamon Essential Oils: The Three Types and How They're Different

The holidays are fast approaching. It won’t be long until families gather around the table for Holiday get-togethers. Before you know it, turkeys will be roasting in the oven and Christmas decorations will be going up all over the place.

There’s one fragrance that is sure to bring a warm, cozy holiday atmosphere: Cinnamon.  Diffuse cinnamon essential oil directly for its pleasant aroma, or use in your favorite DIY. Either way, cinnamon essential oils are perfect for bringing in the holiday spirit.

A quick search will reveal that Plant Therapy carries not one, but three different cinnamons. Don’t worry, it’s not as confusing as you’d expect. We’re here to break it down the differences and benefits for each one.

Cinnamon Essential Oils: The Three Types and How They're Different

1. Cinnamon Leaf

Steam distilled from the leaf of the cinnamomum verum evergreen, this essential oil has a medium aroma, making it a bit lighter than the other two varieties. In addition to its warm scent, it helps fight seasonal threats. Diffuse it to help keep yourself healthy during the spread of seasonal illnesses.

2. Cinnamon Bark 

Steam distilled from the same plant as Cinnamon Leaf, this essential oil is derived from the, you guessed it, the bark of cinnamomum verum. It has a stronger aroma than the scent of the oil distilled from the leaves and smells warm, spicy and woody. This oil also has can also help keep you healthy against seasonal threats. Because this is oil is stronger, we recommend a maximum dilution of 0.1% for any topical application.

3. Cinnamon Cassia

Although not technically true cinnamon, it is derived from the bark of a plant that is genetically similar. It has a strong aroma with a warm, spicy scent and just a hint of sweetness. Of the three, Cinnamon Cassia has the strongest germ-fighting properties and is used in our Germ Fighter Blend.

Keep in mind, all three of these cinnamon essential oils are not KidSafe.

Even though the differences between the three Cinnamon oils are subtle, each has own unique aroma, making it easy for you to create the perfect holiday ambiance.

35 thoughts on “Cinnamon Essential Oils: The Three Types and How They’re Different”

  1. When you say NOT KID safe, if I use the Cinnamon bark in recipe for Spider Deterrent and spray certain areas of the house , can you clarify? I know it isnt’ safe to diffuse or topically apply to children but looking at above scenario? Thank you

    1. If you wished to use Cinnamon Bark as a spider deterrent, it would be safe provided your kids were not in that area of the house and you can be sure they won’t have access to it for a few hours after use.

  2. I would like to use cinnamon oil to mix with lip balm to help plump my lips. Which kind should I use for that? Would you please answer in an email please.
    Mary Layne

  3. Is cinnamon cascia oil considered dangerous to use just as consuming cascia cinnamon can be (at least ccording to several sources)? I think Ceylon cinnamon is considered the best for consumption.

    1. We don’t recommend the ingestion of any essential oils. Cinnamon (all varieties) pose additional risks as they can be a skin and mucous membrane irritant. To learn more about ingestion and essential oils, please check out this article.

  4. This is interesting, I didn’t know the difference. I tried applying cinnamon neat once, NOT smart. I love cinnamon in the fall though so the best way I use it, is to put one drop in a diffuser necklace with orange oil. So good!!!

  5. Is cinnamon essential oil equal in strength to the kind of cinnamon oil used to make hard tack candy? How much cinnamon oil is equal to 1 tbsp of ground?

    1. We don’t recommend the ingestion of essential oils or using essential oils in cooking. You can read more about why that is here. Cinnamon essential oil, in particular, can cause skin irritation and is a mucous membrane irritant and should not be ingested.

  6. I want to use cinnamon topically. I read somewhere that cinnamon bark should not be used topically at all. I was wondering if cinnamon leaf was safe to use topically on adults?

    1. Hi Sharon, you are correct, you should use caution when applying Cinnamon topically. Cinnamon Cassia, which can cause irritation, calls for a maximum dilution of 0.05% and Cinnamon Bark calls for a maximum dilution of 0.1%. However, Cinnamon Leaf has a slightly higher dilution rate at 0.6%.

  7. Thank you for the good, clear explanation of the basic difference between the three cinnamon oils, but it would be very helpful to have a list of all the benefits and uses of each oil all in the same blog post. For example, which ones help with appetite control, which are anti-inflammatory or antiviral, which are good for cleaning, etc. PT products are excellent quality and I would like to make sure I’m using them efficiently.

  8. This blog says dilution for cinnamon bark should be .01%, but the product page says .1%. Could you please clarify which is right?

    1. The correct dilution is 0.1%, just like the product page. The blog has been corrected! Thank you so much for bringing that to our attention 🙂

  9. Thank you for the helpful info, I need to add Cinnamon Bark to my list. I have Cinnamon Leaf and Cinnamon Cassia and I like to diffuse Cinnamon Leaf with Peppermint and Rosemary in the morning to energize , both my daughter and boyfriend love the smell.

  10. I love anything cinnamon and it was interesting to read the differences in the 3 different oils. I often mix cinnamon (cassia), orange and a small amount of clove together to mop floors as it leaves the most amazing smell in cooler months. I love it!

    1. I totally agree! I bought the cinnamon cassia first (for topical use), but wasn’t 100% happy with the smell. I subsequently bought the cinnamon bark, and totally love it!! It’s perfect cinnamon! 🙂

  11. I love,love,love Cinnamon bark. I smelled the 3 oiks in Meridian store and liked the bark most and hace been diffusing it for a month now. Smells amazing.

  12. Would love to diffuse this as the thought of the scent throughout the house sounds heavenly. However, I have 4 grandchildren (14, 12, 8 and 3) so I know I can’t do that. How many drops would you use in an inhaler?

    1. Be cautious with cinnamon, it has blood thinning properties. I found cinnamon leaf to smell a little musty, but I love cinnamon bark!

  13. Thank you! It’s so nice to know the therapeutic differences in these three oils and that cassia is the best germ fighter of them all. I’ve been using the bark for this and now need to buy the cassia for my own germ fighter blend that I diffuse daily at this time of year! It is almost identical to the germ fighter blend which I have also enjoyed using recently!

  14. I love cinnamon scented anything! and the benefits make it much better! Thank you for this info! I do not have Cinnamon leaf, but I do have bark and cassia. I plan to make a pumpkin soap using some cinnamon, of the 2 I have, could you suggest which would be best? Thanks!

  15. I really love the cinnamon mixed with orange and cedar wood for a fall blend and germ fighting properties to mis it up from the usual germ fighter I diffuse nightly. I have found cinnamon leaf is great for hot baths as it calms the muscles and fights illness!

    1. Great question, Nessa! Cinnamon Leaf contains a significant amount of the chemical compound Eugenol, which has been shown to alter our neurosensory perceptions of the taste and smell of food and can ultimately help curb hunger cravings. Another great oil for this would be Clove Bud, which also contains a high percentage of Eugenol. Hope this helps!

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