Cloves have been a main ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is used as a spice in different Asian dishes, grounded or as a whole. It adds flavors to hot beverages, curries, season meat, and many sauces. Everyone knows about clove, but just as a spice. But what they don’t know is that it’s a Pandora box full of health benefits. Cloves have an impressive and wide range of health benefits.
It is anti-microbial, anti-arthritis, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It has cancer-preventive qualities and also maintains oral health. The main component that makes clove this much beneficial for health is the clove oil. It has eugenol, chemically called 4-allyl-2-methoxyphenyl, which is also present in nutmeg and basil. Studies have shown several pharmaceutical effects of eugenol.
What Are Cloves?
Cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree named SyzygiumAromaticum. It is an herb, and people use its different parts (stems, buds, and leaves) to make medicine. The health benefits of clove are still alien to many people – only a few are aware of its health aids. Clove is a part of the plant family known as Myrtaceae. These are evergreen small reddish-brown colored dried buds, and they grow in both conditions, tropical and subtropical.The rich brown color is because cloves have beta-carotene.
The name of clove comes from the Latin word clavus, which means nail as the shape says; the cloves just look like a nail. Cloves originated from the spice islands of Indonesia some 2000 years ago. And they transported from Indonesia to different regions of the world (China, sub-continent, Europe). Today, these are found growing in Sri Lanka and the Moluccas.
Recent studies have brought to light many health benefits of cloves. For instance, they help reduce stomach ulcers, blood sugar levels, aid in liver health, and many more. Here are some health benefits of clove:
1. Help Resolve Digestion Problem
Clove helps in various digestion problems and increases the rate of digestion. If fried cloves are used, they stop vomiting because cloves increase hydrochloric acid production and enhance peristalsis. Cloves also help treat nausea, loose motion and reduce stomach ulcers.
Stomach ulcers have various names; they are called peptic ulcers, gastric ulcers, or duodenal ulcers. The main reason for ulcer is due to a reduction in the protective wall of the stomach, or duodenum. And this occurs because of stress or old age. Clove increases the production of gastric juice in the stomach, which protects the stomach lining from reduction.
2. Improves Liver Health
Eugenol, the primary component of clove oil, is quite beneficial for liver health. Eugenol in cloves helps reverse the symptoms of liver cirrhosis, the last stage of scarring of the liver. And scarring of the liver caused by hepatitis or chronic alcoholism.
Cloves are full of antioxidants, which are very valuable in reducing the effect of free radicals, mainly in the liver. The process of metabolism boosts the production of free radicals and also lipids. Due to this, the antioxidants in our body reduce. And when the number of antioxidants reduces in the body, it degrades cells. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body. Using cloves increases antioxidants in the human body, and eugenol present in clove oil prevents lipid oxidation.
Cloves aids diabetic patients as it controls the blood sugar level. A study on mice revealed that clove extract and nigericin decreased insulin resistance in muscle cells of mice. Moreover, enhancements in beta-cell function and insulin excretion were also found in the mice. Insulin is a hormone that transports sugar properly from the blood into cells and hence significant for maintaining blood sugar level.
Basically, nigericin and clove increase sugar uptake from blood into cells. It has been seen that clove increases insulin excretion and enhances the functions of cells producing insulin. The principal component, eugenol, also helps in averting blood clots.
4. Maintain Oral Health
As cloves are anti-bacterial, they help maintain oral health. Researchers consider cloves an excellent natural method in preserving oral health. This is because of their effect on plaque and bacteria in the mouth. In research, components taken from cloves were seen as helpful for two types of bacteria, and both contribute to gum health.
Researchers gave some people herbal mouth wash containing clove and some other components, and others were given commercial mouth wash. After some time, people who used herbal mouthwash with clove show improvement in gum health.
Cloves are also used as an anodyne agent for dental emergencies. Anodyne is an agent that reduces pain. For temporal filling of cavities, eugenol is used in combination with zinc oxide. Due to the anti-bacterial effects of cloves on oral health, they are used in almost every dental cream and toothpaste. The anti-microbial impacts of cloves prevent halitosis (bad breath).
Cloves might assist in protecting against cancer. In researches, eugenol has shown many anticancer properties. A study has revealed that clove extract was able to stop the development of tumors and increase cell death in the cancer cell. The same research has also seen the effect of clove on mice having cancer. It has been observed that mice treated with clove extract developed less tumor than the mice treated without it.
But all this research occurs with a limited number of clove extract. Overdose of cloves can be very harmful to the liver, especially in the case of children. Also, in a study, clove extract proved very toxic for breast cancer.
6. Bone Therapy
Only in the US, 43 million older adults are suffering from a low bone mass that can lead to osteoporosis, which further increases the peril of bone breakage. Cloves have been seen to assist in protecting bone mass. Clove extract with a high concentration of eugenol can enhance bone strength.
Cloves also contain manganese, which is a bone-forming component and thus is very important for bones. If a person takes only one teaspoon of clove, then that’s more than 50% of the daily need for manganese for the body. Moreover, manganese can also help maintain metabolism and aids in wound healing.
7. Assist In Treating Athlete’s Foot
There are several oils with various anti-fungal properties, but the most famous and highly recommended is clove oil. According to a study, clove oil can destroy fungus and is used to treat the athlete’s foot.
Clove oil is used to relieve the symptoms of asthma. It also helps in decreasing the symptoms of difficulty in breathing and chest pain. Moreover, it is used to clear the nasal cavity. When aromatic clove oil is inhaled, it helps relieve different respiratory problems, such as cold, cough, and bronchitis.
Clove is a champion spice. You might know how useful cloves are in the kitchen, but many people don’t know that they pack many health benefits in them. The solution for many health problems like diabetes, bone problems, oral health is a stone’s throw from you. You can get deal with the healthproblems mentioned above by taking clove regularly. But always take them in a moderate amount because overconsumption of cloves is also very harmful.