What Are the Health Benefits of Cloves?
Clove, also called Syzygium aromaticum, Bourgeon Floral de Clou de girofle, Caryophylli Flos, Ding Xiang, Lavanga, Flores Caryophylli, Clous de Girolfe, among other names, is an aromatic spice commonly used as a flavoring agent in food and beverages. It is also used as a flavoring agent for other products such as soaps, cosmetics, cigarettes, and toothpaste. The cigarettes, which are called kreteks, contain 60% to 80% tobacco and 20% to 40% ground clove. Clove plants are grown in some parts of South America and Asia. The oils, dried flower buds, stems, and leaves from cloves are often used to make medicine. It is commonly applied directly to the gums for toothache, used as pain control during dental work and other dental-related issues. Clove is also beneficial to the skin as a counterirritant. What`s more? It is a powerful remedy for an upset stomach, and also effective as an expectorant. In combination with other ingredients, clove is applied to the skin as part of a multi-ingredient product used to avoid premature ejaculation.
Nutrients in Cloves
The main constituent of clove is eugenol which comprises 70-90% of the total clove constitution. Cloves also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Using cloves to add flavor to your food can enrich your body immensely. Let`s see the nutritional facts per 100 grams in clove:
- Total carbohydrate: 66g
- Calories: 270
- Sodium: 277mg
- Protein: 6g
- Total fat: 13g
- Potassium: 1,020mg
Here are the vitamins and minerals in clove
- Vitamin A: it contains 3%
- Calcium: 0.63
- Manganese: 64%
- Iron: 65%
- Vitamin B-6: 20%
10 Health Benefits of Clove
High in Antioxidants
Cloves are rich in antioxidants that reduce stress, thereby reducing the risk of chronic disease. They also contain a compound called eugenol which serves as a natural antioxidant. Eugenol has proven to stop oxidative damage caused by free radicals more effectively than many other antioxidants.
Cloves contain antimicrobial properties which can help stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and other infections. The antibacterial properties of clove can also help improve oral health. This, however, should be combined with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene. It is also confirmed that cloves kill E.coli, thus saving the stomach from any upset.
Cloves contain anti-inflammatory properties which are excellent in eliminating pains. It stimulates the pain receptors of the body and in the process helps to relieve the body of pain.
Cures Stomach Upset and Ulcer Pain
Clove spices are highly effective in ensuring that the gastrointestinal tract stays healthy. These spices eliminate stomach problems such as constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, intestinal gas, and more. The biochemical substances present in cloves are also helpful in reducing the problem of peptic painful ulcers. What`s more? They help reduce mucous which prevents digestive acids from affecting the stomach lining.
Clove oil is another natural acne treatment, as it is sometimes used for pimples. Ethanolic clove extracts containing eugenol suppress the activity of the bacterium and reduce a related inflammatory response.
Clove helps diabetic patients generate the amount of insulin that is required of the body. Cloves also help in regulating the blood sugar level of diabetics.
Good for Fatty Liver
The antioxidants present in cloves help in safeguarding the liver. Clove has hepatoprotective properties that prevent the effects caused by free metabolic which results in a decrease in the level of antioxidants in the liver.
Clove buds help increase the white blood cell count of the body which boosts the immune properties that comes with it. They reduce the body’s sensitivity to foreign agents that are responsible for causing harm and slowing down the natural functioning of the body.
Eliminates Bad Breath
Due to the distinct aroma of cloves, they are highly effective in removing bad breath. Using cloves to rinse the mouth is effective in fighting plaque, gingivitis, and other dental-related issues.
Enhances Bone Strength and Density
Cloves contain some hydro-alcohol extracts of phenolic compounds like eugenol, flavones, flavonoids, and isoflavones that help the body retain its bone density and increase the mineral contents of the bone. It contains manganese, a mineral that helps the bones function properly and also helps in building strong bones. It is particularly beneficial to those suffering from osteoporosis. It also plays a crucial role in enzyme activation, which helps support metabolism, wound healing, and neurotransmitter production.
Uses of Cloves
Cloves oils, flower buds, leaves, and stems serve various purposes, including medicinal. Here are some of its uses:
- Its essential oil is used in aromatherapy to relieve stress, and also as a stimulating substance.
- It is used to cause a numbing sensation.
- It is used as a spice in soups, stews, sauces, chicken, meat, and other cooking.
- It is an important ingredient in condiments like Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.
- Mulled wine and cider are also prepared with cloves.
- It can also be used in healing small tears in the lining of the anus (anal fissures)
- Taking an extract from clove flower buds before drinking alcohol will help reduce symptoms of a hangover in some people.
- It can also be used as a mosquito repellent when the clove oil is applied directly to the skin. It can help repel mosquitoes for up to 5 hours.
- It is used in making meals, alongside cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Some cloves are added to perfumes for fragrance.
Side Effects of Cloves
As much as there are benefits attached to cloves, it also comes with some side effects when one doesn’t follow them. The following are some side effects and warnings of cloves.
- Cloves may cause skin allergies to some people.
It can also cause eye, skin, and respiratory problems.
- Avoid taking it in large amounts because of its eugenol content which may affect the liver and cause serious damage.
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid the intake of cloves.
- Inhaling the smoke from cloves can lead to breathing and lung problems.
- Eugenol in cloves can also facilitate slow blood clotting.
- People who battle with bleeding disorders are advised to avoid it.
- Cloves are not for children because they may cause seizures, fluid imbalance, and liver damage.
- The use of clove oil on gums may damage the gums and mucous membranes.
- Avoid using clove oil for two weeks before surgery, as it can affect blood sugar levels and cause bleeding during or after the surgery.
Some More Clove Facts you Should Know…
Anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs interact with cloves, as they slow blood clotting. You`re advised not to take them alongside medications that also slow clotting because they can increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Eugenol, the main component of clove, is what slows blood clotting.
Avoid taking cloves with drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others), clopidogrel (Plavix), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and many others. Also, taking the appropriate dosage of clove depends on factors such as health, age, and several other factors. Research hasn’t shown the specific or appropriate dosage for clove, but you should note that not all natural products are extremely safe for consumption, and taking the right dosage is crucial to safety. It is advised that you consult your pharmacist or doctor before using it, to avoid health complications. Now that you know the health benefits and side effects, you should start consuming cloves safely already.