In this article, we’ll explore more about the Health Benefits of Cloves, including any possible side effects and drug interactions.

See also Rosemary Benefits and 9 Incredible Benefits of Cayenne Pepper.

What Are Cloves?

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are the dried, unopened flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. They originate in Indonesia and have a long history of use in Asian cuisine.

Cloves first became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages, but you can find them today in almost every part of the world.

They have a strong, pungent flavor that is both sweet and slightly bitter and can be used to flavor different dishes, including curries, sauces, pickles, and baked goods. Cloves are also used in herbal teas and as a natural remedy for various ailments.

Cloves are available as whole or ground. Ground cloves are commonly used in baking, while whole cloves are often used to flavor soups and sauces or make tea. Cloves are also a popular ingredient in spice blends.

Clove tree with buds and blooming flowers growing in bali mountains

Cloves Nutrition Facts

A tablespoon of ground clove contains:

Fiber: 9 percent DV

Vitamins

  • Vitamin K: 12 percent of the daily recommended value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 9 percent DV
  • Vitamin E: 3 percent DV
  • Vitamin B6: 2 percent DV
  • Folate: 2 percent DV
  • Vitamin A: 1 DV

Minerals

  • Manganese: 98 percent DV
  • Calcium: 4 percent DV
  • Magnesium: 4 percent DV
  • Iron: 3 percent DV
  • Potassium: 2 percent DV

Antioxidants

  • Eugenol: the main active ingredient in cloves
  • Polyphenols
  • Ascorbates
  • Gallic acid

Health Benefits of Cloves:

Cloves are the dried flower of the clove tree. They have traditionally been used as a cooking spice, and in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.

Cloves have been used to fight inflammation, promote better digestion, and strengthen the immune system. They have also been used to treat various oral conditions due to their antimicrobial properties.

1. Cloves can keep your blood sugar levels in check

According to research, cloves are rich in various medicinal compounds that can help control blood sugar levels, especially in diabetes.

For one, cloves are one of the richest sources of polyphenol antioxidants, with 100mg of cloves containing 15,188 polyphenols.

Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that inhibit glucose absorption in the intestines by inhibiting α-amylase and α-glucosidase.

α-amylase is a digestive enzyme that breaks down starch during digestion to release glucose. On the other hand, α-glucosidase facilitates the breakdown of the starch into simple sugars. 

That’s to say; by inhibiting both α-amylase and α-glucosidase, cloves can be quite beneficial in keeping blood sugar levels low.

Also, clove polyphenols can improve insulin sensitivity and promote glucose uptake by muscle cells, thus causing a drop in blood glucose levels.

In addition, cloves are very high in manganese, a mineral that has been shown to promote insulin production, which is instrumental in regulating blood glucose levels.

In one study, manganese supplementation increased insulin levels by 59 percent more, than the control group.

This explains why a manganese deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

That being said, too much clove, especially in diabetes can bring your sugars too low. This can even be worse if you’re on medication.

So, always consult your doctor and ensure you track your glucose levels to know how your body behaves after intake.

With time, you can determine which amount works for you without drastically reducing your sugars.

2. Cloves can help regulate hunger levels

If you’re trying to lose weight or manage cravings and overeating, cloves might help. They are rich in eugenol, a natural compound with appetite-suppressing benefits.

Adding cloves to your diet can help you eat less, thus promoting weight loss and controlling hunger.

Besides, cloves are full of fiber which can boost your daily intake of fiber, another nutrient essential for weight loss and hunger management.

3. Cloves may alleviate tooth pain and prevent oral infections

Tooth pain can result from different causes, including tooth decay or infection. While you need to be checked and treated accordingly, cloves can be a natural pain reliever in the meantime.

Besides, eugenol, the active ingredient in cloves, is antiseptic, meaning it can prevent the growth of disease-causing pathogens in the body, including your oral cavity.

Eugenol can offer various antimicrobial properties that can help fight any oral infection and prevent inflammation and pain, thus relieving toothache. Cloves can also reduce dental pain and prevent plaque formation.

In one comparative study, 40 patients were randomly categorized into two groups for a 21-day study. One group was given a formulated herbal mouth rinse made from clove, tea tree, and basil, while the other group was given a commercially available essential oil mouth rinse.

At the end of the study, both groups recorded improved gingival and plaque index. However, the group on herbal rinse also recorded reduced aerobic and anaerobic microbial colony-forming units.

This means a mouth rinse containing cloves may be good for fighting plaque, gingivitis, and other microbes in the mouth compared to regular mouthwash.

pile of cloves macro shot

4. Cloves can fight cancer

Research shows that various compounds in clove can help fight various types of cancer.

For example, kumatakenin, a flavonoid antioxidant in clove, has been shown to contain significant cytotoxic effects in human ovarian cancer cells. 

Researchers found that kumatakenin could induce apoptosis or programmed cell death in ovarian cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

It was also shown to inhibit the activation of tumor-associated macrophages (TAM), which are key cells that create an immunosuppressive environment by generating inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, all of which play a role in cancer cell survival and progression.

More research also shows that cloves can be a potential chemoprotective agent against lung cancer due to their anti-proliferative and cancer cell death-inducing properties.

5. Cloves can protect the liver

Eugenol in clove is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that can protect the liver against damage such as liver cell damage from oxidative stress.

This has been shown to prevent various liver conditions, including liver cirrhosis or scarring of liver tissue.

Additionally, a study found that eugenol supplements reduced glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), an enzyme often indicating liver disease after one week of using cloves.

That being said, more human studies are necessary to confirm this benefit.

6. Enhances bone strength

Cloves are rich in manganese, a mineral that supports bone health and development.

In combination with other bone minerals like calcium, zinc, and copper, manganese can help reduce bone loss while promoting strong and mineral-dense bones.

Overall, this can prevent your risk of bone conditions like osteoporosis.

7. Cloves can be used as a natural cough suppressant

In Ayurvedic medicine, cloves have been used to relax throat muscles which can, as a result, relieve a cough.

Besides, its anti-inflammatory compounds can also come in handy in case of a cold, sore throat, or inflamed sinuses.

To achieve these benefits, chew some raw dry cloves or mix ground cloves with hot water and drink first thing in the morning.

8. Cloves can boost your immune system

Cloves are a potent source of antioxidants, which can help protect the body against damage from free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that can build up in the body and cause cell damage. Antioxidants help neutralize these radicals and prevent their damage.

The eugenol in cloves also contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body and kill harmful bacteria. This makes cloves an effective way to boost the immune system and fight off infection.

In addition to their immune-boosting properties, cloves are also a good source of vitamins and minerals.

They contain vitamins C and K, as well as manganese, iron, and calcium. These nutrients are essential for maintaining good health and keeping your immune system strong.

9. Cloves can boost skin health

Cloves are a natural source of antioxidants, which can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.

The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of cloves may also help to soothe irritated skin and promote healing.

Cloves can also help to reduce the appearance of scars.

How To Use Cloves In Cooking?

When it comes to cooking with cloves, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, cloves have a very strong flavor, so you only need to use a small amount. 

Second, because of their strong flavor, they work best in dishes that have other bold flavors as well. 

Third, cloves can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Now that you know the basics of cooking with cloves, let’s take a look at some specific ways you can use them.

  • Make a flavorful rub for tofu or tempeh. Simply add some ground cloves to a bowl along with other spices like salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix and rub the mixture all over your tofu or tempeh before cooking. This will give it a nice flavor and make it more enjoyable. 
  • Make a sweet and fragrant glaze for roasted vegetables by combining ground cloves with maple syrup. For a more savory flavor, add a pinch of salt.
    This combination is perfect for roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.
     
  • Mix ground cloves with cinnamon and a natural sweetener to create a delicious topping for baked goods like muffins, scones, or quick breads. 
  • Try crushing or grinding cloves and adding them to spice rubs or marinades for extra flavor. 
  • Make a simple soup or stew even more flavorful by adding a teaspoon of ground cloves during the last few minutes of cooking. You can also make a spice blend by combining ground cloves with other warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Add this blend to soups and stews for an extra boost of flavor. 
  • Sprinkle some ground cloves to homemade salad dressings for a hint of flavor.
  • Add cloves to rice while it’s cooking for a fragrant and flavorful side dish.

How To Use Cloves For Skin

Apply a paste of ground cloves and water to the affected area. Leave the paste on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

You can also add a few drops of clove oil to your regular moisturizer or face cream. You can also make a DIY face mask by mixing equal parts ground cloves and honey.

Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

fresh green and red raw clove buds grown in bali mountains

Possible Side Effects of Clove Consumption

Cloves are a healthy and safe spice for most people to consume. However, it may cause some side effects in a few individuals.

1. It can increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

If you’re taking any blood thinning medication, such as warfarin, it’s good to know that the compounds in cloves may enhance the effects of warfarin by slowing down blood clotting, thus increasing your risk of bleeding. 

Due to these effects, you may also want to avoid cloves if you have an upcoming surgery, as they can affect your clotting processes during the procedure leading to over bleeding.

To be safe, stop using it two weeks before the procedure and resume after recovery.

2. Cloves can cause allergies in sensitive individuals

The active compound in cloves, eugenol, can cause allergies in some people, especially if it comes into contact with the skin.

This can result in localized irritation characterized by itching, reddening, and a rash. This allergy is more common with the oil than the dry flowers.

In some cases, respiratory allergies can occur. One study found that inhaling clove dust, such as in workers in a clove processing factory, could cause respiratory irritation with associated lung impairment.

3. Mouth irritation

Although there are no recorded effects of dietary clove on the mouth, applying clove oil can cause mouth irritation and gum damage.

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Final Thoughts

Clove has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties and numerous health benefits. From fighting off infections to aiding digestion and reducing inflammation, this spice has proven to be a powerful tool in promoting overall well-being.

However, it is important to keep in mind that, like any other supplement or medication, clove can have side effects and interact with certain drugs.

If you have any medical condition or are on any medication, you should consult a healthcare professional before incorporating clove into your daily routine. With the proper guidance and caution, clove can be a valuable addition to your health regimen.

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