If there’s a spice that has people divided over its taste (after cardamom, of course) it is clove. Although it tastes great in one, the strong-tasting spice isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s a staple in most Indian households and a prominent part of garam masala. Although it has a strong, tongue-numbing taste, when used whole or as a powder, cloves can impart a floral aroma to the food. It’s a valuable spice, which is also used as a preservative. Clove is used extensively in pulao, biriyani and in curries for its flavour. If you love cloves, you should know that the spice has a lot of health benefits. Here is what you need to know about cloves.
Clove or Syzygium aromaticum originated in Indonesia. But these days, it’s cultured in various parts of the world. It is one of the richest sources of phenolic compounds like eugenol, eugenol acetate and gallic acid. For this reason, clove is prized for its therapeutic and cosmetic uses.
Nutritional Profile of Cloves
Cloves are high in micronutrients such as manganese, vitamin K and vitamin C. It also has trace amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin E. Here’s an upshot of cloves’ nutritional profile as per the USDA.
The strong-tasting clove has a lot of antimicrobial qualities, especially against bacteria. Clove oil has been proven to fight three types of bacteria, making it an excellent antiseptic. To use clove oil, dilute it with some carrier oil like coconut oil and apply it to the site of the infection.
Promotes Dental Health
Most dental problems such as halitosis, decay and gum diseases are caused by microbes. To counter these problems, brush your teeth with a little drop of clove oil. The powerful antimicrobial qualities in clove oil help improve dental health. Clove is also one of the most effective home remedies for toothache. Find out how.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Clove could be a good weapon against blood sugar and diabetes. Research says that clove helps in bringing down blood sugar in diabetic mice. Cloves have also been proven to increase the production of insulin, which helps cells to use blood sugar.
Improves Stomach Health
Chewing on a few pieces of clove can be good for your stomach say studies. Some of the active ingredients in clove can fight off diseases like stomach ulcers, where the protective mucous lining of the stomach is broken down. The spice contains oils that can increase the production of gastric mucus, which acts as a shield from erosive gastric juices.
Cloves are among the best sources of antioxidants due to high levels of phenolic acids in them. These antioxidants prevent oxidative stress, which is the number one cause of diseases like cancer. Including cloves in your diet can be a good countermeasure against the malignant disease.
Eugenol in cloves is an anti-inflammatory agent, apart from kaempferol and rhamnetin. They fight inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and give relief from the swelling and pain in the joints. Topical application of clove oil is also an effective weapon against inflammation.
If you are tired of spots on your face, a little bit of clove helps. Because of its antimicrobial qualities, clove can help in arrest the growth of harmful bacteria that causes inflammation. Massaging the face with diluted clove oil can also keep the redness in check. Home remedies also recommend using clove paste to lighten acne scars.
Whether or not you like the taste of cloves, you can’t deny the benefits of the spice. Try lightly spiking your food with a few pieces or prepare a healthy tea, cloves can be had in more ways than one.