You might have heard about the clove benefits for toothache and your dental health, but do you know that have other health benefits as well.
Originating from Indonesia, clove is a dried flower bud from the clove tree.
They are a popular spice that many individuals use in soups, stews, meats, sauces, and rice dishes.
Their name comes from a Latin word, Clavus, which means nail as the shape of a dried clove resembles that of a nail.
People all around the world have used it in cooking and traditional medicine for many years in raw form or as clove tea.
However, only recently, many scientists have begun studying their potential health benefits.
Moreover, studies suggest that the compounds in cloves have several health benefits.
These include supporting liver health, benefiting your immune system to stabilizing your blood sugar levels.
Keep on reading to learn more about the potential health benefits of clove and its uses.
Nutrients of Clove
Clove contains a number of nutrients including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Thus using them as whole or in ground form can provide you some important nutrients.
One teaspoon or 2 grams of ground cloves contains:
- calories: 6
- carbs: 1 gram
- fiber 2 grams
- manganese: 55% of the daily value or DV
- vitamin K: 2% of the DV
Manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining your brain functions and building strong bones.
Other than being a rich source of manganese. you can use cloves in small amounts and do not provide significant amounts of other nutrients.
Clove Benefits: High in Antioxidants
Along with other important vitamins and minerals, cloves are rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are compounds that help to reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases.
Clove contains Eugenal, that according to studies acts as a natural antioxidant.
According to a test tube study, eugenol helps to stop oxidative damage due to free radicals 5 times more effective than vitamin E, which is another potent antioxidant.
Thus, including cloves in your diet along with other antioxidant-rich foods can help to improve your overall health.
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Protect Against Cancer
According to some research, the compounds found in cloves can help to protect against cancer.
One test-tube study suggests that clove extract helps to stop the growth of tumors and promotes cell death in cancer cells.
Another study suggests the same results, showing the in concentrated form, clove oil causes cell death in 80% of the esophageal cancer cells.
The eugenol present in cloves has anti-cancer properties.
However, bear in mind that these test-tube studies used very concentrated amounts of clove extract, clove oil, and eugenol.
Moreover, eugenol is toxic in high amounts and its overdose can cause liver damage, especially in children.
Further research is needed to determine how lower amounts can affect humans.
Clove Benefits: Kills Bacteria
Studies suggest that clove has antimicrobial properties, which means that they can help stop the growth of micro-organism like bacteria.
According to a test-tube study, clove essential oil helps to kill 3 common types of bacteria.
These include E. coli, which is a strain of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Moreover, the antibacterial properties of cloves can even help to promote oral health.
In another study, the compounds extracted from clovers were found to stop the growth of the above 2 types of bacteria.
These two types contribute to gum diseases.
Another study suggests that using an herbal mouthwash consisting of tea tree oil, cloves, and basil improves gum health.
Moreover, it helps to reduce the amount of plaque and bacteria in your mouth.
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Helps to Improve Liver Health
Studies suggest that the beneficial compounds in cloves can help promote liver health.
The compound eugenol is especially good for the health of your liver.
According to an animal study, clove oil or eugenol improves liver functions, reduces inflammation, and decreases oxidative stress.
Thus, reducing fatty liver disease.
Another animal study suggests that cloves help to reverse the signs of liver cirrhosis or scarring of the liver.
However, the effect of clove and eugenol on the liver of humans is limited.
But one study found that individuals who take eugenol supplements for 1 week show a decrease in glutathione-S-transferases, GSTs.
This is a family of enzymes that are involved in detoxification that is often a marker of liver diseases.
Moreover, cloves are high in antioxidants that can help prevent liver diseases.
This is due to their ability to decrease oxidative stress.
However, keep in mind that eugenol is toxic in high amounts.
One case study found that clove oil caused serious damage to a child, 2 years of age when ingested 5 to 10 mL of it.
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Regulates Blood Sugar
According to studies, compounds found in cloves can help and even regulate blood sugar levels.
An animal study suggests that clove extracts can help moderate blood sugar increases in mice with diabetes.
Moreover, cloves and nigericin that increase the uptake of sugar from the blood into the cells, increases the secretion of insulin.
Thus, helps to improve the function of cells that produce insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for transporting sugar from your blood into the cells.
The proper functioning of the liver is important for maintaining steady blood sugar levels.
Along with a balanced diet, cloves can help you to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Clove Benefits: May promote Bone Health
Low bone mass is a condition that affects about 43 million older adults in the United States alone.
Image the number worldwide.
It can lead to the development of osteoporosis, which can increase the risk of breaks and fractures.
In some animal studies, clove helps to preserve bone mass.
For instance, one animal study suggests that clove extract that is high in eugenol can help improve several markers of osteoporosis.
Moreover, it helps to increase bone density and strength.
Cloves are rich in manganese, providing an impressive 30% of the DV in just 1 tsp or 2 grams of ground cloves.
Manganese is a mineral that helps in the formation of bone and is also important for the health of your bones.
However, it is important to note that current research on the effects of clove on bone mass is limited to animal and test-tube studies.
More research is needed to determine how it affects bone formation.
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Clove Benefits: Reduce Stomach Ulcers
Some of the research suggests that the compounds present in cloves can help treat stomach ulcers.
Also known as peptic ulcers, stomach ulcers can b painful sores that form in the lining of your stomach, duodenum, or esophagus.
Moreover, they are due to reductions in the protective lining of the stomach.
This is often due to stress, infections, and genetics.
According to one animal study, essential oil from cloves shows to increase the production of gastric mucus.
Gastric mucus functions are a barrier and help to prevent erosion of the stomach lining from the digestive acids.
Although the anti-ulcer effects of cloves and their compounds may be promising, further studies are required on their effects in humans.
Potential Side Effects and Risks
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are different side effects associated with clove oil.
In some cases, it can cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation or an allergic reaction on the skin.
Moreover, it is also flammable and can be fatal if you swallow it and it goes into the airway.
According to a case report, a 15-month-old child experienced liver failure after consuming 10 milliliters or ml of clove oil.
Another incident shows that a boy who drank 5 to 1o ml of clove oil experienced multiple medical conditions.
These include coma, liver damage, and problems with blood clotting.
Moreover, it can also increase your chance of bleeding or increase your body’s response to warfarin.
Thus, it is important to discuss the use of any herbal products with your medical professional, so that they can review potential side effects and interactions.
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Cloves are popular for their strong taste and smell, and you can purchase them in ground form or in the whole form.
Many cuisines use cloves, and it is an important ingredient in certain condiments like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.
Moreover, some perfumes even use it for the aroma and are also found as an essential oil.
You can use clove in similar ways as cinnamon and ginger and can also be used to flavor applesauce, oatmeal, muffins, and cookies.
It can also be used in tea along with certain other spices.
Clove benefits for your health are several, including keeping your blood sugar in check and help to reduce the growth of bacteria. As with different healthy foods, they are most effective when you include them as a part of a healthy and balanced diet.
You can easily incorporate them into a number of dishes and they will bring a warm, distinctive flavor to desserts, curries, or chutneys. Moreover, you can also simmer whole cloves in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes to make a soothing tea.