What Are Cloves?
Cloves come from the flower buds of clove trees, and if you’re interested in more scientific language, the tree can also be called Syzygium aromaticum. Cloves are a wooden red-brown color and look like little spikes with a bulb at the top. The spice is indigenous to many Asian countries like India and Indonesia. Clove is a very popular spice in many Asian cuisines, including garam masala, a traditional Indian dish. Both the taste and smell of clove is strong thanks to the presence of eugenol, and so typically when it is used for cooking, the whole cloves are removed. Be sure to pick all of them out, too, because accidentally biting down on a clove could cause some serious tooth damage! Ouch!
5 Huge Benefits of Eating Cloves
But let’s get to the good stuff and all the health benefits of clove. Sure, clove tastes great, but lots of other spices and foods do. The real question is, what else can clove do for us? It’s time to talk about the natural health benefits of this special spice.
Clove has got your back! Well, your liver. We all love to talk about heart health and gut health, but let’s show some love for the liver as well! The liver is important to metabolic processes in the body, breaking down fats and producing energy for the rest of the body to utilize. It also makes proteins that are key in blood clotting. We need to protect our liver, and luckily there are lots of health benefits of clove for the liver!
One of clove’s health benefits is that it has many antioxidants. You’d be very surprised to find out that cloves actually contain about thirty times more antioxidants than blueberries, and we all know blueberries to be one of the ultimate superfoods! Antioxidants play an important role in protecting our organs from harmful free radicals and oxidative stress. As humans age, our metabolism over time results in more free radicals and less antioxidants, and so clove can help balance this out for the better. For this reason, there are lots of health benefits of clove in supporting your liver health and preventing liver disease.
- Eating cloves can protect your liver
This health benefits of clove have sparked the interest of doctors when it comes to taking measures against cancer. Clove has been shown to have chemopreventive and anticarcinogenic properties. The health benefits of clove extracts and oils have been studied in test-tubes at concentrated levels, revealing that they are capable of inhibiting the growth of tumors and even encouraging the death of cancer cells. Cloves seem to be particularly effective against esophageal cancer cells and cervical cancer cells. Clove extract also appeared to be quite useful in controlling early stage lung cancer as well!
- Clove has anticancer properties
There are even health benefits of clove for those suffering from diabetes! Clove may be a good spice to add to your diet. Studies of clove extracts have come to show that the oils in this powerful spice can actually mimic insulin in particular ways that help control blood sugar levels - and we know that’s significant because those who are diabetic do not have sufficient amounts of insulin being produced.
Further studies have also shown that nigericin, which is another compound found in cloves, can increase the amount of sugar being transferred from the blood into our cells. This then consequently increases the amount of insulin being secreted by the cells, additionally enhancing the function of those insulin-producing cells. What’s even better? All of this is done naturally through this amazing spice!
- Clove can help control your blood sugar levels
We learn from a pretty early age that bad bacteria, which we simply call germs, can cause illness and unwanted symptoms such as coughing and a runny nose. What we didn’t necessarily learn was the different ways in which we can protect ourselves from this bacteria, besides washing our hands after touching contaminated surfaces. Most of us may not know that clove can help to protect against bacteria and keep us healthy!
Clove is a spice that has lots of antibacterial health benefits and antimicrobial properties. These properties work together to be the bane of bacteria’s existence - so that’s definitely another natural benefit for you! The health benefits of clove extract are actually strong enough, according to tests, to kill human pathogens. It has also been shown to be particularly effective in fighting against the bacteria that causes cholera (cholera is a disease that leads to diarrhea and dehydration). For those who live in industrialized countries, we don’t really need to be concerned about that particular bacteria. Regardless, clove can kill off other harmful bacteria too! A test-tube study revealed that the essential oil within clove can successfully kill some common types of bacteria, such as E. coli.
- Clove has antibacterial properties
Yes, it’s true! The antibacterial properties of clove that we just talked about translate positively to your oral health as well! Extracts from clove buds are able to control how much oral pathogens may grow, and oral pathogens are what can cause a variety of oral diseases. Clove is found to even stop the growth of bacteria that could end up causing gum diseases such as periodontitis or gingivitis.
But that’s not all clove is good for when it comes to our mouths. Thanks to clove’s natural pain-killing properties, it can be used for toothache treatments that are meant to dull mouth pain. Cloves are also helpful with pain in general because they possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well. Clove oil has been used to treat toothaches for possibly over 2,000 years in China, but the first actual documented use of the oil as a toothache remedy was in 1640. Some parents even use clove oil mixed with coconut oil to soothe their teething infants by applying the oil mixture to the baby’s gums.
As an added health benefit, clove can also promote better breath. Consuming cloves or even using the oil (along with a mixture of tea tree oil and basil) on a daily basis can eliminate bad breath by decreasing the amount of bacteria and plaque. A natural mouthwash sounds better than the bright-colored chemical-ridden ones, doesn’t it?
- Clove can enhance your oral health