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Cloves: Health Benefits, Ways To Use And Recipes

Cloves are more than just an aromatic spice, it has a bountiful of nutrients that make them a useful spice used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. Cloves (syzygium aromaticum) are the dried buds of the flowers of the clove tree that belong to the plant family Myrtaceae.

Cloves found in both whole and ground forms are known for their versatility in many recipes such as spicy cookies, beverages, baked goods and savoury dishes.

Cloves possess antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties which contribute to the major of their health benefits [1].

Nutritional Value Of Cloves

100 g of cloves contain 286 kcal energy and it also contains:

  • 4.76 g protein
  • 14.29 g fat
  • 66.67 g carbohydrate
  • 33.3 g fibre
  • 476 mg calcium
  • 8.57 mg iron
  • 190 mg magnesium
  • 1000 mg potassium
  • 286 mg sodium

Health Benefits Of Cloves

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1. Boost immunity

Cloves are a good source of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that contributes to immune defence by acting as a barrier against pathogens and oxidative stress. This, in turn, helps in strengthening the immune system and aids in proper immune function [2].

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2. Promote oral health

Cloves contain anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help in lowering the severity of plaque, gingivitis and other gum diseases in the mouth. A study showed cloves can stop the growth of four types of bacteria that contribute to gum disease [3].

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3. Improve liver health

Cloves are rich in eugenol, a bioactive compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help protect against liver injury and counteract the signs of liver cirrhosis [4]. This study is done on animals and further research on humans are required to prove it's effectiveness.

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4. Regulate blood sugar

The presence of eugenol in cloves can keep blood sugar levels under control. This compound can elevate the secretion of insulin, improve glucose tolerance and beta cell function, thus lowering blood glucose levels [5].

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5. Enhance digestion

Cloves possess many bioactive compounds that stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes and help in accelerating the digestion process. Cloves are known to reduce stomach acidity, gas, and nausea.

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6. May prevent tumour growth

A study has shown the anti-tumour activity of ethyl acetate extract of cloves. Cloves contain therapeutic properties that can help in the treatment of cancer [6].

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7. Aid in weight loss

Clove extract can lower the onset of obesity resulting from a high-fat diet. Consumption of cloves can help reduce abdominal fat, lower body weight and liver fat.

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8. Improve bone health

Cloves are an excellent source of manganese, calcium and magnesium that aids in the formation of bones and improves bone health. In addition, the presence of eugenol in cloves has been shown to be effective in increasing bone density and strength [7].

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9. Lower stomach ulcers

Stomach ulcers form in the lining of the stomach and cloves can help treat it. Cloves can stimulate the production of gastric mucous that acts as a protective barrier and prevents the erosion of stomach lining caused by digestive acids [8].

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10. Improve respiratory health

Cloves can be used to treat several respiratory health problems such as bronchitis, asthma, cold and cough. It is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory properties in clove that aids in lowering inflammation in the respiratory tract.

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11. Enhance skin health

The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties in cloves can help treat acne and improve overall skin health. This is one of the reasons why clove oil is used for treating pimples by fighting inflammation caused by acne [9].

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Side Effects Of Cloves

Cloves are generally safe to eat, but clove oil can disrupt the diversity of the healthy gut bacteria upon ingestion. So, it is recommended not to swallow clove oil in large amounts and instead use it as a mouth wash.

Uses Of Cloves

  • Cloves are used as a culinary ingredient in various recipes.
  • The clove essential oil extracted from cloves is used in aromatherapy for relieving stress.
  • Cloves are used in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine.

Ways To Use Cloves

  • Use ground cloves to flavour oatmeal, muffins, cookies, applesauce and rice dishes.
  • Spice up your tea with clove powder.
  • Use cloves in savoury dishes.

Clove Recipes

Clove tea [10]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 crushed clove
  • 1 pinch cinnamon powder
  • 3/4 tsp tea leaves
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Method:

  • Boil a cup of water in a pan. Add crushed clove and cinnamon powder
  • Cover the pan with a lid to retain the flavours and boil it for 2 minutes.
  • Lower the heat and add tea leaves. Stir it.
  • Turn off the heat and pour it in a cup.
  • Add milk and sugar and drink it.

Baked chicken with artichokes, cinnamon and preserved lemons [11]

Ingredients:

  • 1.1 kg boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet or hot paprika
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp whole cloves
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 255 g of frozen artichokes

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a baking dish.
  • Mix it properly.
  • Bake it for 30 to 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Common FAQs

How many cloves should you eat daily?

You can have 1 to 2 cloves per day, however, this dosage might not be suitable for all, hence consult a doctor.

Is clove good for cough?

Chewing a clove can help bring relief from irritation in the throat caused by cough. This makes it an effective home remedy for cough.

Does chewing cloves help relieve toothache?

Cloves are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which can help relieve toothache and ward off gum disease.

Can you eat cloves when you are pregnant?

Cloves should be avoided in pregnancy and in labour because it may cause blood-clotting problems and liver complications.

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