Cloves rank among the most widely used spices on the planet. They’re indigenous to Indonesia and are formed from clove trees’ buds. When these buds are dried before they blossom, the clove spice is produced. Moreover, as well as its sweet tones, it can also provide many health benefits.
1. Strengthens the immune system
Germs are everywhere. They can come into contact with them through interacting with your pets and other humans, for example. And you might also pick them up through commonly shared objects such as public door handles, handrails, shopping carts or ATMs. However, if your immune system is strong, your defence against infections and diseases will be too.
A healthy diet can help strengthen the immune system. And, according to creativity website BrightSide, cloves can play a big part in that. You see, cloves have a large amount of vitamin C inside them, which increases the production of the white blood cells that are essential to battling diseases.
2. Aids digestion
The role of digestion is to process all of the food you eat. In doing so, your body will have what it needs to keep functioning the way it should. And while exercise and a good diet can aid digestion, cloves can also play a role in promoting gut health.
Cloves may encourage the release of enzymes in our digestive tracts. These are a naturally forming matter that’s essential to processing food. As a result, cloves help to combat issues such as indigestion, stomach cramps and bloating. BrightSide recommends taking cloves either honey-roasted or in powdered form. The cloves’ high fiber content can also prevent constipation.
3. Toothache relief
For more than a century, dentists have used a substance called eugenol in their work. During the 1830s, it was used for fillings. Later on, it was employed in oils to counter abscesses and gum disease, and also in root canal therapy. And cloves are themselves a source of eugenol.
Indeed, it has been commonplace in Asia for many years to treat tooth complaints with clove oil. You see, its anesthetic qualities can offer respite to pain while you arrange an appointment with your dentist to treat the problem. Either put a clove near the affected area in your mouth or rub your gums with clove oil.
4. Promotes liver health
What’s more, the eugenol in cloves can help elsewhere around the body. Take the liver, for instance. Now, the liver is the biggest player in human digestion, responsible for no less than 500 tasks to ensure optimal health. Basically, all that we ingest passes through the liver, and it knows what to store, what to release and what to flush out.
Your liver can benefit from a dose of the eugenol found in clover as well. Although there have only been a limited number of investigations carried out on humans, scientists have observed the effects of clover oil in other animals. And they noticed that it resulted in reduced inflammation and improved liver efficiency. Moreover, another research project even suggested eugenol may undo damage caused by cirrhosis.
5. General pain and inflammation relief
The element contained in cloves that gives them anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects is eugenol. Furthermore, eugenol impedes enzymes and blocks the causes of swelling that might occur through injury or illness. This aromatic spice, then, is not only a versatile ingredient for drinks and cooking but is also widely used in herbal medicine.
Moreover, due to the spice’s versatility, it’s easy to incorporate it into your diet. For instance, you can make hot teas infused with cloves, as well as cocktails and other alcoholic drinks. They also have a pleasant aroma and are good for flavoring meat in roasts or curries, as well as smoothies, cookies and cakes.
6. Promotes bone and joint health
Nowadays, kids are often encouraged to consume foods that help their bones to develop. However, bone health is something that should be maintained in adult life, too. You see, as people grow older, from around their early 30s onwards, bones gradually become weaker. Cloves, then, can help maintain their robustness.
Cloves, you see, are packed full of nutrients that improve bone condition. As well as the aforementioned eugenol, the spice also contains manganese and flavonoids, all of which help to encourage bone growth. Not only that, but they also act as transporters for other minerals in the body.
7. They fight bacteria
The gut is a breeding ground for certain types of bacteria, even if its host is in good health. E. coli, for instance, inhabits the innards of many healthy creatures, including humans. In the majority of cases, it won’t cause any problems. The more virulent varieties, however, are liable to make the carrier very ill.
Experts from Argentina’s University of Buenos Aires studied the effects of cloves on such bacteria. They observed how staphylococcus – an infection that typically affects the skin – and E. coli reacted to clove oil. What they discovered was that the cells of the bacteria altered, causing the presence of infection to noticeably reduce.
8. They’re full of antioxidants
When the body digests food, it produces cells called free radicals. They are unnecessary and need to be expelled, as they can cause a harmful state known as called oxidative stress. Moreover, if there are too many in your body, illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can occur.
Cloves, however, are the best defense against free radicals. You see, they contain more polyphenols – an antioxidant-rich micronutrient – than any other food. When absorbed into the body, polyphenols are capable of increasing artery health, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, and generally allowing us to lead longer lives.
9. Potentially act as a blood-sugar regulator
Levels of blood sugar fluctuate after a meal. For instance, carbohydrates are digested into sugars, which then make their way around the body. When this happens, the pancreas will emit insulin to help process the sugar. That in turn lowers the amount of blood sugar in the body. Mild reactions to sudden drops in blood sugar include hunger and lethargy. And in more serious cases, diabetes can occur.
A diet containing few carbohydrates can help maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. In addition, it’s thought that consuming cloves can also help. You see, the nutrients in cloves behave in the same way insulin does. This means they can assist with maintaining stable levels of blood sugar.
10. Ease blood clotting
Blood clots usually appear as the body’s natural defense against cuts and so forth. They occur when the blood tissue thickens to stem the loss of blood. When the cut has healed, typically the clots will dissolve and blood returns to its natural density. However, if clots remain and start moving through the bloodstream, arteries can become blocked.
But, the magic ingredient in cloves – eugenol – has been found to ease the rate at which blood clots. However, given the necessity of clotting under some circumstances, caution should be exercised before including more cloves into meals. For instance, if you’re taking any medications designed to ease clotting, check with a medical expert first.
11. Source of key nutrients
Cloves may not look like much, but they pack numerous nutrients into a small bud. As little as a teaspoon of ground cloves, for instance, provides a gram of carbohydrates and fiber, and almost one third of the recommended daily intake of manganese. They contain various vitamins as well.
Fiber is, of course, essential to healthy bowel movements, while vitamin C can help build up the immune system. Moreover, the manganese found in cloves helps keep your brain sharp as well as strengthening bones. Other nutrients can be found, too, including calcium for basic bodily functions, as well as vitamin E and magnesium for healthy cells.
12. Potential cancer-prevention properties
In fact, studies suggest that some nutrients contained in cloves may help to ward off cancer. Researchers observed in a test tube study that the compounds that make up cloves halted the development of tumors, while also killing off cancerous cells. Separate research supported this theory when clove oil killed off more than three-quarters of cells that form esophagus cancer.
Cloves’ cancer-fighting properties are again linked to eugenol. Indeed, further testing showed the compound playing a role in the destruction of cancer cells in the cervix as well. However, it should be noted that these studies involved using eugenol, clove oil and clove extracts in very concentrated forms. And if humans were to consume such high doses of these compounds, it could cause severe complications such as liver damage.
13. Promotes oral health
As mentioned earlier, cloves are shown to have antibacterial properties in the gut. And those effects apply elsewhere in the body, too. For instance, not only can cloves help relieve the pain of toothache, but they might also help kill the bacteria that can form in the mouth, making cloves effective for oral health.
Researchers at Belgium’s K.U. Leuven University observed the effects of a natural herbal mouthwash containing cloves. When combined with tea tree oil and basil, the homemade recipe was effective in fighting plaque and bacteria. What’s more, improvements were noted after only three weeks of use.
Studies suggest that cloves may also be effective in treating stomach ulcers as well. These form when the stomach’s defenses against the acids used to break down food is no longer effective. Ulcers affect the stomach lining, esophagus and first part of the small intestine, and they can be painful. Clove oil, however, may help.
In a study undertaken on animals, the oil from cloves was observed to stimulate gastric mucus production. This substance creates a barrier between the lining of the stomach and the acids that break down food, therefore preventing ulcers. Separate research also suggested that the nutrients from cloves were effective in fighting stomach ulcers.
15. Regulate hunger levels
When you’re feeling hungry, your stomach can sometimes produce a growling sound. Well, that noise actually happens all the time as your small intestine breaks down the food in tour stomach. It’s just that sometimes air gets mixed in with the food, only you won’t necessarily hear it. When your stomach is empty, however, the noises are louder. And if you’re embarrassed by those sounds, cloves might help.
You see, the fiber contained in cloves can help to suppress any grumbling while you’re waiting for lunchtime to roll around. As nutritionist Amy Gorin explained to health website Well And Good in February 2019, “For a spice, cloves have an impressive amount of fiber – a nutrient that can help regulate your hunger levels. One teaspoon of cloves alone provides close to a gram of fiber.”
16. Treat headaches
Headaches can have many causes, from stress to dehydration. For instance, pain can be the result of illnesses such as the common cold or flu. You might have headaches as the result of eye problems, or, for women, the menopause or menstrual cycle. But, whatever the cause, cloves might help alleviate the pain.
Indeed, it’s easy to treat headaches using a simple recipe containing cloves. First, grind up a few clove buds into a paste and add a small pinch of rock salt. Add the mixture to a glass of milk and drink it. The anesthetic qualities of cloves will soon help to alleviate the pain. In fact, according to Indian news outlet NDTV’s food channel, even the aroma of cloves will offer some relief.
17. Can have negative effects
It’s evident, then, that there are many health benefits to incorporating cloves into your diet. However, as is true for anything, too much of a good thing can have unwanted consequences. “I would actually recommend speaking with your doctor or medical team before adding cloves in medicinal doses and/or clove oil to your diet,” Gorin explained. “There can be potential risks to consuming larger amounts of cloves.”
“Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid taking clove oil or cloves in medicinal doses. In children, clove oil may cause seizures, liver damage, or fluid imbalances,” Gorin continued. “And because clove oil contains eugenol, which may slow blood clotting, people should avoid clove oil or cloves in medicinal doses at least two weeks before surgery, and people with bleeding disorders should avoid it completely. Also, the application of clove oil in the mouth or gums may cause damage to the mouth.”
18. They don’t always mix with medication
Cloves don’t necessarily play well with others, which means you should be cautious if you’ve taken standard painkillers. “There may also be interactions with clove oil/medicinal doses of cloves with medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and warfarin,” Gorin said. “So I’d recommend speaking with your doctor before adding a high amount of cloves to your diet.”
Nonetheless, cloves are OK in moderation. “If you make a batch of muffins with cloves in them and have a couple, you should be fine,” Gorin clarified. It’s when the spice is consumed excessively that issues may begin to arise. Guidelines on safe amounts of cloves have yet to be defined. As a result, if you’re worried about anything, consult a health professional.
19. Safeguards D.N.A.
Sometimes our D.N.A. can be adversely affected by mutagens. These are compounds that can alter the structure of D.N.A. and cause abnormalities. Now, phenylpropanoids are a compound found widely across the plant kingdom. They help to build cell walls, as well as protecting against damage from U.V. radiation and strong light. And they also play a role in humans.
Furthermore, cloves are packed with phenylpropanoids. Research has been carried out studying the effects of this compound on D.N.A. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the results showed that cells affected by mutagens displayed significant resistance to their mutagenic effects when treated with phenylpropanoids.
An aphrodisiac is a substance that arouses desire or enhances sexual experiences. While drugs can sometimes be used to achieve these results, such effects can also be produced by natural sources such as herbs and spices. Moreover, cloves are among the spices believed to have libido-boosting qualities.
For many centuries, spices such as nutmeg and cloves have been used to boost sexual urges. For example, Unani medicine – an ancient Greek practice adopted in India that uses natural remedies – supports this claim. Furthermore, tests have shown that the nutrients in nutmeg and cloves have similar effects to synthetic drugs made for the purpose of increasing sexual pleasure.