Fans of Asian cuisine are sure to be familiar with the signature aroma and flavor of cloves. These tiny, dried flower buds belonging to the evergreen clove tree is not only used for cooking but has also been used for centuries in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.
Clove is a rich source of compounds like eugenol and flavonoids like kaempferol. These are responsible for lending clove its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In addition to this, compounds like methyl salicylate and beta-caryophyllene work hand in hand with eugenol to make clove an effective pain killer and antibacterial medicine that is widely used by Western medicine in dental procedures.
Thus, it is no wonder that this super spice has so many health benefits to offer – from improved digestion and reduced cancer risk to better immunity and healthier skin.
10 Great Health Benefits of Cloves
Bring out this humble spice to clear up colds, boost your overall health, and fight off skin problems as well!
1. Cures Bad Breath
According to Chinese medicine, Qi is the energy that flows within the body and is said to aid in the movement of lymph, blood, nutrients, and toxins into and out of the body. Chinese medicine also believes that it is the stagnation of this energy that causes bad breath. Clove boosts Qi flow and has been used in Chinese medicine as an all-natural cure for bad breath. Clove cleans out the tongue, palate and the upper parts of the throat, eliminating any bacteria or decaying matter and its strong odor that alter the smell within the mouth. Chewing on some cloves or gargling with clove solution is the simplest way to keep bad breath at bay.
2. Improves Digestion
Clove contains essential oils like eugenic acid and crategolic acid that boost digestion. Clove triggers an increase in the production of digestive enzymes as well and also increases digestive motility, thus putting a halt on the overproduction of digestive gasses, which can otherwise lead to stomach bloating and flatulence. Cloves also soothe the gastrointestinal lining, thus alleviating diarrhea, stomach ache, and vomiting.
3. Controls Diabetes
Eating cloves with your meals can help bring down your insulin resistance levels significantly. Cloves also help insulin function better and much more efficiently, so that your body ends up using far less insulin to pull excess glucose into its cells for energy generation. Research demonstrates that not only do cloves boost insulin functioning and promote lower blood glucose levels, they also bring down total cholesterol, “bad cholesterol” or Low- Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels and triglyceride levels in type 2 diabetes patients.1
Clove also enhances the overall effect of gastrointestinal hormones that are responsible for emptying out your stomach at a much slower rate, thus keeping you full for longer. This way you don’t have to keep reaching out for empty sugar calories to satisfy your hunger pangs that could lead to dangerous insulin spikes.
4. Promotes Good Bone Health
The hydro-alcoholic extracts of cloves such as flavones, isoflavones, flavonoids, and eugenol safeguard bone density and the overall mineral content of your bones. They also work to boost the tensile strength of your bones.
Cloves are rich in bone-friendly nutrients such as manganese (a mineral that is essential for the production of connective tissue in bone and cartilage), omega-3 fatty acids (that aid in easier calcium absorption, bring down bone loss and help maintain healthy mineral density), Vitamin C (that boosts collagen production) and Vitamin K (that regulates and controls the activity of osteoclast cells).
5. Protects The Liver
The high amount of antioxidants in cloves shields your organs, particularly your liver, from harmful free radicals. Over time, metabolism brings about an increase in the production of free radicals while simultaneously bringing down the level of antioxidants in the liver that help fight these free radicals off. With its hepatoprotective properties, clove helps to counteract these effects, thus promoting long-lasting liver health.
6. Improves Immunity
Cloves are full of nutrients like iron and Vitamin C which boost immunity. It is, however, eugenol, that is really the star ingredient of cloves that makes a significant contribution in terms of boosting immunity. Clove also contains anti-viral and blood purification properties that reduce toxicity levels in the bloodstream and increase resistance against a wide variety of diseases by triggering antioxidant activity throughout the body. In this way, it helps make your immune system healthier and stronger so that you may stay protected from bacteria, germs, and viruses.
7. Has Anti-cancer And Antibacterial Properties
There is concrete evidence that clove extract can inhibit the growth and activity of breast, colon, liver, and ovarian cancer cells. Clove oil also has potent germicidal properties that make it a very effective natural remedy for dental pain, sore gums, mouth ulcers, and toothaches. Clove oil is known for treating various respiratory ailments such as colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory influence, properties that are once again, imparted by the compound, eugenol. Breathing in clove oil through a vaporizer loosens up much of the mucus that blocks the respiratory passages, thus improving breathing and curing congestion. Clove also makes a great home remedy for treating athlete’s foot and vaginal infections.
8. Relieves Stress
Clove tea made with cardamom, basil, and honey can help calm excited nerves and can also relieve stress and muscle spasms. Clove oil massages are in fact, quite popular since they are so effective in bringing down mental exhaustion, anxiety, tension, and fatigue.
9. Acts As An Aphrodisiac
Clove makes for an excellent aphrodisiac agent thanks to its fairly high ethanol content. It boosts the testosterone levels in men, bringing about an increase in sexual performance and reducing premature ejaculation.2
10. Promotes Healthy Skin
Applying clove oil topically on your skin helps remove acne. The eugenol contained in this spice works as a natural antiseptic that helps protect your skin, thus stopping future acne breakouts. Clove oil also acts as a gentle exfoliator and helps to naturally remove blemishes and scars to make your skin appear clear, healthy, and glowing.
For treating acne, add some clove oil to a carrier oil of your choice in the ratio 1:10 (i.e. 1 part clove oil, 10 parts carrier oil). Apply this mixture with the help of sterilized cotton balls on the affected areas of your skin.
|↑1||Tu, Zheng, Tijuana Moss-Pierce, Paul Ford, and T. Alan Jiang. “Syzygium aromaticum L.(Clove) extract regulates energy metabolism in myocytes.” Journal of medicinal food 17, no. 9 (2014): 1003-1010.|
|↑2||Ahmad, Shamshad, Abdul Latif, and Iqbal Ahmad Qasmi. “Effect of 50% ethanolic extract of Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & Perry.(clove) on sexual behaviour of normal male rats.” BMC complementary and Alternative medicine 4, no. 1 (2004): 17.|