Cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree are known as a sweet and aromatic spice. It is a versatile spice used in the cuisines around the world and one of the main ingredients in staple spice or spice blends in South Asian Cuisine. Cloves can be used in both whole and ground forms to add distinct flavor to meats, curries, marinades, chutneys, desserts, hot beverages (such as clove tea), fruits, season delicious dishes. Cloves adds spicy warmth to gingerbread, cookies and cakes, as well as other baked goods. They are a common element to often accompany cumin, cinnamon and vanilla.
Cloves have long been used in traditional medicine, is effective for toothache pain and other types of pain. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. The bioactive chemicals found in the spice may be used as an ant repellent. It is evident now that clove oil containing eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. Study found that eugenol stopped oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effectively than vitamin E.
Cloves are a rich source of manganese, an essential mineral for maintaining brain function and building strong bones (1) (2). One teaspoon (2 grams) of ground cloves contains 55% of the Daily Value (DV) of manganese (3).
Eugenol also shown to have anticancer properties. One test-tube study found that clove extract helped stop the growth of tumors and promoted cell death in cancer cells. Another test-tube study observed similar results, showing that concentrated amounts of clove oil caused cell death in 80% of esophageal cancer cells (these test-tube studies used very concentrated amounts of clove extract, clove oil, and eugenol).
Essential oil in clove may kill three common types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The antibacterial properties of cloves could even help promote oral health by stopping two types of bacteria that contribute to gum disease (4).
Another animal study showed that the eugenol helped reverse signs of liver cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver and detoxification of liver.
Studies to determine cloves effectiveness for fever reduction, as a mosquito repellent, and to prevent premature ejaculation have been inconclusive. It remains unproven whether blood sugar levels are reduced by cloves or clove oil. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans. As cloves are only used in small amounts, they do not provide significant amounts of nutrients. Eugenol in clove is toxic in high amounts and overdosing on clove oil may cause liver damage, especially in children.