What are Cloves?
Cloves are the unopened flower buds of the tropical evergreen clove tree, native to Indonesia. They are reddish brown and are nail shaped. Minerals in cloves include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc. The vitamins found in them include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin K.
Cloves have certain bioactive compounds which includes flavonoids, hexane, methylene chloride, ethanol, thymol, eugenol, and benzene. These biochemicals have been reported to possess various properties, including antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cloves has many health benefits which includes aiding in digestion, fighting against cancer, protecting the liver, boosting the immune system, controlling diabetes, and preserving bone quality. They also contain anti-mutagenic and anti-microbial properties, along with fighting against oral diseases and headaches, while also displaying aphrodisiac properties.
History Of Cloves
Archeologists have found cloves in a ceramic vessel in Syria, with evidence that dates the find to within a few years of 1721 BCE. In the third century BCE, a Chinese leader in the Han Dynasty required those who addressed him to chew cloves to freshen their breath. Cloves were traded by Muslim sailors and merchants during the Middle Ages in the profitable Indian Ocean trade, the clove trade is also mentioned by Ibn Battuta and even famous Arabian Nights characters such as Sinbad the Sailor are known to have bought and sold cloves from India.
Until modern times, cloves grew only on a few islands in the Moluccas (historically called the Spice Islands), including Bacan, Makian, Moti, Ternate, and Tidore. In fact, the clove tree that experts believe is the oldest in the world, named Afo, is on Ternate. The tree is between 350 and 400 years old. Tourists are told that seedlings from this very tree were stolen by a Frenchman named Pierre Poivre in 1770, transferred to the Isle de France (Mauritius), and then later to Zanzibar, which was once the world’s largest producer of cloves.
Until cloves were grown outside of the Maluku Islands, they were traded like oil, with an enforced limit on exportation. As the Dutch East India Company consolidated its control of the spice trade in the 17th century, they sought to gain a monopoly in cloves as they had in nutmeg. However, “unlike nutmeg and mace, which were limited to the minute Bandas, clove trees grew all over the Moluccas, and the trade in cloves was way beyond the limited policing powers of the corporation.
Scientific Facts About Clove
Clove is the dried bud of the flower from the tree Syzygium aromaticum. It belongs to the plant family named Myrtaceae. The plant is an evergreen plant growing in tropical and subtropical conditions. Clove is an herb and people use various parts of the plant, including the dried bud, stems, and leaves to make medicine. Clove oil is also famous for its medicinal properties.
Clove has been used for thousands of years in India and China not only as a spice and condiment but also as a medicine for many ailments. Ayurvedic medicine used cloves for tooth decay, halitosis, and bad breath. In Chinese medicine, clove was considered to possess aphrodisiac properties.
Nutrition Value of Cloves
According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, the nutrients found in 100 grams of cloves include 65 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, 13 grams of total lipids, 2 grams of sugars, 274 kcal of energy, and 33 grams of dietary fibers. Minerals in cloves include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc. The vitamins found in them include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K.
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 274
- Total Fat 13 g – 20% RDA
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 277 mg – 11% RDA
- Potassium 1,020 mg – 29% RDA
- Total Carbohydrate 66 g – 22% RDA
- Dietary fiber 34 g – 136% RDA
- Sugar 2.4 g
- Protein 6 g – 12% RDA
- Vitamin A 3% RDA
- Calcium 63% RDA
- Iron 65% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 20% RDA
- Magnesium 64% RDA
Contain Important Nutrients
Cloves contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, so using whole or ground cloves to add flavor to your food can provide some important nutrients. Fiber can help prevent constipation and promote regularity, vitamin C may help strengthen your immune system and vitamin K is an important nutrient for blood clotting.
Meanwhile, manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining brain function and building strong bones. In addition to the nutrients listed above, ground cloves contain small amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin E
Bioactive Substances in Cloves
Certain bioactive compounds have been isolated from clove extracts. Some of them include flavonoids, hexane, methylene chloride, ethanol, thymol, eugenol, and benzene. These biochemicals have been reported to possess various properties, including antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Nutrition Health Benefits of Cloves
Health Benefits of Cloves
1. Aids in Digestion
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.
2. Strengthens Bones
The hydro-alcoholic extracts of cloves include phenolic compounds such as eugenol and its derivatives, such as flavones, isoflavones, and flavonoids. These extracts have been particularly helpful in preserving bone density and the mineral content of bone, as well as increasing tensile strength of bones in case of osteoporosis.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar
In patients suffering from diabetes, the amount of insulin produced by the body is either insufficient, or it is not produced at all. Cloves contain a compound called nigericin, which improves insulin secretion and the health of cells that produce insulin.
4. Liver Health
Cloves contain high amounts of antioxidants, which are ideal for protecting the organs from the effects of free radicals, especially the liver. Metabolism, in the long run, increases free radical production and lipid profile, while decreasing the antioxidants in the liver. Clove extracts are helpful in counteracting these effects with its hepatoprotective properties.
5. Boosts Immunity
Cloves contain compounds like vitamin C that help in improving the immune system by increasing the white blood cell count, thereby, improving delayed-type hypersensitivity.
6. Reduces Cancer Risk
Cloves have chemo-preventive or anti-carcinogenic properties which helps in controlling lung cancer at its early stages. They also contain phenylpropanoids which possess anti-mutagenic properties. Mutagens are those chemicals that change the genetic makeup of the DNA by causing mutations.
7. Fights Inflammation
Eugenol in clove is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.Clove also fights inflammation of the mouth and throat. A study done by the University of Florida, subjects who consumed cloves on a daily basis had reduced levels of a specific pro-inflammatory cytokine in just seven days. Lowering these cytokines can significantly reduce the likelihood of arthritis and joint pains. In fact, long-term inflammation can lead to arthritis.
8. Respiratory Health
This is especially true with clove oil – it can be used for treating bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory issues like cold and cough. The oil soothes the respiratory tract and also has an anti-inflammatory effect. You can simply massage the oil into your chest, sinuses, and even the bridge of the nose – doing this opens the breathing passages and gives you relief. You can also add the oil (or steep a few cloves) to a glass of warm water and take it as tea.
9. Oral Health
The eugenol in clove has anesthetic and has antibacterial properties which help relief 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 – after which you can crush them 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.
10. Skin Care
Cloves have antibacterial and antifungal properties which helps fight infection and fight inflammation, thereby effectively treating acne.
11. Antibacterial Properties
Cloves have been tested for their antibacterial properties against a number of human pathogens. The extracts of cloves were potent enough to kill those pathogens. Clove extracts are also effective against the specific bacteria that spread cholera.
12. Chemo-preventive Properties
Cloves are of interest to the medical community due to their chemo-preventive or anti-carcinogenic properties. Tests have shown that they are helpful in controlling lung cancer at its early stages.
13. Diabetes Control
Cloves have been used in many traditional remedies for a number of diseases. One such disease is diabetes. In patients suffering from diabetes, the amount of insulin produced by the body is either insufficient, or it is not produced at all. Studies have revealed that extracts from cloves imitate insulin in certain ways and help in controlling blood sugar levels.
14. Anti-mutagenic Properties
Mutagens are those chemicals that change the genetic makeup of the DNA by causing mutations. Biochemical compounds found in cloves, like phenylpropanoids, possess anti-mutagenic properties. These were administered to cells treated with mutagens and they were able to control the mutagenic effects to a significant rate.
15. Boosts the Immune System
Ayurveda describes certain plants to be effective in developing and protecting the immune system. One such plant is clove. The dried flower bud of clove contains compounds that help in improving the immune system by increasing the white blood cell count, thereby, improving delayed-type hypersensitivity.
16. Aphrodisiac Properties
Spices such as clove and nutmeg have been said to possess aphrodisiac properties, according to Unani medicine. Experiments on clove and nutmeg extracts were tested against standard drugs administered for that reason, and both clove and nutmeg showed positive results.
17. Cure for Headaches
Headaches can be reduced by using cloves. Make a paste of a few cloves and mix it with a dash of rock salt. Add this to a glass of milk. This mixture reduces headaches quickly and effectively.
18. Reduce Stomach Ulcers
Some research indicates that the compounds found in cloves could help treat stomach ulcers. Also known as peptic ulcers, stomach ulcers are painful sores that form in the lining of the stomach, duodenum or esophagus. They are most commonly caused by reductions in the protective lining of the stomach that are due to factors like stress, infection and genetics.
In one animal study, the 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 animal study found that clove extract helped treat stomach ulcers and had effects similar to several anti-ulcer medications. Though the anti-ulcer effects of cloves and their compounds may be promising, further studies are needed on their effects in humans.
Studies show that cloves can act as an effective anti-carcinogenic which is a substance that can protect that body against the growth of cancers by inhibiting them. This was applied specifically to lung cancer, and results showed that cloves stopped the growth completely.
20. Relieve Stress
Cloves have a calming effect on the nerves which can be useful when a person is under stress. This induces the production of hormones which regulate the stress level and uplift the mood. Using cloves to make some aromatic tea will soothe the nerves and reduce any anxiety that the person is facing.
21. Treat Wounds
Being an exceptional analgesic and antiseptic, cloves are highly regarded as being effective for treating bruises and scrapes. Considering that it also has anti-inflammatory properties, it will work well for swellings as well.
22. Treat Acne
The antibacterial properties of cloves are extremely helpful in reducing acne on the skin. Pimples and acne are caused by the accumulation of dirt and harmful bacteria which uses your skin as a breeding ground. The antibacterial properties of clove extracts can reduce such skin problems while the anti-inflammatory characteristic lessens the redness and swelling of such issues.
23. Youthful Skin
The presence of antioxidants in cloves makes it a great addition to the lifestyle of youthful skin. Harmful radicals cause the skin cells to age rapidly, and this causes premature wrinkles. Cloves can battle such radicals with antioxidants and help your skin stay youthful.
24. Temporarily treat a toothache.
You can temporarily alleviate the pain by dabbing a little clove oil on a cotton ball and placing it on the sore tooth or on your gums. An added benefit is that it will also pull out any infection.
25. Boost Testosterone Levels
Studies have shown how oral ingestion of cloves can enhance testicular function and ultimately boost testosterone levels. Though the study has been carried on mice, the potential for humans is encouraging. Some sources say that cloves can also enhance fertility.
26. Bad breath
Bad breath can be cured by consuming the buds of clove daily. Its bud release necessary enzymes that kill the bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath. Clove can be consumed as a power or as a whole bud. To eat the bud, simply soak them in water for about 10 minutes before adding them to your favorite soup or salad. Just one of the many benefits of cloves to make your day brighter.
27. Treats morning sickness
Even though this condition is called morning sickness, it isn’t limited to just the hours before noon. Pregnant women of all kinds can experience this draining sickness throughout the day. Fortunately, one of the amazing health benefits of cloves is that it proves to be a wonderful spice to treat morning sickness and to kick start the day in a fresh, energized way.
How to treat morning sickness using clove: Mix around eight to ten cloves in palm sugar and tamarind. Add water to this mixture. Drink this solution twice a day for a period of two weeks for an effective treatment.
28. Aids in overcoming flatulence
Flatulence is caused due to the accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal. This not only causes uneasiness in the body, but it also leads to pain in the lower abdomen. Not to mention the embarrassment caused by flatulence. One of the less-known health benefits of cloves is the fact that it can help reduce the amount of flatulence that accumulates throughout the day to alleviate pain and give you a much-needed boost of confidence.
Natural remedy to overcome flatulence: Take 4 to 5 clove buds and boil them in water. Drink this herbal concoction on an empty stomach every morning to treat flatulence.
29. Prevents hair loss
Thinning of hair and hair fall is a common effect of aging. However, it is believed that one of the benefits of cloves is that the oil can help grow and thicken hair and reduce baldness.
How to prevent hair loss using clove oil: Mix a part of clove oil with three parts of eucalyptus oil in olive oil and massage it into your scalp.
30. Refresh hair color & add shine to your hair
Another benefit of using clove in your health regime is its property to refresh the hair color and add the natural shine to your hair. Clove helps in the color conditioning of hair.
Process: Add a few clove buds to boiling water. Let the mixture settle. Rinse your hair with the cooled mixture after shampooing your hair.
Selection And Storage Of Cloves
Clove buds can be readily available year around in the spice markets. Good quality buds should release sweet fragrance when squeezed between the thumb and index fingers. In the store, buy whole buds instead of powder since oftentimes it may contain adulterated spicy powders. The buds should be wholesome with stem and sepals, and compact.
Whole cloves should be stored in a cool dark place in close containers for many months and can be milled using “hand mill” as and when required. Ground/powder clove should be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers and should be used as early as possible since it loses its flavor quickly.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking Cloves
Since cloves have a very intense flavor, especially those that have been ground, care should be taken when deciding how much to use in a recipe so as to not overpower the flavors of the other ingredients The easiest way to grind whole cloves into a powder is to use a coffee grinder.
Quick Serving Ideas Of Cloves
- Pierce an onion with whole cloves and add to soups, broths or poaching liquids.
- Adding ground cloves and curry powder to healthy sautéed onions, garlic and tofu will give this dish an Indian-inspired zest.
- Impart a warming note to apple cider by adding ground cloves and cinnamon.
- Spice up fruit compote by adding ground cloves.
- Add clove powder, walnuts and raisins to your favorite Thanksgiving stuffing recipe.
Clove Simple Recipe
Clove and Cinnamon Tea
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 clove, crushed
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon tea leaves
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon raw milk, optional
1. Boil water, cloves and cinnamon powder.
2. Cover the pot with a tight lid to retain flavors.
3. Boil for about two minutes.
4. Lower the heat and add the tea leaves.
5. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes or until it is drinkable.
6. Add the honey and milk. Serve.
World’s Greatest Vegetable Broth
- 1 pound celery
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet onions
- 1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound tomatoes, cored
- 1 pound green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound turnips, cubed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 gallon water
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove leaves and tender inner parts of celery. Set aside.
3. Toss onions, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers and turnips with coconut oil. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and place them in the oven. Stir the vegetable every 15 minutes. Cook until all of the vegetables have browned and the onions start to caramelize. This takes about an hour.
4. Put the browned vegetables, celery, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley and water into a stockpot. Bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until liquid is reduced in half.
5. Pour the broth through a colander, catching the broth in a large bowl or pot. The broth can be use immediately in other dishes or frozen for future use.
The essential oil, eugenol in this spice has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum. Eugenol also has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, but further detailed studies required to establish its benefits. Its decoction is sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion in traditional medicine preparations.
It is also thought to have a natural anti-parasite (kills intestinal worms) function. The essential volatile oils function as a rubefacient, meaning that it irritates the skin and expands the blood vessels, increasing the flow of blood to make the skin feel warmer, making it a popular home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles, used either as a poultice or in hot baths. Clove oil is also used in aromatherapy.
In order to keep the fragrance and flavor intact, clove is generally grounded just before preparing dishes and added at the last moment in the kitchen, since prolonged cooking results in evaporation of its essential oils.
This popular spice has been used in the preparation of many regular dishes in Asian and Chinese cuisine since ancient times. Along with other spices like pepper, turmeric, ginger, etc. is being used in marinating chicken, fish, and meat.
Some of Indian vegetarian, chicken and rice dishes (biryani) contain cloves, and in the Middle East, it is used in meat and rice dishes The spicy buds also feature in the preparation of soups, barbecue sauces, pickling and as one of the ingredients in curry powders.
How to Buy Cloves
- Cloves are widely available in both forms in the market, whole and powdered. However, it is best to purchase whole cloves as the powdered variety tends to lose its flavor and aroma too soon.
- To check the quality of cloves, pick up a bud and squeeze it between your fingernails. In case it releases some oil, you have selected the right clove. So, go ahead with the batch.
- Alternatively, you can soak a clove in a cup of water. If it is of good quality, the clove will float vertically, and if it is stale, it will either sink or lay flat horizontally.
- While selecting whole cloves, choose those with plump heads, as the buds have the best flavor stored in them
How to use cloves
- Ground cloves can be used in similar ways as cinnamon and ginger and can be used to flavor applesauce, oatmeal, muffins, and cookies.
- This recipe for gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting uses ground cloves.
- Cloves are also sometimes used to make chai, which is a mixture of tea, spices, and milk popular in India and Pakistan. This cardamom ginger chai recipe incorporates cloves.
- Cloves can be used in savory dishes as in this recipe for baked chicken with artichokes, cinnamon, and preserved lemons and this one for slow-cooker braised beef with carrots & turnips.
Clove Bud Oil Uses and How You Can Make Your Own
Clove oil uses are incredibly impressive, ranging from improving blood circulation and reducing inflammation to helping acne and boosting gum health. One of the best-known clove oil uses is to reduce the pain associated with dental problems. Even mainstream toothpaste makers agree that clove oil reduces the pain and swelling that comes with a toothache.
In addition to being a proven anti-inflammatory and pain reducer, one of the common clove oil uses is as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial to keep countless diseases at bay, which is why it can be such a wise choice for boosting your immune system as well as a powerful addition to homemade cleaning products.
Clove bud oil is generally utilized for oral health due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which help against bad breath and other mouth problems. It also has potential benefits as a digestive aid, skin care product and an aromatherapy oil. Topically applying clove bud oil can address warts, acne, sagging skin and wrinkles, too. However, make sure that you dilute this essential oil with a carrier oil to avoid allergic reactions.
Plant Origin of Clove Oil
Indigenous to Indonesia and Madagascar, clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) can be found in nature as the unopened pink flower buds of the tropical evergreen tree. Picked by hand in late summer and again in winter, the buds are dried until they turn brown. The buds are then left whole, ground into a spice or are steam-distilled to produce clove essential oil.
The island of Zanzibar (part of Tanzania) is the world’s biggest producer of cloves. Other top producers include Indonesia and Madagascar. Unlike most other spices, clove can be grown throughout the entire year, which has given native tribes that use it a distinct advantage over other cultures because the health benefits can be enjoyed more readily.
Cloves can be anywhere from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch in length. They generally are composed of 14 percent to 20 percent essential oil. The main chemical component of the oil is eugenol, which is also responsible for clove oil’s strong fragrance. In addition to its common medicinal uses (especially for oral health), eugenol is also commonly included in mouthwashes and perfumes, and it’s also employed in the creation of vanillin.
History of Clove Oil
History tells us that the Chinese have used clove for more than 2,000 years as a fragrance and spice. Cloves were brought to the Han dynasty of China from Indonesia as early as 200 BC. Back then, people would hold cloves in their mouths to improve breath odor during audiences with their emperor. Clove cultivation used to occur pretty much exclusively in Indonesia until late in the 1700s when the French smuggled cloves from the East Indies to the Indian Ocean islands and the New World.
Clove oil was also one of the main essential oils that protected people from getting the bubonic plague in Europe. A group of robbers was caught by the the king and he asked them why they weren’t ill or dead from the plague exposure they said it was because they covered themselves with this protective blend of oils (“thieves oil”), which included clove. The ancient Persians supposedly used clove oil as a love potion.
Meanwhile, Ayurvedic healers have long-used clove oil to treat digestive issues, fever and respiratory problems. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, clove is highly acclaimed for its antifungal and antibacterial abilities. The list of clove oil uses throughout history really goes on and on, but I’ll stop there. Today, clove oil continues to be used in numerous products for health, agricultural and cosmetic purposes.
Clove Oil Benefits
The health benefits of clove oil are vast and include supporting the health of your liver, skin and mouth. Here are some of most common medicinal clove oil uses today:
1. Skin Health and Acne
Scientific research demonstrates clove oil’s ability to effectively kill off both the planktonic cells and biofilms of a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus or S. aureus. What does this have to do with skin health and, more specifically, acne? S. aureus is one of several strains of bacteria that have been scientifically linked with the pathogenesis of acne.
As a natural remedy to eliminate acne, take 3 drops clove oil and mix with 2 teaspoons raw honey. Mix together and wash your face as usual.
2. Fights Candida
One of the most powerful clove oil uses is fighting candida — which is something that I have spoken of at length — and something that continues to plague Americans because of their high-sugar, acidic diets. Published in the journal Oral Microbiology & Immunology, a study was conducted to see how clove fared against other antifungal treatments and observed that it was as effective as nystatin, a drug commonly prescribed to manage yeast infections of the mouth (thrush), which has a slew of ugly side effects.
Also, in addition to eliminating candida, clove essential oil is effective at killing intestinal parasites. I personally recommend it as an effective treatment for a short-term parasite cleanse. To do a candida or parasite cleanse, you can take clove oil internally for two weeks, but I recommend being under the care of a physician or nutritionist when doing so. Also, consume large amounts of probiotic-rich foods and/or take a probiotic supplement and make sure to eliminate processed sugar and grains.
3. Toothache Relief
One of the most well-known clove oil uses, as a remedy for toothaches, was first documented in 1640 in the French “Practice of Physic,” although there is reason to believe that the Chinese were applying this homeopathic remedy for over 2,000 years.
Today, clove is widely accepted as a reliable solution for dry socket and for relieving the pain and discomfort associated with various dental disorders. The Journal of Dentistry, for instance, published a study in 2006 proving that clove essential oil had the same numbing effect as benzocaine, a topical agent commonly used before needle insertion.
Additionally, research has suggested that clove oil has even more far-reaching effects. The Indian Department of Public Health Dentistry recently conducted a study that evaluated clove’s ability to slow tooth decalcification, or dental erosion, compared to eugenol, eugenyl-acetate, fluoride and a control group. Not only did clove oil lead the pack by significantly decreasing decalcification, it was observed that it actually remineralized teeth.
This study highlights yet again that the so-called benefits of fluoridating our water supply and mainstream dental products is not worth the risk. As I have covered at length in previous articles, why take the risk of using a fluoride product, when clove can accomplish the same goal? If you haven’t already, check out my article for an easy, healthy Remineralizing Toothpaste Recipe, which includes clove oil and will help you steer clear of the dangers of fluoride products!
4. High Antioxidant Content
Second only to raw sumac bran, ground clove has the astounding ORAC value of 290,283 units! This means that per gram cloves contain 30 times more antioxidants than blueberries which have a value of 9,621.
In a nutshell, antioxidants are molecules that reverse the damage caused by free radicals, including cell death and cancer. Research has shown that antioxidants slow aging, degeneration and protect the body against bad bacteria and viruses. Because of its high antioxidant count and eugenol levels, clove is also known as the ultimate “protective” herb and has been used in essential oil blends such as “Thieves” oil.
5. Digestive Aid and Ulcer Helper
One of the traditional clove oil uses has been for the treatment of common complaints related to the digestive system, including indigestion, motion sickness, bloating and flatulence (accumulation of gas in the digestive tract).
Research also demonstrates that clove oil may be able to help when it comes to ulcer formation in the digestive system. A study using various animal models published in 2011 finds that clove oil has both gastro-protective and anti-ulcer properties. The oil of cloves significantly enhanced gastric mucus production, which protects the lining of the digestive tract and prevents erosion that contributes to gastritis and ulcer formation.
6. Powerful Antibacterial
Clove oil has been shown to inhibit gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria as well as yeast. This is huge, especially since gram-negative bacteria are often resistant to antibiotics and other antibacterial interventions.
To evaluate its effectiveness as an antibacterial agent, researchers from the University of Buenos Aires set out to determine which bacteria are most sensitive to clove’s potency. According to their study, clove has the greatest antimicrobial ability over E. coli and also exerted considerable control over Staph aureus, which causes acne, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes pneumonia.
7. Immune System Booster
There’s a good reason why clove oil is included in the Four Thieves Oil Blend. With its potent antibacterial and antiviral abilities, clove oil can help boost the immune system to fight off, or even prevent, the common cold and flu. With its potent ability to kill the offenders that make us sick, clove oil is commonly highlighted as a top natural remedy for guarding yourself from illness, especially during cold and flu season.
8. May Help Lower Blood Pressure and Boost Heart Health
If you’re struggling with high blood pressure, or hypertension, clove oil may be able to help. Animal research published in 2015 in the British Journal of Pharmacology reveals that the eugenol found in clove oil may be able to dilate major arteries in the body while also reducing systemic blood pressure. The study concludes, “Eugenol may be therapeutically useful as an antihypertensive agent.”
A scientific study also isolated another impressive active compound of cloves called acetyl eugenol. The researchers found acetyl eugenol to be a “potent platelet inhibitor” in human blood cells, which means it prevents the clumping together of platelets in the blood. Platelet aggregation (platelets clumping together) is one of the factors that lead to the formation of a thrombus or blood clot.
This is definitely a significant finding since antiplatelet, or blood thinning, medications are commonly used to treat coronary heart disease and to reduce the risk of heart attack. Clove is known to act as a natural blood thinner, so much so that it’s not recommended to combine clove oil with other conventional blood thinners.
9. Anti-inflammatory and Liver Protective
Although it has been suspected for centuries to treat inflammatory conditions, the Journal of Immunotoxicology just recently published the first-ever study proving that the eugenol in oil of cloves is indeed a powerful anti-inflammatory.
This study demonstrates that low doses of eugenol can protect the liver against disease. It was also observed that eugenol reverses inflammation and cellular oxidation (which speeds the aging process). In addition, researchers noted that taking large doses internally could harm the digestive lining and using it externally can irritate sensitive skin. So, as with all essential oils, it’s important not to overdo it! Clove oil (and all essential oils) are extremely concentrated, so remember that a little truly goes a long way.
Clove Oil Uses
As you can see so far, there are so many clove oil uses! Adding some cloves or clove oil to your health regimen is a great way to naturally boost your antioxidant levels.
If you want to harness the health benefits of clove essential oil, consider diffusing it in your home to clean the air. Diffusing it is an especially helpful method of using clove oil for improving immune health and blood pressure.
Have a a toothache? Put a few drops of clove oil on a cotton swab and apply the oil directly to the gums around the painful tooth. If you find the clove oil to be too strong, you can dilute it with coconut oil or olive oil. If you don’t have any clove oil on hand, a whole clove can work well, too, by putting it in your mouth near the problem area and letting it remain there until you feel some relief.
Clove oil makes a great addition to homemade personal care products like deodorant and and toothpaste. It’s also a potent antibacterial ingredient to add to homemade cleaners.
If you’re exposed to people with a cold or flu, you can mix it with coconut oil and rub it on your neck and chest for natural antioxidant protection. For high blood pressure, you can also dilute it with coconut oil and apply it to your wrists.
Due to its strength, clove oil should be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or other gentle oils for most topical applications and only used for short periods of up to two weeks internally.
Possible Side Effects and Caution
Clove is known to slow down blood clotting due to its eugenol content. Clove is known to interact with blood thinning medications such as anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs and for this reason should not to combined with such drugs.
Dilution of clove oil with a carrier oil like coconut is recommended for topical use. Using the oil undiluted on skin can cause irritation. When taking clove oil internally, do not use for longer than two weeks consecutively. When taking cloves essential oil internally, I always recommend taking a probiotic supplement twice daily to restore beneficial flora.
Clove essential oil is typically not recommended for use with children under the age of 2. Talk to your doctor before using clove oil internally or externally if you are pregnant, nursing or being treated for any ongoing health concerns. Always make sure you are using a 100 percent pure, organic and therapeutic grade clove essential oil.
Clove Oil Key Points
- Clove essential oil is high in antioxidants and has potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, making it effective for a large variety of common health concerns including toothaches and candida.
- Clove oil uses include the natural treatment of acne, the common cold, influenza, high blood pressure and digestive complaints.
- Clove oil can be used externally or internally depending on the health concern. For high blood pressure and cold/flu relief, try diffusing clove oil in your home or office.
- Make sure to dilute clove essential oil before using it topically and don’t take it internally for longer than two weeks at a time. Make sure to also supplement with a probiotic during that time to retain a healthy balance of bacteria since clove oil is such a potent natural remedy.
How to Make Infused Clove Oil
- 4 fresh clove buds, crushed
- Carrier oil, such as coconut oil
- Glass container with spout
Airtight bottleneck jar
- Take the airtight jar and place the four crushed cloves at the bottom. Crush them thoroughly so that they can fit into the container.
- Fill the jar with the carrier oil until the cloves are submerged, but not too much to overfill the container.
- Seal the container tightly. Exposure to air can affect the oil’s potency.
- Set aside the mixture for a week in an area where it can be exposed to sunlight.
- Transfer the mixture into the glass container with a spout. Use the strainer to remove any sediment. Do not hesitate to strain the oil a couple of times to make sure particles are completely removed.
- Dispose of the cloves from the strainer and do not reuse these cloves, as doing so can impact the effectiveness of the oil.
- The strained mixture should be poured back into the airtight bottleneck container.
- When storing, make sure the oil of is sealed tight. Shelf life can last from four to five years. Color may darken as time progresses.
Note These Contraindications for the Use of Clove Oil
Keep in mind that the oil of cloves should be used moderately. Because of the high content of eugenol, excessive use may cause nausea, vomiting and blood clotting problems. Other contraindications for this essential oil include the following:
- Phototoxicity. Do not use this oil before going out into direct sunlight, as it can lead to severe burns and other skin problems.
- Aspirin or anticoagulant medications. Clove bud oil can slow down platelet activity, which can interfere with these medications and cause adverse effects.
- Allergic reactions. Topically applying clove bud oil on damaged skin may cause severe allergic reactions and can further damage the skin.
To make sure that you’re using this oil correctly and you have the right dose, consult a health practitioner first. This is so you don’t unknowingly harm yourself in your pursuit of improving your health.
Negative Effects of Using Clove
Clove Oil: Clove oils must not be used directly; instead they must be diluted either in olive oil or in distilled water. Clove extract oil is generally considered to be safe, but certain studies have revealed that they possess cytotoxic properties. There are two major components present in clove extract oil; eugenol, and B-caryophyllene. These compounds were particularly effective against fibroblasts and endothelial cells.
Clove Cigarettes: In Indonesia, cloves are consumed on a large scale in the form of cigarettes, popularly known as kreteks. These clove cigarettes have emerged as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but research shows that clove cigarettes are actually worse than conventional cigarettes. In the case of clove cigarettes, the amount of nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar entering into the lungs was higher than that from normal tobacco cigarettes.
1. Increases Bleeding:
Overconsumption of clove can thin out your blood and increase the risk of bleeding. The spice contains a chemical named ‘eugenol’, which being a blood-thinning agent, can decelerate the process of blood clotting, promoting abnormal bleeding. It is advised that you stay away from eating too much of clove while suffering from bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, or taking drugs with anticoagulants. It is also advised to stop the intake of clove, a couple of weeks prior to undergoing a surgery.
2. Lowers Sugar Level In The Blood:
Those who have lower than normal blood sugar level should reduce their consumption of clove immediately. It has been found that the herb can decrease the amount of glucose in our bloodstream significantly, which might be extremely harmful for hypoglycemia patients. Therefore, try to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels and modify your clove intake accordingly.
Clove can also impose serious toxic effects on you. Whether you eat improperly stored clove or use large doses of its raw extract, the chances are big that you will end up developing several symptoms like nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, sore throat, sedation, fluid imbalance, kidney disorders, liver disorders, and so on.
4. Causes Allergic Reactions:
Allergy is one of the common side effects of cloves, which is again caused by eugenol. Various allergic reactions that you may have to face due to excessive clove ingestion are rashes, hives, swelling, chocking of throat, etc. In the worst scenario, you may even develop anaphylaxis. Being an acute whole-body allergic reaction, it can cause death too.
5. Causes Respiratory Problems:
Clove cigarette has become highly popular these days. But if you smoke it frequently, you will become prone to a number of respiratory issues. By inhaling these cigarettes, you are actually allowing too much clove powder to pass through your airways as well as lungs. It can result in serious breathing problems like shortness of breath and lung infection. So avoiding these can put clove cigarettes effects at bay.
6. Causes Seizures:
When you include lots of cloves in your daily diet, you increase the risks of experiencing seizures. This spice can cause irregular electrical activity within our brain cells, thereby making us vulnerable to one-time or multiple seizures. Though the condition is mainly characterized by unconsciousness and convulsions, you may end up developing epilepsy too.
7. Makes The Skin Sensitive:
Cloves can take a toll on your skin by making it super sensitive. It is mostly true for the topical application of undiluted clove oil, which is nothing but the unprocessed or unrefined extract of the spice. It can give you irritation, rashes, burns, or contact dermatitis. Sometimes it can even damage the skin cells.
8. Causes Mouth Sensitivity:
The mucous membranes present on the inner walls of the mouth can get inflamed by too much consumption of clove or application of its oil. Several studies have revealed that it can cause extensive damage to your gum, teeth, tooth pulp, dental tissues, etc., by creating a burning sensation. It can also lead to sore lips and dental cavities over the time.
9. Loss Of Sensation:
The eugenol content of clove can turn it into a numbing agent. It has been reported that the oil extracted from the spice promotes loss of sensation while applied onto the skin again and again. Hence, make sure that you do not ever use it along with synthetic pain killers.
10. Erectile / Ejaculation Issues:
In men, clove can cause erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. Regular application of herbal creams containing clove extracts to the penis can trigger these sexual issues and your man may face extreme difficulties in ejaculating or staying erect for a considerable amount of time.
Like all other herbs and spices, you need to clove in moderation. If you experience any of these cloves side effects, stop using clove and head to your doctor!
Consumption of dishes prepared with a large quantity of clove can cause gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system disorders. Individuals with stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and diverticulitis conditions should avoid food prepared with this spice. Eating cloves is also avoided during pregnancy