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The tiny little power houses, Cloves, are found in each and every home of India. They are a very dear spice in the Indian Cuisine. Not only in Indian Cuisine, cloves are a dear to various types of delicacies cooked around the world. While the flavor they add to your food is an exceptionally different one that sticks long to your taste buds, the nutritional advantages also are numerous. In this article, we shall elaborate on the health benefits of cloves. The next time you add cloves to your food you will know how this little spice also could do wonders to your health.
Before we take a glance at the health benefits, here’s a small table indicating the nutrients and the corresponding quantity of nutrients present in cloves.
Nutritional Value of Cloves:
Cloves contain Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals. 2 Grams of cloves contain the following nutrients in the aforesaid corresponding quantity:
Calories: 20 Grams
Carbohydrates: 1 gram approx
Fiber: 1.5 grams
Manganese: 30% of the RDI
Vitamin K: 3% of the RDI
Vitamin C: 4-5% of the RDI
Cloves also contain trace quantities of Vitamin A, Iron, Calcium and other such essential nutrients. Fiber is important for your digestive system and prevents Constipation, whereas Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. If you ever have an injury, you bleed. The bleeding needs to stop to avoid losing too much blood. This is enabled by Vitamin K in your body. Manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining brain function and building strong bones.
Health Benefits of Cloves:
1. Cloves have high value of Antioxidants:
We have been stressing on importance of antioxidants in most of our articles. Here is an addition to the list of food which are Rich in Antioxidants. Antioxidants are important to drive off the free radicals in your body. These free radicals are formed due to the chemical reactions that take place in your system at the time of various physiological processes. These radicals are not helpful to your body and could be the cause of various diseases and inflammation of your muscles. The antioxidants will fight such unimportant free radicals and kill them thus preventing your body from their damage.
Cloves also contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. Studies suggest that eugenol stops oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effectively than vitamin E, which is also another potent antioxidant. Cloves also contain Vitamin C, which also has antioxidant properties and is essential for absorption of Iron in your body.
2. Cloves may act as a Protective Shield against Cancer:
Tumor Cells that lead to Cancer are effectively combated by Cloves. The eugenol present in cloves kills these cells and thus prevents cancer. The antioxidant properties of cloves also beat cancerous cells as they prevent these cells from being formed in the first place.
However, eugenol in extreme concentrated form is not completely good for health. It may have its side effects on your body. Thus resorting to use of concentrated amounts of this compound, like the one found in clove oil should be in limited quantity. Clove oil is not suggested for children.
3. Cloves have anti-microbial properties:
Cloves also inhibit the growth of bacteria and micro organisms. One test-tube study showed that clove essential oil was effective at killing off three common types of bacteria, including E. coli, a strain of bacteria that can cause cramps, diarrhea, fatigue and even death. Application of a small amount of clove oil on your aching tooth also relieves the pain. The anti-microbial property of cloves works here to kill the microorganisms causing pain in your gums. That is the reason we have tooth pastes which claim to be rich in clove oil. Cloves are great for your oral health.
4. Cloves improve Liver Health:
Eugenol is beneficial to the liver as it may prevent signs of liver cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. They reduce the oxidative stress on your liver and improves the function. Inflammation on your can also be reduced due to eugenol. Inflammation is what we call in lay-man’s language, swelling. This swelling on your liver is also prevented due to eugenol. Cloves are also high in antioxidants, which may help prevent liver disease due to their ability to help decrease oxidative stress.
It may be again reminded at this juncture that excess of eugenol is infact harmful and could even have damaging effects on the liver.
5. Cloves help reduce Blood Sugar levels:
Apart from eugenol, cloves also contain nigericin, another beneficial compound which has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in our body. They effectively regulate the insulin levels in your body and also the cells that produce insulin. This means that cloves, when taken as a part of a balanced diet, can keep your blood sugar levels in check.
6. Promotes Digestion:
The spice is used since ages in your cuisine for a reason. It reduces the strain on your digestive organs by fighting the microbes that may reduce their efficiencies. The anti-microbial properties help to keep impurities like mucus from being developed. Cloves, in their own unique manner, play a small yet important part in promoting good digestion.
7. Cloves may reduce Stomach Ulcers:
Cloves may play a part in reducing stomach ulcers which are also known as peptic ulcers. Ulcers are painful sores that form in the lining of the stomach, esophagus and duodenum. They are most commonly caused by reductions in the protective lining of the stomach that are due to factors like stress, infection and genetics. The essential oil extracted from cloves seems to be participating in reducing these effects. Studies conducted on animals suggest that clove extract had anti-ulcer effects and could aid the medication provided to combat ulcers. However, the role played by clove extracts needs to be ascertained through comprehensive research in this regard.
8. Cloves for Respiratory Disorders:
Clove oil can be used for treating respiratory disorders like bronchitis, asthma. The oil soothes the respiratory tract and also has an anti-inflammatory effect. You can simply massage the oil into your chest, sinuses, and even the bridge of the nose – doing this opens the breathing passages and gives you relief. You can also add the oil to a glass of warm water and take it as tea.
9. Cloves for Cold:
Popping a few cloves in boiling water and inhaling the steam is effective in clearing your nasal passages off the mucus. It also relieves the chest from mucus thus making it easier to breathe. Cloves have been suggested as an age old remedy to treat cold.
10. Cloves for treating Cough:
Cough is caused when the mucus settles in your throat and chest. You could prevent persistent coughing by chewing a clove. You could also keep a clove in your mouth and take its juice in small quantities as it flows. This will help you to prevent yourself from excessive coughing. Clove tea is also a good option that can be exercised to relieve your cough.
11. Clove Oil for Arthritis:
There is a reason your spas offer you a massage of clove oil. Clove oil enables your nerves to expand. This enables more blood flow through your blood streams. It relaxes your muscles and can thereby provide you a soothing effect over your joint and muscles pain caused due to arthritis and sore muscles.
12. Clove for Colder Regions:
Cloves have a warming effect over your body. In so many places of the world, the temperature drops beyond 0 degree Celsius. Such a weather of extreme cold may make it unbearable for people to handle the situation. Having clove tea or massaging clove oil will provide you with the necessary warmth that your body may need and thus cuts down the effect of an extremely cold climate.
13. Cloves can Fight Headaches:
The cause of headaches could be numerous. It may be due to stress, less sleep, cough and cold, or any such reason. Cloves can can treat these causes to relieve you from your headache. Add a few drops of clove oil in your handkerchief and inhale it. You will feel less stressful and your headache will vanish in a snap of your finger.
14. Boosts Testosterone Levels:
Studies obtained by conductive research on mice have shown promising results. It can boost the levels of testosterone and thus increase the libido.
15. Cloves for Acne and Pimples:
Your acne and pimples can be driven off on application of clove oil. This is due to anti-microbial effects of the cloves. The clove fights the bacteria responsible for the development of acne and pimples on your skin.
After having enumerated all the possible benefits that cloves and clove extracts could provide, it is essential to pose a disclaimer over here. Excess use of cloves or clove oil has been found to have irritable effects over your digestive tract. Its use must especially be moderate for kids. This herb is also not suggested in the initial months of pregnancy as it may induce chances of miscarriage.