Cloves are the flower buds of a tree called the clove. This tree can live for over a hundred years and begins to produce flowers in its seventh year. The buds are picked before flowering and they immediately turn brown, hence their dark brown, almost black color. Cloves have a very pronounced, harsh, and slightly pungent scent. They are used as a spice to add an unmistakable flavor to many recipes, both sweet and savory.
Consumed as an infusion, clove is effective against digestive disorders, stomach pain and bloating. A powerful antiseptic, it also acts against urinary tract infections such as cystitis and kidney stones. Clove is used as an anti-inflammatory against toothache in mouthwash. The anesthetic action of eugenol, an active molecule in cloves, would also alleviate the pain of toothache by simply placing a dried nail in the mouth in the affected area.
Its antiviral and antibacterial properties prevent winter ailments such as the flu and colds.
When applied externally with massage oil, clove also relieves muscle pain such as rheumatism or lumbago. It is used as a natural treatment for acne problems since it limits the growth of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. Finally, this dried flower bud would help the cervix to dilate during childbirth and reduce the pain felt.
Main health benefits of cloves:
1. Cloves prevent common cold
Used one to three times a day for a week, a few drops of the essential oil of clove, consumed before the meal, will help you to avoid the flu, the common cold, and the other winter infections thanks to its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
2. Fight toothache
By boiling a few cloves in water, you obtain a preparation which, used as a mouthwash, relieves toothache. This remedy is effective because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Cure digestive problems
Against digestive problems, including stomachache and bloating, an infusion of cloves is an excellent remedy. Do not hesitate to add a little cinnamon, lemon juice or a spoonful of honey to sweeten the drink, and to consume it outside of meals.
4. Treat UTIs
An infusion of cloves is also recommended, once or twice a day, to treat pain from cystitis or kidney stones.
5. Relieve muscle pain
Massaging the painful areas with cloves essential oil strongly diluted in sweet almond vegetable oil or another fatty vegetable oil can be particularly effective.
6. Good for the skin
Clove is recognized as a spice that has many benefits for skin care: antibacterial, healing, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, etc. In addition to that, it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which are beneficial for the skin. Thus, the composition of cloves helps relieve skin inflammation, eliminate bacteria (a pimple forms when there is an abnormal proliferation of bacteria), disinfect the skin, and protect unaffected areas.
7. Good for hair
Cloves are a great ally for women’s hair. They are an excellent remedy for soothing inflammation of the skin, reducing dandruff and stimulating blood circulation when applied as a lotion to the scalp and hair.
Hair regrowth is stimulated, and its vitality is reinforced when using a cloves-based lotion. Before using it as a massage on the scalp, you just need to make your own hair lotion yourself by adding about ten ground cloves, the equivalent of 1 teaspoon, to lukewarm water in a bottle. You are advised to leave it on before rinsing or shampooing.
8. Help against painful periods
Cloves are also very effective in relieving dysmenorrhea or painful periods. Do not hesitate to use it for painful periods, although it is generally known to relieve dental pain.
Cloves are an excellent natural remedy for aging skin and body cells. Indeed, it has remarkable anti-aging properties, especially the essential oil of cloves.
10. Help with weight loss
Clove flowers contain the essence of eugenol which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. This is precisely why they are often part of the composition of the ingredients for diet drinks. Clove will be all the more effective when used in an overall weight loss strategy by playing sports and regulating your lifestyle.
11. Stimulate fertility
Clove, reputed to be an aphrodisiac, joins ginger as one of the mythical foods for sexual stimulation. In truth, the action of cloves, like that of ginger, is stimulating and warming.
12. Fight against neuralgia
The clove poultice is highly recommended for women with muscle or joint pain and neuralgia. To do this, they need to mix two teaspoons of ground cloves with green clay and a little water until they have a thick paste. They should put this paste in a thin cloth and apply it to the painful area.
13. Fight against bad breath
Clove is a very fragrant spice with bactericidal properties, which help to keep the mouth fresh.
To do this, you can simply bite a clove (as with a toothache), or, if the feeling is unpleasant to you, just boil 5 nails in half a liter of water and rinse your mouth for a long time with this decoction.
14. May protect against cancer
A study has shown that cloves provides some anti-cancer protections. Indeed, the medical community has been highly interested in cloves because of their chemo-preventive or anti-carcinogenic properties. Tests have shown they are used to control early lung cancer
Are there any dangers in eating cloves?
Whether taken externally or internally, clove is not without its risks. Clove essential oil can be toxic if the precautions for use are not followed and cause unwanted effects such as nausea, vomiting or burning sensations.
Cloves are also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 12 (risk of disseminated intravascular coagulation and acidosis) and people with fragile skin (possible skin reactions).
Either way, it is always best to consult your doctor before using cloves for medicinal purposes.
Cassidy is a certified dietician with a focus on patients suffering with diabetes. She has more than 10 years of experience, working with patients of different background. She writes health-related article for the Scientific Origin.