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Health Benefits of Cloves

Cloves offer many health benefits, some of which include providing aid in digestion, having antimicrobial properties, fighting against cancer, protecting the liver, boosting the immune system, controlling diabetes, preserving bone quality, and containing anti-mutagenic properties, as well as fighting against oral diseases and headaches, while displaying aphrodisiac properties as well.

Cloves are one of the spices indigenous to Asian countries like Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and even areas of East Africa. It is native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia. Cloves are a popular flavouring agents used in a variety of ways across the world, particularly in Asia. Cloves form the culinary base in a number of different Asian cuisines.

Clove, just like many other spices originating in Asia, has a great history behind it. During the 13th and 14th centuries, cloves were transported all the way from Indonesia to China, India, Persia, Africa, and Europe. During this time, cloves had a very high price, thus wars for monopoly over clove production and distribution began. Many wars were waged in order to control the islands of Maluku during both the medieval and modern period. The Dutch emerged victorious and held the Maluku islands for a very long time. Today, clove is a very important commercial crop all around the world.

Scientific Facts About Clove

Clove, as we know it, is the dried bud of the flower from the tree Syzygium aromaticum. It belongs to the plant family named Myrtaceae. The plant is an evergreen plant growing in tropical and subtropical conditions. Clove is an herb and people use various parts of the plant, including the dried bud, stems, and leaves to make medicine. Clove oil is also famous for its medicinal properties.

Clove has been used for thousands of years in India and China, not only as a spice and condiment, but also as a medicine for many ailments. Ayurvedic medicing used cloves for tooth decay, halitosis, and bad breath. In Chinese medicine, clove was considered to possess aphrodisiac properties.

Nutritional Value of Cloves

According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, the nutrients found in 100 grams of cloves include 65g of carbohydrate, 6g of protein, 13g of total lipids, 2g of sugars, 274 kcal of energy and 33g of dietary fiber. Minerals in cloves include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc. The vitamins found in cloves include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

BCloves2ioactive Substances in Cloves

Certain bioactive compounds have been isolated from clove extracts. Some of them include: flavonoids, hexane, methylene chloride, ethanol, thymol, eugenol, and benzene. These biochemicals have been reported to possess various properties, including antioxidant, hepato-protective, anti-microbia, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Health Benefits of Cloves

Better Digestion: Cloves improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. Cloves are also good for reducing flatulence, gastric irritability, dyspepsia and nausea. Cloves can be roasted, powdered, and taken with honey for relief in digestive disorders.

Antibacterial Properties: Cloves have been tested for their antibacterial properties against a number of human pathogens. The extracts of cloves were potent enough to kill those pathogens. Clove extracts are also effective against the specific bacteria that spreads cholera.

Chemo-Preventive Properties: Cloves are of interest to the medical community due to their chemo-preventive or anti-carcinogenic properties. Tests have showed that cloves are helpful in controlling lung cancer in its early stages.

Liver Protection: Cloves contain high amounts of antioxidants, which are ideal for protecting the organs from the effects of free radicals, especially the liver. Metabolism, in the long run, increases free radical production and lipid profile, while decreasing the antioxidants in the liver. Clove extracts are helpful in counteracting those effects with its hepatoprotective properties.

Diabetes Control: Cloves have been used in many traditional remedies for a number of diseases. One such disease is diabetes. In patients suffering from diabetes, the amount of insulin produced by the body is not sufficient or insulin is not produced at all. Studies have revealed that extracts from cloves imitate insulin in certain ways and help in controlling blood sugar levels.

Bone Preservation: The hydro-alcoholic extracts of cloves include phenolic compounds such as eugenol and its derivatives, such as flavones, isoflavones and flavonoids. These extracts have been particularly helpful in preserving bone density and the mineral content of bone, as well as increasing tensile strength of bones in cases of osteoporosis.

Anti-Mutagenic Properties: Mutagens are those chemicals that change the genetic makeup of the DNA by causing mutations. Biochemical compounds found in cloves, like phenylpropanoids, possess anti-mutagenic properties. These were administered on cells treated with mutagens and they were able to control the mutagenic effects to a significant rate.

Boosts the Immune System: Ayurveda describes certain plants to be effective in developing and protecting the immune system. One such plant is clove. The dried flower bud of clove contains compounds that help in improving the immune system by increasing the white blood cell count, thereby improving delayed type hypersensitivity.

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Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Cloves possess anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties. Studies on clove extracts being administered in lab rats suggest that the presence of eugenol reduced the inflammation caused by edema. It was also confirmed that eugenol has the ability to reduce pain by stimulating pain receptors.

Cure for Oral Diseases: Cloves can be taken for gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. Clove bud extracts significantly controlled the growth of oral pathogens, which are responsible for various oral diseases. Cloves can also be used for toothaches due to their pain-killing properties.

Aphrodisiac Properties: Spices such as clove and nutmeg have been said to possess aphrodisiac properties, according to Unani medicine. Experiments on clove and nutmeg extracts were tested against standard drugs administered for that reason and both clove and nutmeg showed positive results.

Cure for Headaches: Headaches can be reduced by using cloves. Make a paste of a few cloves and mix it with a dash of rock salt. Add this to a glass of milk. This mixture reduces headaches quickly and effectively.

Side Effects of Using Clove

Clove Oil: Clove oils must not be used directly; instead they must be diluted either in olive oil or in distilled water. Clove extract oil is generally considered to be safe, but certain studies have revealed that they possess cytotoxic properties. There are two major components present in clove extract oil, eugenol and B-caryophyllene. These compounds were particularly effective against fibroblasts and endothelial cells.

Clove Cigarettes: In Indonesia, cloves are consumed on a large scale in the form of cigarettes, popularly known as kreteks. These clove cigarettes have emerged as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but research shows that clove cigarettes are actually worse than conventional cigarettes. In the case of clove cigarettes, the amount of nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar entering into the lungs were higher than from tobacco cigarettes.


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What do you think?

  • Keely Kh

    I eat clove hard candy with natural clove oil. Is this a good source of clove? Or should I be ingesting it in another way/form?

  • I think, therefore I am

    i eat 50 gram clove i 24 hrs. i like its test . however the shopkeeper forbid me and advices me not to eat that much clove. but i have became habituate of it

    over eating causes, sometimes, ulcer in mouth but after leaving it for few days mouth become normal again.

    i have tried to leave eating for forever but i am unable to help my self in this regard.

    i need your advice upon log term effect on my vital organs such as Liver, kidney, brain, heart.

    • bazcanada

      you can damage your kidney and liver

      • I think, therefore I am

        Thanks for reply. Could you please provide some scientific reason of happening so. Actually i want to quit eating clove but finding no reason of doing so. I think your explanation would convince me to stop eating clove.

        One thing i have noticed, when i eat much my heartbeat goes higher and becomes irregular. additionally, when i don’t eat i feel normal, cool and calm. But after some time i get a strog argue for clove.
        Thanks again for your reply.

    • Keely Kh

      I found this…
      Clove Victims: Over-Indulgence in the Condiment Is Often Fatal
      Straight from a 1920’s newspaper… farce or fact?

      A Fair Girl’s Sad Fate–Too Much Clove Eating Actually Shrivels Up the Body

      A physical wreck from eating cloves.

      Odd as it may seem to the non-professional person, this condition is not at all uncommon in those who carry this foolish habit to excess.

      Comparatively harmless as is the use of cloves in the beginning, the system soon feels a craving for the stimulating effect produced by them, and slowly and insidiously the habit grows until they become as much an absolute necessity to the victim as does brandy to the dipsomaniac or opium to the morphine fiend.

      It is in their supposed harmlessness that the danger of acquiring the clove habit lies. School-girls, whose taste has been perverted by over-indulgence in sweets, turn naturally to the spice canister in search of a change for the organs of taste with the almost invariable result that they finally discard the candies for the pungent little bud.

      The habit once acquired, the unconscious victim begins to find that what was once a pastime, has now become a necessity, and instead of being satisfied with a small quantity, as at first, two or three ounces a day are found necessary to satisfy the system’s craving. Then follows a gradual but certain breaking down of the constitution, beginning at the nerve centres, which finally brings the victim to a pitiable condition.

      A Peculiarly Pathetic Case

      A full report of an exceptionally pathetic case has been given to a representative of the Morning Journal by a famous local specialist in nervous diseases who, for obvious reasons, desires that neither his own name nor that of his fair patient shall be made public.

      The young woman who is now on her deathbed was once beautiful, fascinating and the acknowledged belle of her social circle. Ever since she can remember she has been a clove-eater, she tells the physician, and attributes the formation of the habit to the fact that her early life was passed in one of the extreme Southern States, where the use in cooking of large quantities of heating condiments was considered a necessity.

      About the time that the habit had gained a complete mastery over the girl her parents died. This blow completely prostrated her for a time, and as soon as she had sufficiently recovered to do so, she came to New York, where she found the employment that the loss of her parents had made indispensable to her support.

      Already the deleterious effects of the cloves, which she daily consumed in ever-increasing quantities, had begun to make themselves apparent in her shrunken cheeks, lack-lustre eyes and generally debilitated appearance. Her appetite for wholesome food grew less and less as time went on, and the little that she did eat was so highly seasoned as to have been unpalatable to even an East Indian native.

      Her nervous system, which had become affected through the continued over-stimulation of the digestive organs, began to show signs of serious impairment, and she became cross and fretful, often flying into a passion over the most trivial incident connected with her daily duties.

      These outbursts would be followed by periods of depression, from which nothing seemed to rouse her, and she went about her work in such a listless fashion that her employers found it necessary to warn her that her position was in jeopardy.

      At last she became so disagreeable as to be utterly unbearable, and she was discharged. Her little savings were soon consumed, and as her broken health became rapidly worse, she was removed to the Bellevue Hospital.

      Her friends in the South were communicated with, and before the hospital physicians had had time to discover the cause of her condition funds arrived and the suffering girl was placed in the private sanitarium presided over by the physician who tells her sad story.

      In spite of all that can be done for her, the poor girl continues to sink, and her death is but a question of a few weeks.

      “Her nervous system is completely shattered,” said the physician, “and the mucous coating of the stomach has been so completely destroyed that the simplest food is instantly rejected. In short, she is slowly starving to death, and all that science can do is to keep her free from pain by the hypodermic injection of narcotics until the end comes.”

      A complete technical history of the case is being prepared, and will soon be published in one of the leading medical journals.

      The symptoms which follow an overindulgence in the clove habit may be easily discerned, as they are almost invariably the same in every case. Freed from all professional technicalities, they may be described as a general shriveling up of the entire body.

      The eyes become dull and heavy, the cheeks lose their color, the skin grows sallow and drawn, and the victim’s general appearance is that of one who is suffering from some wasting disease. As the amount of cloves consumed is increased the appetite for food decreases, and frequent fainting fits occur, as the result of the lack of proper sustenance.

      In the last stages the victim suffers intense pain in the stomach and abdominal regions, on account of the inflammation, caused by the constant presence of the irritating agent. Last stage of all are convulsions, followed by long spells of delirium, and finally death.

      While such cases as the one above described are by no means common, others of a less serious nature are being constantly found in the practice of the leading specialists.

    • Keely Kh

      If that information does not scare you into stopping.. Then you are doomed just like the lady described in the article.

  • Masud Shah

    I hv immersed clove buds into apple juice for a week,thn dried and made powder.now eating 1/2 tsf twice a day to enhance libido and firmness of pen**.is it ok ? or am i consuming too much per day?
    Thank you.

  • BeautifulGoddess

    Great Info!!!

  • Susan

    I was just wondering if I could grind them up and put in smoothies with some cinnamon and tumeric. Thanks

    • Robin Dorantes

      I was wondering the same. I’m just going to find the powdered kind & mix it in my daily SMOOTHIE.

    • Jay Iff

      No, you can’t….I said so!

  • dr3dg3

    Everybody should use cloves!

    Sadly many are so uninterest about their health or at least searching information about it that they don’t read articles like this.
    I have mentioned health benefits of cloves for some, but amazingly, they have got stuck wondering whether they like taste of it enough to use it or not. Same with cinnamon and many others.

    Even if I would hate taste of cloves – I would use it. 😀
    In capsules or oil at least. It’s so good stuff! It doesn’t matter whether I like it’s taste or not if it’s health benefits are in this class -besides I love it’s taste! <3

    I put clove and ceylon cinnamon powder in every cup of coffee and tea I drink.. and to many foods I eat.

    • Robin Dorantes

      I’m on it! Always searching for herbal alternatives for better health. Thanx!!!

      • yadda yadda

        Me too. I am doing green smoothies and trying to better my health. I will try clove and other spices that will help me feel well throughout the day.

  • shabir

    Very nice information for those who have desire to live better.