Native to the volcanic islands of Maluku, Indonesia, cloves are one of the spices indigenous to Asian countries like India, Pakistan, and even areas of East Africa. Cloves are a very sought-after flavoring spice used in a variety of ways across the world, especially in Asia. Aside from being a tasty addition to spruce up flavorful Asian cuisines, cloves offer a plethora of health benefits ranging from aiding in digestion to refreshing bad breath.
Botanical Name of Clove
Cloves are known botanically as Eugenia caryophyllus and have been used for centuries in India and China not only as a condiment and spice but also as a medicine for a variety of ailments. Its name is derived from the Latin word clavus, meaning nail since the shape of a dried clove resembles a nail.
Botanical Family of Clove
Cloves are the dried buds of the flowers from the Syzygium aromaticum tree. They belong to the Myrtaceae plant family and are alternatively referred to as Caryophyllum, Lavang, and Mother clove.
What Are Cloves?
Cloves are the flower buds of the evergreen plant that grows in tropical and subtropical conditions native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and parts of Africa. Traditionally, in Ayurvedic medicine, cloves were used to help combat tooth decay, bad breath, and halitosis. During the Haan Dynasty in China, cloves were considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Different parts of this plant, including the dried buds, leaves, and stems can be consumed as a medicine. Clove oil is also famous for its medicinal capabilities.
Active Ingredients Found in Cloves
Cloves contain an essential oil that contains several biologically active compounds, including the following:
- Eugenyl acetate
Health Benefits of Cloves
Cloves have been recommended in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments, including the following:
- Maintains and controls blood sugar levels
- Aids in digestion
- Boosts immune system
- Preserves bone density
- Reduces inflammation
- Protects the liver against infection
- Helps cure gum diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis
Cloves have been used in Ayurveda as a painkiller for a toothache and for its carminative capabilities as well. Cloves are also considered an excellent remedy for a cough because of its expectorant properties. Research shows that cloves also have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, anthelmintic, anesthetic, anti-cancer, and anti-mutagenic activity.
Cloves have high antioxidant content with an outstanding Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value of 290,283 units. This means that each gram of cloves contains 30 times more antioxidants than blueberries that have a value of 9,621. Because of its eugenol level and high antioxidant count, cloves are also known as the ultimate protective herb.
Different Ways to Consume Cloves
Cloves can be powdered and used to flavor soups, curries, and fruit. For a toothache, a single flower bud can be placed in the mouth and slowly sucked upon to allow the anesthetic effect. Clove oil may also be used on the gums for relief from pain and inflammation. Cloves are commonly used in Ayurveda to provide a numbing sensation.
Side Effects of Cloves
Cloves have often been referred to in ancient traditional medicine as an herb that can heal a variety of conditions. Utilized for thousands of years, this plant is available in the form of powder, leaves, stems, and essential oil. By using the varieties of cloves, you can reap its full benefits and make this herb a part of your everyday lifestyle
Cloves are a spice that can add flavor to any meal. Cloves are generally safe for use in the quantities added to food. Frequent use of cloves or clove oil on the gums may lead to damage to the oral tissues, so it’s best to dilute it in either olive oil or in distilled water.
Where to buy clove oil?
Clove oil is easily accessible and can be found at your local food market or online.
Where can you purchase cloves?
Cloves are available in the form of powder, leaves, and stems and can be found either online or at your nearest grocery store in the spice and condiments section.
Where do cloves come from?
Cloves are the flower bud of the evergreen plant that grows in tropical and subtropical conditions native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and parts of Africa.
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3 Chaieb K, Hajlaoui H, Zmantar T, Kahla-Nakbi AB, Rouabhia M, Mahdouani K, Bakhrouf A. The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): A short review. Phytother Res. 2007 Jun;21(6):501-6. Review. PubMed PMID: 17380552.