Cloves might look innocent, but they are an ancient spice with medicinal properties documented in both traditional home remedies and modern scientific literature. We realised this many decades ago in India, as many of our industry customers bought cloves for toothpaste, and advertised them as the key ingredient inside. As most home remedies and such are viewed with skepticism, we’ve compiled a list with scientific sources to back up the claims, to bring what was once exclusively Ayurvedic beliefs into the modern world. Based on this new knowledge, it’s no wonder that so many cosmetic products use the ingredient as the key focal point of their recipes.
Here are 10 potential health benefits of cloves:
1. Natural replacement to artificial food enhancers: Cloves were found to be highly effective for lipid peroxidation (making fat cells) by researches in Spain. This process is commonly used in industry to make food taste good for long periods of time, much like a preservative. But, the normal compounds used for this effect have come into question for side-effects. Cloves can be used as a replacement as they’re more researched and understood. M. Viuda-Martos et al (2009)
2. Boosting insulin function: A study revealed that a few grams of cloves per day delivers numerous therapeutic effects. They stimulate insulin-like activity while lowering triglycerides, cholesterol and glucose levels by 10-30%. Interestingly, small quantities of cinnamon can also be used for these effects. R.A. Anderson, et al. (2006).
3. As an anaesthetic: A gel made using cloves was deemed to be a suitable anaesthetic before needle insertion. By detecting the pain response from volunteers to determine effectiveness, the clove gel performed remarkably well. A. Alqareer et al. (2006)
4. To prevent and treat dental pains: The spice naturally contains a concentrated amount of the chemical Eugenol. Eugenol now enjoys widespread use in dental care as an antiseptic, and analgesic. Clove oil is also effective for treatment, but of course not as effective as a concentrated serum. S. Halder et al (2012)
5. Improving memory: The same study as above, also found increased cognitive abilities in mice after giving them a small amount of clove oil. Significant improvements in making new memories and retaining existing ones were observed. S. Halder et al (2012)
6. Food poisoning: Cloves can be used to alleviate food poisoning pains and aches. Multiple types of bacteria that are related to food poisoning reacted badly when coming into contact with oils from the spice. Q. Huang (2010)
7. Bad breath, Diarrhoea, and Hernia: The eugenol in cloves counters all three of these nasty problems, more or less within minutes of application. You can read more about the specifics via Pubmed.
8. Drug detoxification: Cloves can improve the ability of the body to handle and adapt to harmful foreign compounds in the body. Kluth et al. (2007)
9. Preventing cancer: While not conclusive evidence, a study on mice in 1990 showed cloves can be effective in cancer prevention. The physiological significance of these findings remains unclear because the increase was approximately 2% above normal in the liver, 18% in the stomach, and 33% in the esophagus. (Aruna and Sivaramakrishnan 1990) Another study had similar findings, narrowed down to detecting cancer-preventing enzymes being activated as a result of clove consumption. Kumari (1991)
10. Slowing down cancer: Evidence exists that clove extracts interfere with chemical reactions in the body thereby decreasing colon cancer effectiveness. Kluth et al. (2007)
All values below are per 1 tsp (2.1g) of ground cloves.
Total lipid (fat) 0.27g
Carbohydrate, by difference 1.38g
Fiber, total dietary 0.7g
Sugars, total 0.05g
Calcium, Ca 13mg
Iron, Fe 0.25mg
Magnesium, Mg 5mg
Phosphorus, P 2mg
Potassium, K 21mg
Sodium, Na 6mg
Zinc, Zn 0.05mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 0.0mg
Vitamin B-6 0.008mg
Folate, DFE 1µg
Vitamin B-12 0.00µg
Vitamin A, RAE 0µg
Vitamin A, IU 3IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), 0.19mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) 0.0µg
Vitamin D 0IU
Vitamin K 3.0µg
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.083g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.029g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.076g
Do you know any other benefits of cloves? Comment below or email them in!