11 benefits of eating cloves daily
Cloves are the nail-like, dried, unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia and India. Health benefits of cloves include protection against infection, blood sugar regulation, better oral health, and other benefits.
Cloves are the nail-like, dried, unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia and India. The word “cloves” comes from the Latin “clavus,” which translates to “nail”. Because of their strong fragrance and intense flavor, cloves are typically used as a spice in various dishes and drinks. You may have tasted cloves in mulled wine, honey-glazed ham, or apple pie.
Cloves are an excellent source of dietary fiber, minerals, such as manganese and potassium, and essential nutrients like vitamin K. Clove extract contains flavonoids, beta carotene, thymol, eugenol, benzene, and other organic compounds.
The vitamins and minerals in cloves have significant medicinal properties and have been an ingredient in digestive function remedies of traditional Chinese medicine. Studies in modern western medicine have also shown that the organic compounds in cloves possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial elements (among others) that benefit your health and well-being.
Including cloves in your diet can positively affect your health in several areas, some of which you may not have already realized.
1. Cloves protect against infections
Eugenol (clove oil) is one of the main active ingredients in cloves, and it has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal attributes, which protect you against infections from various organisms.
Research on cloves is still in its early stages, and more studies are needed to see how findings apply to people. However, one study on mice found that clove essential oil can increase the white blood cell count, thus suggesting that clove intake may boost your immune system. As an antiseptic, clove oil is beneficial in killing three types of pathogenic bacteria, including the strain of E. coli that can lead to food poisoning.
2. Cloves regulate blood sugar
Supplementing clove extract with a balanced diet may help keep your blood sugar levels in check, particularly if you’re prediabetic or otherwise healthy. Clove extract acts like the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar levels. One to three grams of clove per day for a month can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.
3. Cloves help with oral care
Cloves are great for oral care because of their antimicrobial properties. The use of eugenol for treating toothache, jaw pain, and sore gums dates to the 13th century. Despite the uncommon but possible occurrence of eugenol causing contact dermatitis, eugenol is used in modern dentistry because of its antibacterial, pain-relieving, and anesthetic properties.
You’ll likely see eugenol as an ingredient in herbal toothpaste and mouthwashes, as studies have shown that clove extract can kill bacteria that cause gum disease. The Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology reported study findings that using an herbal mouthwash containing cloves for 21 days improved gum health and decreased the buildup of bacteria in the mouth.
4. Cloves suppress cough
Clove oil acts as an expectorant and can be effective in treating upper-respiratory ailments like cough. You can crush cloves and brew them in your tea. Clove’s anti-inflammatory properties can soothe your throat and help get rid of cough.
5. Cloves promote gut health
As cloves are rich in fiber and have antioxidant properties, it makes sense that they’re great promoters of gut health. Cloves have been shown to relieve indigestion and reduce gas. Eugenol may help alleviate the pain associated with peptic ulcers, which occur when the mucus layers of your stomach become thin and damaged.
Additional studies on clove extract show it likely enhances mucus production of your stomach lining, which counters ulcer discomfort. However, further research is necessary to determine if clove extract can definitively be used as an ulcer treatment.
6. Cloves may protect against cancer
Eugenol has potential as cancer prevention and treatment method as it may be able to halt the growth of certain melanoma tumors. Some studies suggest that an additional clove extract (ethyl acetate) may stop tumor growth and aid in cancer cell death.
7. Cloves may promote liver health
Cirrhosis is characterized by the presence of scarred and damaged liver cells, potentially leading to liver failure. However, studies on the antioxidant-rich eugenol suggest that cloves help protect your liver from the free radicals that damage cells and can lead to cirrhosis, thus potentially reducing your chances of liver cancer.
8. Cloves may ease the effects of aging
Free radicals are unstable and highly reactive molecules, despite being products of healthy cellular metabolism. Their excessive presence leads to healthy cell damage, and the free radical theory suggests that free radicals are responsible for age-related tissue damage.
Cloves are rich in antioxidants, which are substances that protect your cells from the damage of free radicals. Further research shows that eugenol’s antioxidant effects are five times more potent than other antioxidants like vitamin E.
Antioxidants don’t prevent aging from happening per se. Instead, evidence suggests they counter the age-related tissue damage from free radicals. Additional studies are necessary to confirm the relationship between antioxidants and their implication in slowing the aging process.
9. Cloves relieve pain and stress
Cloves are known for their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Using clove oil in a lotion or brewing them in your tea may help you relieve muscle and joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Clove powder mixed with milk may be effective in treating headaches, too.
Preliminary research on clove extract shows positive effects in reducing stress in mice. Although further studies on people are necessary, you’ll likely find clove extract as a good source for relieving stress and mental fatigue due to its positive effects on your circulatory system.
10. Cloves enhance bone health
Clove is packed with manganese, a mineral that works with calcium to build your bones. One teaspoon of clove contains over 50% of the daily recommended manganese value suggested by the Dietary Reference Intakes.
11. Cloves can treat UTIs
Eugenol is not the only clove extract that promotes various areas of your health. A study reported by Tropical Life Sciences Research finds that antimicrobial elements in clove ethanolic extract can effectively treat urinary tract infections, which can include infections of your bladder, urethra, or kidneys.
Include cloves in your daily diet
Although cloves alone have many potential health benefits due to their vast amount of minerals, vitamins, and disease-fighting nutrients, cloves may work best to improve your health when combined with a balanced diet. Add a pinch of ground cloves to your chai latte or green tea. Cloves can be used to flavor your meats or even desserts like gingerbread cookies or pumpkin pie. Feel free to experiment with this aromatic spice to bring beneficial health elements to your life.