The clove is a pungent aromatic floral bud. The clove tree is a broad leaved evergreen plant. The most fragrant part of the tree are its yellow flowers. Since ancient times, cultures in Asia have used cloves as herbal remedies. Clove oil is said to be antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial and an aphrodisiac. It is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. It is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, and has many health benefits. It is used as a home remedy for various conditions.
Botanical Name – Syzygium aromaticum
Common Name – Cloves
Hindi – Laung
Tamil – Kirambu
Health benefits of Cloves
Cloves contain significant amounts of an active compound called eugenol which is anti-inflammatory. It is an excellent source of manganese and quite a good source of vitamin K, dietary fibre, iron, and calcium. Cloves contain highly beneficial health promoting antioxidants.
Eugenol along with flavonoids such as kaempferol are responsible for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Antioxidants contribute to health by inhibiting the spread of too many free radicals. Free radicals sometimes start reactions that lead to cell damage. Kaempferol is also being studies for its potent anticancer activities. Some of the food rich in kaempferol are apples, grapes, tomatoes, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, and spinach.
There have been tests that have demonstrated the antibacterial health benefits of cloves. A study on “Antimicrobial Activity of Cloves and Cinnamon Extracts against Food Borne Pathogens and Spoilage bacteria,” notes that its essential oil was able to hinder listeria, a bacteria frequently associated with food poisoning. The antimicrobial activity of clove is attributable to eugenol, oleic acids and lipids found in its essential oils.
Cloves are poweful anti fungal agents. Studies indicate that clove oil and eugenol have considerable antifungal activity against clinically relevant fungi. Clove oil is often used to treat atheletes foot and other fungal infections. A study also found that clove “Clove oleoresin had a fast killing effect on yeast cells.“
The various health benefits of cloves are listed below. Clove and clove oil is considered safe in small quantities
- Clove oil helps to alleviate the symptoms of toothache and dental decay. It is also used in many dental products.
- Due to its antiseptic properties, the oil is used to cure wounds, bruises, insect bites and fungal infections.
- When inhaled clove oil alleviates cold. Its also considered as a remedy for cough, sore throat, asthama and sinusitis.
- It is used in treating some types of viral infections, cholera, malaria and scabies.
- Remedies made from cloves are used in the treatment of acne and skin ulcers.
- Cloves are a good insecticide and makes an excellent natural mosquito repellant.
- Due to its aphrodisiac nature, it serves as a stress reliever. Its also induces sleep and is helpful to patients with insomnia.
- It cures stomach related problems like indigestion, flatulence and diarrhea.
- It helps to cure nausea and vomitting during pregnancy.
- Clove oil mixed with salt can be used as a home remedy for headaches.
- It benefits diabetics by controlling blood glucose levels. Eugenol found in cloves prevents clotting of blood and also helps purify blood.
Clove and Clove Oil Home Remedies
- Cloves are a invaluable home remedy for toothaches and sore throats. Gargle with a few drops of clove oil diluted in warm water to ease the pain of toothache. This remedy is also very effective for sore throats.
- Boil a few cloves in water and inhale the steam for relief from respiratory ailments. You can also add clove oil in a steamer and inhale this to get relief.
- Applying clove oil or clove oil gel to the skin can help keep mosquitoes away.
- For digestion, grind and boil some cloves in water to make a after meal tea.
- Add a few drops of clove oil to a cup of water and rinse your mouth with it. This is a great home remedy to reduce oral bacteria and freshen the breath.
- Clove tea also helps to overcome flatulence.
- Clove oil, being anti-bacterial, is also good for the skin. A very effective home remedy for acne is to mix about one part essential oil of clove, to ten parts of carrier oil like coconut oil, and apply this to the acne or pimple. Leave the mixture till dry, and then wash. Clove oil must always be used with a carrier oil as it irritates the skin when used in its pure form.