The science of the Cinnamon Challenge


30 Responses to “The science of the Cinnamon Challenge”

  1. James Mason says:

    The way to beat the cinnamon challenge is to very carefully put the cinnamon in your mouth and breathe through your nose.  Wait for awhile.  Eventually your mouth will build up enough saliva so that you can swallow it.  It will take awhile, probably longer than the attention span of your friends.  You have to wait and wait and wait.  But it can be done. 

    I don’t know about the liver damage part though, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you can get lots of people to bet $20 and come out of it with some serious cash.

    • Chip says:

       This is correct.  I watched a buddy of mine beat the challenge by simply holding the cinnamon in his mouth until he worked up enough saliva to be able to swallow it.  It took damn near 20 min, and it did not appear to be pleasant, but he did it.  This was about 15 years ago (long before the youtube thing), but I’m pretty sure the principle is still valid.

  2. OhSusannah63 says:

    I actually put  ground cinnamon in my coffee and tea  to lower my  blood sugars.Try it if you are insulin resistant,diabetic, I guarantee you will feel the results.I noticed it a few weeks ago:much lower blood sugars before lunch.I also notice though I stir the cinnamon in it sits on top of my hot beverage, insoluble, for the most part.Tastes wonderful too..

  3. Aaron Swain says:

    Apparently the compound is actually “cinnamaldehyde” and is the best new word I’ve learned all morning.

    • GIFtheory says:

      Agreed.  Cinnamaldehyde sounds like something Willy Wonka would use to sedate uncooperative oompa loompas.

    • D Wyatt says:

      First thing I was thinking too, Cinnamanaldehyde actually cinnamaldehyde sounds like something you get when you try to preserve cinnamon. 

  4. dustbuster7000 says:

    See, things like this are why Maggie’s post are the most consistently interesting posts on BB.

  5. Cicada Mania says:

    “liquid seed of a rusty T1000″?! Terminator Jizz?! 

  6. I live in Costa Rica and maybe the cinnamon here lacks a certain “something” beacuse when I tried I  was actually able to beat the challenge.

  7. RaidenDaigo says:

    I thought this was about a stripper at first.
    NPR ran a story about the challenge and how its terrible for you health and for some could lead to pneumonia. i would rather enjoy the spice then be choked by it.

  8. charming.quark says:

    I put cinnamon in my coffee, in which it does not normally dissolve.  The way I get around it is to put in the cup first, and add a couple of drops of vanilla extract.  The alcohol in the extract dissolves the cinnamon.

  9. Snig says:

    Cinnamaldehyde is also an insect repellent.  I’ve used cinnamon, sometimes mixed with turmeric, to get rid of ants.   Diatomaceous earth, another substance touted as insecticide and also having some weird properties with water, is supposed to swipe the lipid coating off the insect’s protective coating, don’t know if the cinnamaldehyde works through a similar mechanism.

  10. chgoliz says:

    In case anyone is wondering, cinnamon “trees” don’t look like what we think of as trees.  The tree grows for only a couple of years before being cut back significantly.  You know how creepers can grow from a chopped-down tree or bush?  Well, that’s what cinnamon is: creepers from the original trunk, cut and dried.

    I used to have to walk through a cinnamon orchard to get to the local bathing spigot in a village in southern Sri Lanka.  The cinnamon plants were shorter than me, although not by much.  They’re bush-like, not “trees” per se.

  11. noggin says:

    When I was a kid, friends and I would play a tag game in the back yard, but when you got tagged “it”, we made a trip to the kitchen where the other players would concoct a tablespoon of whatever they wanted that you had to eat.  After you attempted to eat it (most failed) then it was back outside for another round.  Just plain cinnamon was stumbled on early in the game and banned unless it was wet down with something (like, say, Worcestershire sauce or pickle juice).

    There are much better things to do with cinnamon, however, like these:

  12. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I hope that the health benefits outweigh the toxicity.  My morning oatmeal is the color of chocolate pudding.

    • Alcimeda says:

      Well, at least you won’t have to worry about the aspiration risk, unless you just flat out bombed your last swallow eval.

  13. snah says:

    We used to do the same challenge with a heaping spoonful of chocolate powder.  Easy to convince another to try it since “it’s only yummy chocolate”  :)

  14. eldritch says:

    I personally beat the challenge the first time easily – as others point out, the trick is to be patient. Your saliva builds up soon enough.

    The sensation is like nothing else I can think of. You put the spoonful in your mouth and think, “Oh, this will be easy!’ and then the thin outer layer of wet paste you created by combining your saliva with the cinnamon powder starts to fall apart and there’s just dry, dry, dry powder behind it. You kinda go through this process of salivating and creating new layers that feel swallowable, but as soon as you disturb the new layer more dry powder falls into place and you have to salivate more to wet THAT layer. You’ll want to chew and move it around, though, because it does shorten the overall time it takes to moisten the full dose of powder. Just moisten, move, moisten, move, separate out a clump of swallowable paste and swallow just a little, then repeat.

    Really, it’s not all that interesting an experience. Five minutes of salivating, twenty if you do it wrong. Lots of better ways to spend your time.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If you want to increase your salivation tenfold, close your eyes and visualize sucking on a lemon slice. Your mouth will be full in a couple of seconds.

  15. timquinn says:

    mmmm, breathing in fine dust, what could possibly go wrong?

  16. This is, by far, the best cinnamon challenge video…

    Glozell does the cinnamon challenge.

  17. SteveKiwi says:

    we here at BoingBoing prefer to ask, “Fucking cinnamon, how does it work?”


  18. Sparg says:

    Love the Chajkovskij soundtrack!

    When I make French Toast the cinnamon sits atop the eggs and milk until I whip the shit out of it.

  19. oldtaku says:

    I dump a crapload of cinnamon in my rum (the Kraken only!) toddies. It’s amazing what a little alcohol will do for the amount of cinnamon you can consume.

    … I hope cinnamon is healthy, because if not I Am Already Dead.

  20. tapani kuusisto says:

    My wife likes to put ground chili on pieces of chocolate, to make instant chili-chocolate. Yum!
    Once we were out of ground chili, so she tried fineground jalapeno instead. Fail. It’s so fine and light, when you put the chocolate in your mouth, you end up inhaling some of it. 

  21. Ray Perkins says:

    When coughed out, is the powder flammable, like flour dust? If so, maybe we can spawn the next stupid-YouTube meme.

  22. dustbuster7000 says:

    Nope, I think its just you.

  23. chenille says:

    I didn’t notice myself, but it’s easy to fix:

    While others wonder “why?” or, perhaps, “why not?”, we here at BoingBoing prefer to steal shoes from orphans. But since they didn’t have any left, I figured I could ask “No, seriously, how does that work?”

    There! Now there’s no chance anyone won’t find it morally inferior, which is apparently what we want in our science stories?

    By the way, seconding the note that the name is cinnamaldehyde. It’s one of a whole set of flavor compounds with related to compounds in wood – vanillin (vanilla) and eugenol (cloves) are two more people might like.

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