When you stock up your spice rack, your first priority is probably the basics: garlic powder, cayenne for a little kick, turmeric for your anti-inflammatory lattes, and, of course, OG salt and pepper.
But, the next time you’re rebuilding your inventory, you might consider another staple: cloves. Hi readers and welcome back to another farmingocean’s article! Cloves may not be in most of your recipes, but they’re worthy of a spot in your diet.
The flower buds come from a type of tropical evergreen native to Indonesia. They’ve been used for centuries in many different types of cuisines like Indian, Thai, and Indonesian.
They have also been a part of traditional medicines for years due to their wide range of health benefits. And in today’s article, we will tell you what they are.
From reducing inflammation, improving hair health, fighting headaches, enhancing respiratory health to regulating blood sugar, and more.
Health Benefits of Eating Clove
1.Rich In Antioxidants:
- When you think of antioxidants, you probably think of blueberries, dark chocolate, or red wine.
- But did you know herbs and spices are actually one of the best sources of antioxidants? In fact, in a ranking of the top 100 richest sources of polyphenols and antioxidants, seasonings was the food group that had the most items listed.
- And cloves ranked number 1, outperforming blueberries with more than 30 times the antioxidant concentration.
- Antioxidants are important for fighting off free radical damage. This can degrade cells and leave them susceptible to chronic disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and other signs of aging.
- In studies, the antioxidant properties of clove extract have been shown to slow tumor growth and promote cell death.
- What’s your favorite antioxidant source? Is it green tea? Blueberries? Tell us quickly down below in the comments section!
- Cloves contain a powerful compound called eugenol which works as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
- This also holds true for clove essential oil, one form of cloves that’s widely available.
- It can also fight inflammation of the mouth and throat. In a study, clove oil was found to ease the inflammation associated with plaque and gingivitis.
- The eugenol in cloves can also lower pro-inflammatory cytokines, helpful in treating inflammation associated with arthritis.
3.Prevents Food Poisoning:
- Clove oil, specifically its constituent eugenol, has advantages over potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and other chemical food preservatives in terms of antimicrobial activity, safety, and aroma.
- This makes it worthy of consideration as a substitute food preservative.
- Clove oil has been found to have an antibacterial effect on common food source bacterias such as Salmonella, E.coli, and others.
- A study found that clove bud oil helped suppress the growth of listeria, another common bacteria known to cause food-borne illness.
- This indicates that clove oil may be helpful in protecting against food poisoning.
4.Reduces stomach ulcers:
- Also known as peptic ulcers, stomach ulcers are painful sores that form in the lining of the stomach, or esophagus.
- They’re most commonly caused by reductions in the protective lining of the stomach, which are due to factors like stress, infection, and genetics.
- Some research indicates that the compounds found in cloves could help treat stomach ulcers. In a study, essential oil from cloves was shown to increase the production of gastric mucus.
- Gastric mucus functions as a barrier and helps prevent erosion of the stomach lining from digestive acids.
- Another study found that clove extract helped treat stomach ulcers and exhibited effects similar to those of several anti-ulcer medications.
5.Improves Hair Health:
- Clove bud oil can be used for preventing hair loss, keeping the hair’s luster, vibrant color, and hair conditioning.
- It is ideal for the scalp due to its antifungal, antiseptic, and anesthetic properties. These can treat dandruff, dermatitis, and other scalp disorders when blended with olive oil or coconut oil.
- The antioxidants of clove improve circulation in the scalp and consequently work to stimulate fresh healthier hair growth.
- Eugenol refreshes and enriches your hair’s natural color. Cloves are natural and a simple solution for keeping the hair and scalp clean.
- This is the reason they’re often formulated in shampoo, conditioner, and hair coloring agents.
- Clove oil scalp massages may help scalp conditions like dandruff as well.
- Clove oil is extensively used in aromatherapy to treat headaches. This can again be attributed to eugenol, which has pain-relieving properties.
- Crush a few cloves and put them in a clean handkerchief. Inhale the smell whenever you have a headache.
- You can also add two drops of clove oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil and gently massage over your forehead and temples.
7.Regulates Blood Sugar:
- Diabetes weakens the pancreatic cells that create insulin. This leaves the body without sufficient insulin for normal functioning.
- Cloves help maintain insulin levels as it regulates glucose response mechanisms. According to research, the polyphenol in clove extracts, especially clove oil, works in three different ways to regulate blood sugar.
- First, it helps your digestive tracts absorb 63% more glucose, consequently reducing the glucose levels in blood circulation.
- Second, it restrains glucose production in liver cells. And third, it slows down the activities of digestive enzymes that break down complex carbohydrates and sucrose into glucose.
- So, clove extracts can effectively control blood sugar levels after meals, reduce fasting glucose levels, while increasing glucose consumption.
8.Improves Liver Health:
- Repeated studies have found clove extracts to improve liver health, protecting the liver cells against inflammation and degeneration.
- Certain compounds found in cloves have been found to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in liver cells while reversing the signs of liver cirrhosis.
- Incidentally, research has also found it can reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress in liver cells caused by binge drinking.
- While antioxidants in cloves also reduced oxidative stress and liver stress. However, overconsumption of cloves can have negative effects on the liver and can cause permanent liver damage.
9.Better Oral Health:
- The eugenol in clove is believed to provide relief from tooth pain. The substance is an anesthetic and has antibacterial properties, and this may help you deal with the pain.
- One simple way to get rid of a toothache is to place a few whole cloves in your mouth and moisten them with your saliva.
- You can crush the cloves with your teeth. The oil that is released fights the pain. You can use a whole clove for 30 minutes before discarding it and repeating the process with a new one.
- If you have a severe toothache and grinding cloves with your teeth is difficult, you can use crushed cloves.
- Crush the whole cloves and place the powder on the affected tooth. A study proved the analgesic effects of cloves can help relieve toothache. Cloves may also combat bad breath.
10.Enhances Respiratory Health:
- This is especially true for clove oil. The oil can be used for treating asthma. It soothes the respiratory tract and also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Studies have shown that supplementation with clove oil can prevent bacteria from forming colonies in the lungs.
- You can massage the oil into your chest, sinuses, and the bridge of the nose. As per anecdotal evidence, this may open the breathing passages and provide relief.
- You can also add the oil or steep a few cloves to a glass of warm water and take it as tea.
- Chewing on a clove bud is also suggested to ease a sore throat.
Here are some ways you can add cloves to your diet:
- Cloves come in both whole and ground forms. You can also make clove tea, which is the best way to maximize clove benefits.
- Grind a tablespoon of whole cloves. Steep the powder in boiling water for three or four minutes.
- Strain the spice out and you’ll be left with a rich spicy tea that’s perfect for the winter months.
- You can also add ground cloves to pumpkin pie and chai lattes. Whole cloves work great in a pickling mix for spicy pickles or as an essential spice in curry.
- You can make a mulled wine with a heavy sprinkle of cloves and use it in rubs to season meats.
Here’s How You Should Select and Store Cloves:
- Whenever possible, buy whole cloves instead of clove powder since the latter loses its flavor more quickly.
- When squeezed with a fingernail, good-quality cloves will release some of their oil. Alternatively, you can place a clove in a cup of water.
- Those of good quality will float vertically while those that are stale will either sink or float horizontally.
- Even though dried herbs and spices are widely available in supermarkets, explore the local spice stores or ethnic markets in your area.
- Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets.
- Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown cloves since this will give you more assurance that the herb has not been irradiated.
- Cloves should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, and dry place.
- Ground cloves will keep for about six months, while whole cloves will stay fresh for about one year stored this way.
- Alternatively, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator.
- Whole cloves have a wide range of health benefits, there are other herbs and spices that should also be a part of your regular diet.