Spices form the backbone of any food item. They make the food tasty and also have other benefits. They are most commonly used as blends. They are also used in various cosmetic products like toothpaste. However, some people are allergic to spices like cinnamon even though it is quite rare. Spice Allergy is stated to occur in only 4-10 of 10,000 people. Females tend to develop it more as a result of cosmetics used by them. There is very little information in the literature on the prevalence of spice allergy in children.
A spice allergy in majority of the cases causes problems with breathing when high risk individuals are exposed to it through inhalation. Symptoms on the skin can be seen when an individual with spice allergy comes in direct contact with spices. A detailed and comprehensive history of the individual is quite effective in diagnosing spice allergy. Despite the wide use of spices and the knowledge that it contains variety of allergens, Spice Allergy still remains a condition that is significantly underdiagnosed. 
Avoidance of spices is the most preferred and effective way of treating this allergy. However, this may not always be possible and more research needs to be done to come up with better treatment approaches. Among the variety of spices, cinnamon is a spice that is used widely in sweet dishes to add flavor to it. Cinnamon is found in abundance in China and Indian peninsula.[1, 2]
Cinnamon is most preferred spice used in various food products, flavored drinks, and cosmetics like toothpastes. It also has many medicinal properties which makes it even more popular. However, some people are unable to tolerate cinnamon or develop reactions when using a product containing this spice. Such individuals are either deemed intolerant or allergic to cinnamon.
These people basically are allergic to the various proteins that are present in cinnamon. This article gives a brief overview of some of the presenting features of cinnamon allergy and different ways to manage the condition.
Presenting Features Of Cinnamon Allergy
Before describing the clinical features of Cinnamon Allergy, it is important to have an idea of how and where cinnamon is used. Cinnamon is used in various desserts and puddings to add flavor to it. They are also used in various baked products. The most common use of cinnamon is in ice-creams. It is widely used in Indian curries and flavored rice items. Various types of sauces also add cinnamon to add flavor to it.
Some type of herbal teas also makes use of cinnamon for added flavor. It should be noted especially in people who have cinnamon allergy that in many packaged products cinnamon would not be mentioned directly but would be labeled as spices or flavors. Daily use products like toothpaste, mouth wash, and perfumes also make use of cinnamon as an ingredient.
Coming to the presenting features of Cinnamon Allergy, if an individual gets exposed to cinnamon directly or through inhalation then he or she will experience dizziness and nausea sometime after the exposure. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology states that around 4% of people with different food allergies tend to also have cinnamon or spice allergy.
Additionally, the individual may get a rash in cases of a direct contact with cinnamon. They may also develop cough immediately after the exposure. This is usually the case when the individual inhales the spice. In extremely rare cases, an individual may develop an anaphylactic reaction due to Cinnamon Allergy. This will cause problems with breathing, a drastic drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and the individual showing symptoms of this condition needs to be taken to the emergency room immediately for treatment.
An anaphylactic reaction develops in extremely sensitive groups. They may get a reaction just by touching the spice. Inhalation or consumption of the spice will cause worsening of symptoms. In other cases, the presenting features of Cinnamon Allergy include stomach pain with episodes of diarrhea. Some people experience vomiting immediately after eating food which contains cinnamon. They may also develop facial swelling along with tingling and an itching sensation all over the body when exposed to cinnamon. Inflammatory rashes are also quite common in people with Cinnamon Allergy.
It is recommended that people with Cinnamon Allergy should always be alert especially when eating out since it is the most common spice that is used in cooking. People with Cinnamon Allergy tend to be on a severely restricted diet. Some people just to avoid the allergen may stop eating the amount of food that the body requires for daily functioning. This often at times leads to malnutrition. It is advised that people with Cinnamon Allergy consult with an allergist for best management approaches and ways to avoid triggers without compromising on the quality of life.
A consultation with a nutritionist will also be quite helpful as they can formulate a diet plan which is free of cinnamon or other spices that the individual may be allergic to and ensure that they get the required nutrition. Additionally, when buying food products or cosmetics, care should be taken to read the label and ensuring that it does not contain any cinnamon.
Treatment & Management of Cinnamon Allergy
Coming to the treatments of Cinnamon Allergy, avoidance of triggers is the best way to deal with the condition. In case if an individual develops symptoms of an allergic reaction then a visit to the physician is recommended. For mild to moderate symptoms the physician may recommend an antihistamine to control the symptoms. Benadryl is the most preferred antihistamine given for variety of allergic reactions. However, this medication has a side effect profile of drowsiness. Thus it is recommended that people should not drive or operate heavy machinery while on Benadryl.
For people with food allergies including Cinnamon Allergy, the physician will recommend carrying an autoinjector always to control the symptoms of allergies whenever required. An autoinjector contains epinephrine which controls the symptoms of allergies, including those of an anaphylactic reaction, immediately till the time the individual goes to the emergency room for treatment.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology also recommends autoinjector for children with various food allergies. They recommend that it should be mandatory for every school and daycare center to have autoinjector in their safety kit so that it can be used if a child has symptoms of allergy.
Cinnamon Allergy needs a consultation with a physician especially in cases where the symptoms are severe. In case if an individual is believed to be having an anaphylactic reaction then he or she should be taken to the emergency room at the earliest possible time. This is because anaphylaxis can be life-threatening if it remains untreated.
In conclusion, Spice Allergy is quite an uncommon condition and only approximately 4% of people tend to have it. Cinnamon is one such spice that is widely used as a flavoring agent in many sweet dishes and even in some Indian curries. People with Cinnamon Allergy can begin to have symptoms either when coming in direct contact with the spine or when inhaling it.
While most symptoms of Cinnamon Allergy are mild to moderate and treatable with antihistamines in some cases the individual may develop an anaphylactic reaction which is a serious allergic reaction and requires immediate treatment. People who are at high risk for anaphylactic reactions need to carry an autoinjector with them always to use whenever there is a sudden onset of symptoms to prevent unwarranted complications.