The cinnamon challenge has been around for decades, but it was only recently that it became an Internet phenomenon. In a nutshell, the cinnamon challenge where a person attempts to eat, swallow and digest a whole tablespoon of cinnamon in under a minute, and without the use of liquids to wash it down. While this challenge has spread like wildfire on many user-generated video content and social media sites, there are many critics who believe the challenge to be dangerous. But the cinnamon challenge phenomenon continues to grow, and new people are jumping on the bandwagon on an almost daily basis.
How the Cinnamon Challenge Phenomenon Got Started
The cinnamon challenge phenomenon started to gain traction around 2007 when it was aired on the TV program “Big Brother UK.” Show participants were given a tablespoon of cinnamon, and directed to swallow it in under minute without water or other lubricating liquids. Since then the trend has exploded online on both video content channels, and popular social media and networking sites.
Is the Cinnamon Challenge Safe?
The biggest question surrounding the cinnamon challenge phenomenon is if it is dangerous or not. Some of the most vocal critics of the challenge even claim that it poses a life threatening risk to the participants. This is based on the idea that there may not be enough saliva in your mouth to break down the cinnamon particles before ingesting the cinnamon powder. There is also the risk of inhaling the cinnamon powder, which can cause you to choke, cutting off air to your lungs. In fact, if you watch many of the cinnamon challenge videos, you’ll notice the participants start to cough, gag, choke, cry, wheeze, curse and show several other obvious signs of discomfort.
Additionally, there are growing concerns of cinnamaldehyde, the organic compound used in natural pesticide and fungicide applications. The worry that acute ingestion of cinnamon in large amounts can cause adverse health issues. These health issues include, but are not limited to acute skin toxicity, oral toxicity, dermal irritation, eye irritation and other skin and eye problems. There’s also the burning sensation of ingesting cinnamon. In simple terms, cinnamon is a spice and will cause burning in your mouth, throat, eyes and skin.
Some types of cinnamon can have adverse effects on blood sugar levels. For instance, Cassia cinnamon contains Ceylon, which is used widely in blood clotting medicine. Again, ingesting too much of this cinnamon too fast can result in blood and heart issues.
Lastly, if you have asthma, emphysema or COPD the challenge should be avoided altogether. This largely because cinnamon ingestion can lead to bronchial restriction.
The reality is that even as more and more people are trying the cinnamon challenge every day, there have never been any reports of a death by cinnamon. While there are some reported health concerns, the challenge appears to be safe and is not fatal. As with any type of physical challenge, be careful and understand all the risks involved with the challenge.
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