Perhaps you’re the kind of person who finds the idea of eating large amounts of cinnamon in order to impress your friends intriguing. Before you take on the so-called “cinnamon challenge” however, you should know that some researchers are finding that not only is it dangerous while you’re doing it — with effects like choking, gagging, a burning sensation — but it could damage your lungs in the long-run.
Cinnamon is delicious, but the stunt of swallowing an entire tablespoon of dry cinnamon without water, a popular dare with the kids these days, isn’t so appetizing. A new bit of research says chowing large amounts of the spice could mean “long-lasting lesions, scarring and inflammation of the airway” or even lung damage, reports USA Today.
Around the country there have been around 30 reported issues arising from the challenge that needed medical care in 2012. Some teens have even needed to go on ventilator support after experiencing collapsed lungs, says the research in the new issue of Pediatrics.
It’s even worse for people who already have lung issues like asthma. For those, eating large amounts of dry cinnamon could do a lot of damage, says the study’s author, Steven Lipshultz.
“It could really put them in a bad way,” he says.
There aren’t any studies of cinnamon inhalation in humans, but animal studies have shown that the lungs are worse for the wear after just one time — and the damage stays for weeks or even months.
“In humans, that would be the equivalent of an elderly person developing emphysema and needing oxygen,” Lipshultz explains.
Of course, he adds, eating small amounts of cinnamon or mixing it with other foods doesn’t cause any problems for most people.
Let’s see — make your friends laugh for a few minutes and suffer long-term health effects, or forgo the laughs and keep your lungs healthy… Yeah, we’ll go with not dumping dry spice down our throats, thanks.