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Cloves are like little wizard sticks - not just by their appearance, but also by the properties they exhibit.
A wonder spice, cloves are the flower buds of Syzygium Aromaticum. Native to Maluku islands in Indonesia, cloves are now grown in Bangladesh, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Cloves are inevitable in Asian, African and Middle Eastern cuisine. From flavouring meat curries to studding soups and salads, cloves are everywhere. You find it in puddings and you'll taste them in liquors. It is also present in a variety of cigarettes. Such is its versatility.
Equally stunning is its pharmacological effects. Its use has been appreciated in the alternative system of medicine from ancient times. It possesses antimicrobial, antioxidant, anaesthetic, analgesi and anti-inflammatory properties, just to name a few.
Eugenol makes almost 75%-90% of its essential oil. It is also the reason behind the warm aroma and many of its medicinal uses.
However, one needs to be cautious about the excessive intake of cloves. Clove oil, taken orally, is unsafe for children. It is also not advisable for people with bleeding disorders or those who have to undergo surgery, as it slows down blood clotting. The aromatic compounds also tend to accumulate in the body to show toxic effects.
Cloves, only in food quantity, is advisable. Here are some of its positive effects on the body. Take a look.
Cloves, apart from its aroma, have antibacterial properties that help in reducing the microbial growth in the mouth. Chew on a few after every meal to beat bad breath.
It is of little wonder that cloves are a part of tooth pastes, mouth washes and dental creams. In dentistry, eugenol with zinc oxide is used in temporarily filling cavities. It is an anodyne-an agent that can soothe tooth aches.
Nausea And Vomiting:
A mixture of cloves and honey has been advised since ancient times to treat nausea. Or brew a cup of clove tea. While cloves aid digestion, some also believe that its anti-anaesthetic properties can numb the stomach lining, preventing the reflex.
Many women experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy. As cloves help in beating nausea, it is recommended for pregnant women. However, it has to be taken only in a certain amount.
Cloves help in better digestion, as it promotes the secretion of digestive enzymes. Thus, it helps beat gas, bloating and flatulence. It increases intestinal motility, alleviating constipation.
With its antiviral and antibacterial properties, cloves can be helpful in fighting common cold. Gargling with clove water can help soothe sore throat.
Helps Control Blood Sugar:
Some researches have proved the glucose-lowering effects of cloves when taken on a long-term basis. It is expected to benefit people suffering from type 2 diabetes.