Cloves are a pungent spice that is native to Asian countries like Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and even parts of East Africa. Made from the flower buds of an evergreen tree called the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum), cloves have been used in India and China for over 2,000 years as a spice both to check tooth decay and to counter bad breath.
Cloves have a strong and flavorful aroma and are often used in a number of savory dishes, desserts, and drinks. It’s an important spice that gives many dishes that extra kick. In fact, ground cloves are often used to spice up curries and season meats and are also used to enhance the flavor of many sauces and spiced baked goods.
However, are you aware that cloves have many medicinal virtues as well? In fact, having cloves on a daily basis can be really advantageous to your body. Find out how.
1. They are chock-a-bloc with vital nutrients
Cloves are loaded with fiber, vitamins C, and vitamin K, along with various other minerals. According to the USDA Food Data Central, some of the nutrients found in cloves are carbohydrates, protein, energy, and dietary fiber. They also contain minerals such as potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Cloves are a great source of beta-carotene, a nutrient too that the body readily converts into vitamin A.
Thus, including cloves in your diet will only help improve your overall health.
2. They are high in antioxidants
Cloves are full of antioxidants, compounds that help protect your cells against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are produced when your body breaks down food. They can damage the body’s cells and even cause many diseases. Antioxidants, however, can help reduce oxidative stress which is described as harmful as it’s an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
Furthermore, the active ingredient in cloves is eugenol, a compound that is known to act as a natural antioxidant and can even help lessen signs of liver cirrhosis and fatty liver disease.
3. Aid in good digestion
Cloves have been used in several traditional medicinal cultures to cure different stomach issues. According to the book ‘Herbs that Heal: Natural Remedies for Good Health’, cloves promote enzymatic flow and boost digestive functioning. They are even used in various forms of gastric irritability and dyspepsia. Moreover, licking the powder of fried cloves mixed with honey is known to be quite effective in controlling vomiting. This is because the anesthetic action of cloves numbs the gullet and stomach and hence stops the vomiting.
4. Helps improve dental health
Clove bud extracts are known to help control the growth of oral pathogens that can cause different oral diseases. According to a study, cloves can also be taken for a reduction in gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Because of its antiseptic properties, it helps to decrease any oral infection.
Clove is great for decreasing toothache as well. Just place one piece of clove in your mouth and gently start chewing it. If the toothache is too severe, then crush some cloves and rub the powder on the affected area. You can also use clove oil and apply it to a cavity in a decayed tooth to help relieve pain.
5. Fights inflammation
Evidence suggests that cloves may have anti-inflammatory properties and can also relieve the pain associated with arthritic inflammation. Eugenol, the active ingredient in cloves, has been shown to reduce the inflammatory response in the body. It has been particularly helpful in reducing the symptoms related to diseases such as arthritis.
You can add two to four whole cloves to a bowl of warm soup or add them to your morning smoothie to boost its anti-inflammatory effects.
6. May help reduce stomach ulcers
As we have already mentioned above, cloves have anesthetic properties and can be helpful to treat various forms of gastric irritability. Research shows that some compounds found in cloves can also help treat stomach ulcers. The essential oil from cloves has been shown to increase the production of gastric mucus that helps prevent erosion of the stomach lining from digestive acids. This hence protects the stomach lining from developing any sort of ulcers.
Another study in animals found that clove extract helped treat stomach ulcers and showed effects similar to anti-ulcer medications.
7. They are great to fight off a headache
Clove has cooling and relieving properties that can be great for fighting off headaches. If the headache is too intense, then make a paste of clove and salt crystals and have it with milk. Alternatively, you can also crush some cloves and put them in a handkerchief. Keep inhaling it every few minutes and you should get some relief in a short while. Another trick that might help is to add some clove oil to the crushed powder and then rub it gently on your forehead.
8. They are good for your liver health
As we have mentioned, cloves contain high amounts of antioxidants. These antioxidants are great for protecting the liver because of their ability to help decrease oxidative stress. Moreover, the compound eugenol found in cloves has been found to be particularly beneficial for the liver. Some trials have found that eugenol helps reduce signs of liver cirrhosis and fatty liver disease.
That being said, eugenol is toxic in high amounts and hence we shouldn’t consume too many cloves at the same time as that might have an adverse effect on the liver.