Cloves health benefits come from a number of factors. The clove tree, scientifically known as Syzigium aromaticum, produces flower buds, which are processed into the edible spice, popularly known as cloves. Syzigium aromaticum has been used as a spice, medicine and food preservative for quite a long time now. It contains a rich supply of phenolic compounds among others, which make it a suitable component for food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and agricultural products. In addition to this, it contains unparalleled antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, when compared to vegetables and fruits.
Cloves can be found, both as a whole or ground spice. In most cases, it is used to season stew, improve the taste of hot beverages and add sweetness or a spicy taste to cookies and local drinks. If you are a lover of Indian foods, you most likely have consumed a reasonable amount of cloves already. Apart from their sweet taste, cloves have medicinal importance in your body. Some of the most notable medicinal effects of cloves in the body include promoting the stability of sugar levels in the body and enhancing liver health.
If you have been looking for the right reasons to start your daily and consistent consumption of cloves, then this article is your prescription. This article seeks to serve you with information on the health benefits of cloves and its side effects. This will help you make an informed decision on how you will consume this aromatic and medicinal plant.
Health benefits of cloves
1. Fights inflammation
Eugenol, a phenolic substance in clove, is responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect of the clove. The clove oil, which is widely used by different people, also contains anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. The anti-inflammatory effect of clove is, however, not limited to the skin alone. In a research, clove was found to reduce the effect of a unique pro-inflammatory, the cytokine. Consistent consumption of cloves, on a daily basis, helps reduce the cytokines which in turn, helps to fight arthritis and other joint pains that arise from inflammation.
Cloves also reduce inflammation in the mouth and throat. To prevent the likelihoods of getting arthritis, it is wise that you include clove in your daily diet. Whether it is in its ground form or whole, the health benefits of clove remain the same. However, the powerful flavour of clove demands that you introduce small quantities of this spice into your diet as you advance gradually to consuming more quantities.
2. Has crucial nutrients for your body
Eating a balanced diet is important to achieving a healthy body and mind. Clove supplies multiple nutrients to the body, that contribute towards achieving a healthy life. some of the most notable nutrients supplied by cloves include minerals, fibre, and vitamins. Below is a breakdown on the nutrient composition of a single teaspoon of clove or 2 grams:
- Vitamin C: 3% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 4% of the RDI
- Fibre:1 gram
- Manganese: 30% of the RDI
- Calories: 21
- Carbs: 1 gram
Vitamin K is a crucial component for blood clotting. Vitamin C promotes your immune system while fibre reduces constipation. Manganese, on the other hand, is an important mineral for building stronger bones and sustaining proper brain function. All these functions are important for you to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Without proper brain function your effectiveness at work will be curtailed, and without strong bones, it will be difficult to perform simple physical tasks. In addition to these minerals, ground cloves contain little amounts of calcium, vitamin E and magnesium. With this in mind, ground cloves benefits are slowly becoming apparent to you.
3. Might protect you against cancer
Cancer is one of the most feared diseases in the current world, partly because of the lack of a clear treatment procedure and mainly because of its effects on a persons’ life. Different experiments carried out on the effects of different clove compounds found out that some clove compounds had the ability to protect one against cancer. In one of the researches, extracts from cloves were found to stop the growth of tumours at the same time, causing the death of cancer cells.
In another test, clove oil was found to cause cell death in about 80% of the oesophageal cancer cells. Eugenol in clove was also established to have anti-cancer properties with a research carried out to prove the truthiness of this, concluding that eugenol enhanced death of cervical cancer cells. Nonetheless, these researches were based on high concentrates of various clove extracts, some of which are highly toxic. It is therefore important to wait for more researches to be conducted and to ascertain small doses of cloves and its benefits as a protection from cancer.
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Apart from cloves being rich in essential minerals, they are also a high antioxidant. To bring you up to speed, antioxidants are compounds with the ability to reduce oxidative stress. This type of stress might lead to chronic diseases. Clove has eugenol and vitamin C, which act as strong antioxidants. It was established in a test-tube study that eugenol counteracted oxidative damage arising from free radicals, five times more effectively than Vitamin E. Vitamin C on the other hand, acts as an anti-oxidant, by neutralizing free radicals. Regular consumption of cloves and other anti-oxidant foods will help you counter the build-up of harmful oxidative stress. Make a habit of including cloves in your diet and enjoy its anti-oxidant effects while building a healthy body.
5. May enhance liver health
The liver is a crucial component of the body. A study carried out on animals fed with fatty liver disease mixtures having either eugenol, or clove oil showed an improved function in the liver, a decrease in oxidative stress and reduced inflammation. Another study provided results indicating that eugenol helped to reverse scarring of the liver. These show the potential of cloves as an enhancer of liver health. In humans, there is limited information on the effects of clove extracts on the liver. The antioxidant nature of cloves protects the liver against liver diseases. It should, however, be noted that eugenol is lethal in high amounts. It should, therefore, be consumed with a lot of caution and understanding.
6. Has the potential to reduce stomach ulcers
Stomach ulcers are sores that form in the lining of the duodenum, stomach or oesophagus. These sores arise from the reduction of the protective lining of the stomach due to stress, genetics or infections. The pain from the sores can be so severe that the sufferer sheds tears. In a study, clove was found to promote the production of gastric mucus, which forms a protective lining on the stomach thus preventing corrosion of the stomach due to digestive acids. Other studies indicated that clove extracts had a similar effect to anti-ulcer drugs when ingested by a patient. This can be counted among the healing properties of cloves.
7. May encourage bone health
Low bone mass is a problem affecting most adults. This condition may lead to osteoporosis, which enhances the risk of bone fractures. In some studies, some compounds in clove have been established to conserve bone mass in animals. In addition to this, manganese is a constituent of ground cloves, which supplies 30% of the daily required amount of manganese to the body. Manganese is an important nutrient in bone formation and helps maintain good bone health in a person. Clove extracts with a rich supply of Eugenol were also found to increase the density and strength of the bone.
8. Aids in controlling blood sugar levels
High or low blood sugar levels might work against you. It is, therefore, important for you to ensure that your blood sugar levels are in check at all times. This can be done through the use of conventional medicine and maintaining a healthy diet. Clove extracts have been found to keep blood sugars at controlled levels. In a study to establish the effects of clove extracts and nigericin in diabetic mice and on human muscle cells, it was found out that clove extracts and nigericin increased the uptake of sugars from the blood into cells, improved the function of insulin-producing cells, and caused an increased insulin production in the body. Insulin is a very important component for maintaining steady sugar levels in the body, as it transports sugars from the blood into the cells.
9. Cloves can kill bacteria
Cloves have been found to have anti-microbial characteristics, thereby stopping the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. In a test-tube study, it was established that clove essential oil is effective at eliminating three well-known types of bacteria, inclusive of E coli. It has also been established that the anti-bacterial properties of cloves enhance oral health. In different studies, mouthwash made from clove extracts were found to restrain the growth of two types of bacteria that cause gum diseases and showed significant improvement in the gum health.
These are some of the cloves spice benefits that you should be aware of when indulging yourself in a cup of hot tea with a teaspoon full of ground cloves or eating clove spiced meat or stew. However, cloves, like any other beneficial herb and spice, have some side effects. Knowing these side effects will help you control your rate of consumption and come up with a clear strategy of consuming this spice.
Cloves side effects
To start us off is the question, are cloves good for you? The answer to this question depends on your understanding of the benefits and side effects of cloves. Now that you have its benefits above, below is a discussion of cloves side effects that you should know.
1. Mouth side effects
Continuous use of clove oil and other clove extracts can be detrimental to your oral health, both inside the mouth and on the gums. The use of dried cloves inside the mouth might cause irritation and increased sensitivity in the mouth. It may also cause damage to the dental tissues.
2. Side effects to the children
Consumption of clove oil can damage a child’s liver. It is therefore important for you to ensure that you administer these doses under strict directions from an expert. In addition to this, it might also result in fluid imbalances and seizure in children. High concentration of clove extracts should be avoided at all times. Pregnant mothers are also advised to keep off the use of clove oil, as it is still not clear whether clove oil is good for growing children.
By and large, the benefits of cloves outweigh its side effects. As long as you adhere to the Do’s and Don’ts of clove consumption, you will gain more from the consumption of this herb and spice. It is however discouraged to ingest huge doses of cloves. When combined with proper dieting, clove will surely live up to your expectations, as long as it is within the confines of its beneficial properties. If you are not sure how to go about its consumption, it is wise for you to seek a helping hand from a nutritionist or someone with sufficient experience with cloves.
The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content including text, graphics, images, and information contained on or available through this page is for general information purposes only.