Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. Flower buds are greenish or reddish while fresh but becomes brown and brittle on drying. Cloves are used in the cuisine for imparting beautiful aroma and flavor to curries, and marinades.
Clove contains a heavy volatile oil of 16-20%, the oil contains eugenol, eugenolacetate and caryophyllene. The component that gives clove its unique taste, is mainly imparted by the chemical eugenol.
Apart from adding flavor in dishes, cloves are also known for their potent medicinal health benefits. Studies have shown that the compounds in cloves help to keep your liver healthy and also help to stabilize the blood sugar levels.
Antioxidants In Cloves
Cloves contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic disease.
In addition to eugenol, ground cloves contain vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in your body and helps to neutralize free radicals, which can cause harmful oxidative stress. Vitamin C may help to strengthen your immune system. Including cloves in your diet along with other antioxidant-rich foods can help to improve your overall health.
Cloves Fight Inflammation
Studies have shown that the eugenol in clove act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Clove also fights inflammation of the mouth and throat.
A study, conducted by the University of Florida, have shown that subjects who consumed cloves on a daily basis had reduced levels of a specific pro-inflammatory cytokine in just seven days.(1) Lowering these cytokines can significantly reduce the likelihood of arthritis and joint pains. In fact, long-term inflammation can lead to arthritis – and taking clove regularly could be a good step in preventing that.
Anti-microbial And Promote Oral Health
Cloves have been shown to have anti-microbial properties and it may help to kill harmful bacteria. Studies have shown that cloves may also help to promote oral health. Clove bud extracts significantly control the growth of oral pathogens, which are responsible for various oral diseases. They can also be used for toothaches due to their pain-killing properties and can also combat bad breath.
Lower Blood Sugar Level
In patients suffering from diabetes, the amount of insulin produced by the body is either insufficient, or it is not produced at all. Extracts from cloves can imitate insulin in certain ways and help in controlling blood sugar levels. Cloves contain another compound called nigericin, which was found to improve insulin secretion and the health of cells that produce insulin.(2). This means that cloves, when taken as a part of a balanced diet, can keep your blood sugar levels in check. (Also read –> Fenugreek Seeds For Diabetes)
Improve Liver Health
Cloves contain high amounts of antioxidants, which can protect the liver from the effects of free radicals and help to promote liver health. The compound eugenol is beneficial for the liver, which has potent antioxidant properties. It may help to prevent liver disease due to their ability in decreasing oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.
Help To Fight Cancer
Cloves are also good sources of antioxidants. In fact, half a teaspoon of ground clove contains more antioxidants than half a cup of blueberries. Antioxidants fight inflammation and protect us against cancer.
One study showed how clove extract could prevent tumor growth and induce cancer cell death (3). The anti-cancer properties of clove can be attributed to eugenol, which had even shown to benefit in the case of esophageal cancer (4).
Another study showed that eugenol found in cloves has anticancer potential against cervical cancer.(5).
Cloves improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. Cloves are also good for reducing flatulence, gastric irritability, dyspepsia, and nausea. They can be roasted, powdered, or taken with honey for relief in digestive disorders. (Also read –> Natural Ways To Combat Acid Reflux)
Promote Bone Health
Low bone mass is a condition that can lead to the development of osteoporosis, which may increase the risk of bone fractures. A study have that the clove extract high in eugenol improved several markers of osteoporosis and increased bone density.(6).
Cloves are also rich in manganese a mineral that is involved in the formation of bone and really important to keep your bone healthy. Cloves are really effective when included as part of a healthy and balanced diet. (Also read –> 16 Calcium Rich Foods For Vegans)
(Also read –> Cardamom And It’s Amazing Health Benefits)