Spicy Cloves – What are their health benefits?

Cloves – an integral part of Indian spices is best known to be an aromatic herb or taste enhancer best used for spicy Indian dishes. Yes, it has a pleasant aroma, and hence used for a wide variety of dishes. But do you know, similar to other spices, cloves also own some medical benefits? The word ‘Clove’ was derived from French word ‘Clow’ which means ‘nail’. As a clove resembles a nail in shape, it was named so (not to be confused with cloves of garlic). Pepper is the king among spices and Cardamom is the queen. Yet cloves are also equally important when it comes to perfect blend of Indian masalas.

cloves health benefits

Clove was born in Indonesia. In India it is cultivated only in Kerala and Chennai. It’s widely cultivated in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Indonesia. Only a few know that flowers of clove plant are plucked and dried to get this spicy ingredient, not seeds. This evergreen plant grows up to 812 meter height and owns dark and big round shaped leaves. The buds appear in light colour and gradually changes to green. When they turn dark red, they are plucked, dried and used for edible purposes. A clove flower has a long stem and a flower like structure at its tip (with four petals). It also resembles a torch. It’s dried and used commercially.

Leaves, buds, skin and root – all these parts of cloves own some kind of medicinal benefits. Herbal oil extracted from dried buds also owns many medicinal values.

What are the medicinal benefits of cloves?

1 tsp of cloves contain enough manganese, fibre, vitamin C & K. Manganese improves functioning of brain and helps in the re-construction of bones while both these vitamins helps in defence mechanism and avoid clotting of bloods. Vitamin K is important for the health of bones too. a few more medicinal benefits are listed below.

cloves health benefits

1. Helps to reduce tooth ache

Eugenol present in cloves is a natural antiseptic and hence it can lessen the pain related to toothache. Hence clove is used as a natural remedy related to tooth pain, gum infection, plague problems etc. Herbal oil extracted from cloves is also used for same purposes. Dip a piece of cotton in this oil and bite this cotton with the affected teeth, without touching gum and keep it for a while. You can also bite a clove to lessen tooth ache. It definitely does the role of a painkiller, but in a natural way.

2. Keeps bad mouth at bay

A natural mouth freshener too, it blocks bad odour of mouth. Just chew a few cloves and see the after affects. It can also kill bacteria of mouth causing bad smell. As it’s free of chemicals, many toothpaste companies add cloves to their dental products, especially toothpaste. There is a natural treatment for bad mouth using cloves. Boil some water adding salt and a few cloves. Gargle your mouth using lukewarm clove water, at least three times a day for a few days.

3. Reduces joint pain

Eat cloves or make a paste with few of them and apply on affected joints to relieve from joint pain.

4. Controls appetite

Fibers present in cloves can control our appetite. A teaspoon cloves contain 1 gm fiber.

5. Helps to reduce chances of cancer

A powerhouse of antioxidants, ½ tsp cloves contain more amounts of antioxidants than ½ cup blueberries. It fights against swellings and hence protects us from cancer. Among the list of 100 best resources of anti-oxidants and polyphenols, Indian spices are also included. Cloves tops among Indian spices. For anti-oxidant intensity, it’s 30 times more than blueberries.

Mother Clove Tree or Afo Ternate – World’s oldest living clove plant

Till modern ages, cloves were cultivated only in a few islands of Moluccas. Hence historically these islands are known as ‘Spice islands’. The world’s oldest living clove plant is believed to be found in the Spice Islands. The tree named as Afo Ternate is approximately 350-400 years old. A popular story among tourist guides goes like this. In year 1770 an 18th century horticulturist and French missionary Pierre Poivre stole seeds/saplings from this tree and took them out of the colony, ending Moluccas’ monopoly over this spice for a long time. He brought them to Seychelles and Zanzibar, which were French colonies then. From there it spread to other countries and now it is cultivated in different parts of the world.

When it comes to the Mother Clove Tree or Afo Ternate, which has witnessed many historic battles in the past for the monopoly of cloves, it is still alive with a few branches left. But it’s often mistaken to be a dead tree because of its appearance. In 2014, presuming to be dead, some of its branches were chopped for firewood. Later it got protected by brick walls and is now preserved.

Image source: Pixabay

Please go through the medicinal plants gallery….

(Visited 258 times, 1 visits today)


A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *