Whether you want to use them in your kitchen to bring flavor to your meals during Christmas, ease a toothache, or make an air-freshening spray, cloves can be used in every home thanks to their many uses and potential benefits.
Clove is best known in the culinary world for its sweet and spicy taste and distinct aroma. It is a great spice for holiday hot beverages like chai and mulled wines, and in pumpkin pie, muffins, and cakes. Indian spices like garam masala and dishes like curries, as well as common products like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, also contain cloves. Clove tea can be easily made by steeping the buds in boiled water.
Cloves contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. One teaspoon of cloves contains only 6 calories and 1 gram of sugar. It also has 55 % of the daily value of manganese, a mineral essential for brain and bone health.
Vitamins like K and C are also found in cloves, although in much smaller quantities.
Cloves are rich in a variety of antioxidants, particularly eugenol, which is found in high concentrations in clove bud and leaf oils.
Antioxidants have the ability to fight free radicals that play a role in the development of chronic diseases, from arthritis to heart disease and cancer. The levels of free radicals increase with stress, pollution, unhealthy habits like smoking, and during aging.
Clove oil is widely used in dentistry because it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities, in addition to antimicrobial and anti-tartar effects. It can be used as a home remedy and applied topically for toothaches, gum inflammation, sore throat, and headaches.
Although used for decades as a pain killer, the FDA still classifies clove oil into a class III category, which means there is inadequate data to support efficacy.
Anyone who opens a bottle of clove essential oil will likely remember the first trip to the dentist, because that substance with a strong, unique smell used for delta procedures and cleaning is clove oil.
Clove oil is particularly effective against bacteria in the mouth, but may also kill microbes like Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Based on studies conducted in test tubes and animal subjects, clove extract may help balance blood sugar levels by supporting the function of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
Healthy insulin levels are required for blood sugar control. People with diabetes can enjoy this spice but should monitor their blood sugar levels if using larger amounts or supplements with cloves.
A small clinical trial found that eugenol supplementation for one week can help improve the level of specific liver enzymes involved in liver detoxification. Therefore cloves may help protect the liver cells from scarring or inflammation.
Larger, well-designed studies are needed to confirm these benefits and also to evaluate whether long-term use of eugenol supplements is safe.
Cloves seem to increase gastric mucus production, which could help keep the stomach lining from getting inflammation or ulcers. This spice may also have the ability to kill certain strains of H.Pylori, the bacterium responsible for many cases of gastritis and ulcers.
Scientists hope to use clove in the future as a natural antimicrobial agent against H.pylori infections that are resistant to standard antibiotics.
While cloves are safe when consumed in small quantities, as a spice for desserts, large quantities can be toxic. Clove oil — and any other essential oil — should be kept away from children and in the original bottles with flow restriction. The key ingredient, eugenol, may increase the risk of bleeding in those who use blood thinners.
Medically known as Syzygium aromaticum, cloves are cultivated worldwide. Although mostly used as a spice, cloves were also popular in folk medicine mostly for their analgesic and antibacterial qualities, in the Indian traditional medicine of Ayurveda and ancient Egypt.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.