Cloves: benefits, properties, uses

Clove is a spice that has many beneficial properties for health. Let’s see what they are and some tips to use it at its best.

Clove is a widely used spice in cooking, of Asian origin. The name is given by the fact that this spice resembles carnation but in reality it is the dried bud of the Eugenia caryophyllata plant, a very common tree in the East.

For centuries it has been at the center of the spice trade from the distant Moluccas Islands in Indonesia. Cloves contain flavonoids, tannins, triterpenes and volatile compounds including eugenol, a basic component of the essential oil and responsible for the analgesic power of this spice.

Since ancient times, cloves have been used precisely for their analgesic properties, finding the greatest use in the treatment of tooth pain and to soothe skin inflammations. Today this spice is widely used in cooking and has real healing properties.

The properties of the clove

Cloves have various properties: they are good for the digestive system, they are excellent natural pain relievers and carry out an antibacterial action. Let’s now see all the benefits of this spice.

✓ Anti-inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory properties of clove have been known for centuries. This benefit is given by the flavonoids they contain.

✓ Anesthetic

Cloves have excellent anesthetic properties, which is why they are often used as a natural remedy for toothache, by applying them directly to the painful part or by gargling.

✓ Benefits to the digestive system

Cloves improve the ability of food to pass through the intestines, without creating accumulations of toxins.

✓ Antimicrobial

The antimicrobial benefits of cloves have been known for centuries, so much so that the ancient Egyptians used them to embalm corpses and prevent the formation of harmful fungi and bacteria. Today the infusions of this spice are used to fight mycosis of the skin, often combined with thyme and coriander.

✓ Tonic

Cloves help overcome exhaustion and headaches by stimulating blood circulation. For this reason, cloves are considered to be good aphrodisiacs.

✓ Antioxidant

Cloves are rich in antioxidants and therefore counteract skin aging and excess free radicals, a phenomenon at the basis of many modern diseases, especially those of an inflammatory nature, but not only.

✓ They preserve food

Cloves have another interesting property: they help keep food longer. This is thanks to the ability to hinder the oxidation process of fats, making sure that foods can keep their freshness and nutritional characteristics longer.

Some advice on how to use cloves

How to use cloves in the kitchen

In cooking, this spice is often used as an accompaniment to meats, aged cheeses and some vegetables. In this case, add a few cloves to the dressing. Also widely used to flavor wines, liqueurs and desserts.

Cloves for therapeutic purposes: medicinal properties

In addition to cooking, cloves are also very useful in the herbal field. For this purpose, it is generally used as an herbal tea, mother tincture or essential oil. Let’s see how to use it in these three ways:

  • Herbal tea: the clove infusion is used to relieve nausea, indigestion and intestinal disorders. The recommended dose is 1 or 2 nails for every 150 ml of hot water. For digestive problems, cloves can be combined with other carminative spices, such as ginger, anise or cumin;
  • Mother tincture: as an alternative to the infusion, to benefit from the qualities of this spice, you can use the mother tincture to be taken 30 drops in a little water 3 times a day (unless otherwise indicated by the doctor or herbalist);
  • Essential oil: clove essential oil is a valid ally against viruses and mycoses, it also performs an effective anesthetic action.

The other uses of cloves

If placed in aromatic bags in cupboards, cloves will keep moths away, just as if placed in a small container in the kitchen cupboards they will keep food butterflies away. Cloves, combined with lemon, when placed on the windowsill help keep flies away.

Contraindications, side effects and interactions

Avoid use in the final stage of pregnancy. Do not use in case of ulcer or hypersensitivity to one or more components. In high doses, Clove essential oil is toxic to the liver and nervous system. Do not apply pure essential oil on the gums and on the skin as it can be irritating, better always dilute it with a neutral vegetable oil (for example almond oil).


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