Clove, the flower buds of the evergreen clove tree, is a popular spice that renders its unique aroma to a dish. When using it as a spice, the unopened pink flower of the clove tree is dried and used to add flavour to the dish.
However, clove does much more than just add aroma to any dish. Clove is a super food that comes with a host of health benefits. Starting from curing a simple sore throat and fighting common cold, clove has several other major healing and medicinal properties.
Take a look at some of the amazing health benefits of clove, below:
1. High In Antioxidants And Other Essential Nutrients
Did you ever imagine that this tiny aromatic spice is a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants? Cloves have an abundance of vital nutrients including Manganese, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, apart from small amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin E and other fibre, vitamins and minerals.
While Manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining the brain function and building strong bones, Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system, and Vitamin K acts as an important nutrient for blood clotting. What's more? Cloves are low in calories too!
Cloves are also high in antioxidants, the compounds that reduce oxidative stress, which is a major factor for the development of chronic diseases. This is because cloves contain a compound called 'eugenol', which acts as a natural antioxidant, stopping the damage caused by free radicals.
Further, the Vitamin C present in cloves also acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing the free radicals, the compounds that can build up and cause harmful oxidative stress. This goes to say that by including cloves in your daily diet along with other antioxidant-rich foods, you can boost your overall health.
2. Can Kill Harmful Bacteria
Clove has antimicrobial properties, and can help stop the growth of micro-organisms like bacteria that cause cramps, fatigue, and diarrhoea. The antibacterial properties of cloves can help promote oral health too, as cloves have the ability to curb the growth of bacteria that contribute to gum disease. Ayurveda strongly recommends the use of clove, together with other herbal extracts like tea tree oils for good oral health.
3. Protects The Liver
The presence of the compound 'eugenol' in clove is believed to be beneficial for the liver. Apart from improving liver functioning, clove can be a good supplement for fatty liver disease, thereby reducing inflammation and it can help in keeping up the overall health of the liver. This property of clove is largely thought to be due to the high levels of antioxidants in the spice.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar
Compounds present in cloves may help in keeping the blood sugar level under control. Cloves are known to contain a compound called 'Nigericin', which helps in the regulation of blood sugar levels in diabetics. This is because Nigericin improves the capacity of the cells to absorb sugar from blood and improves the body's ability to produce insulin, thereby helping in the regulation of blood sugar. As a simple home remedy to control diabetes, soak 6 to 8 cloves in a glass of hot water for 15 minutes. Filter the cloves from the water and consume this water every morning after breakfast. Do this for a few months to see the difference.
5. Promotes Bone Health
The clove extract, which is naturally high in eugenol, can help improve osteoporosis and increase the bone density and strength, thereby reducing the risk of breaks and fractures. Manganese is involved in the formation of bones and is a vital nutrient for bone health. Include a teaspoon of ground cloves to your daily diet to improve bone health.
6. Acts As A Painkiller
Clove oil can help in fighting arthritic pain. If not clove oil, its paste can also be applied for effective relief from joint pain. This is a natural medicine that has been used since ancient times to treat arthritic pain. Similarly, when you develop a tooth ache and can't wait to reach a dentist, just chew on a piece of clove for some time, by placing the clove on the affected teeth. It will help subside the pain to a large extent.
7. Works As An Antiseptic
Make a paste of clove and apply it on sore skin or on skin burns. The paste can also be applied on bruises and cuts. According to Ayurvedic stream of medicine, this paste has anti-fungal and anti-germicidal properties, which help kill the bacteria and prevent the wound from getting infected.
8. Reduces Stomach Ulcers
Cloves help in reducing stomach ulcers or peptic ulcers, the painful sores that are formed in the lining of the duodenum, stomach or oesophagus. Ulcers are usually caused by the reduction in the protective lining of the stomach due to various factors. The clove essential oil increases the production of gastric mucus, which functions as a barrier to prevent erosion of the stomach lining by the digestive acids.
Clove has several other potential health benefits, and just as is the case with other health foods, clove is most effective when included as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. So, try including a few servings of cloves every week to your meals or just boil them in water and enjoy a soothing clove tea.
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