The Health Benefits Of Cloves!
Written by Eli Ben-YehudaOn September 17, 2023
The medicinal benefits of cloves have been recognized for thousands of years. Cloves are a fragrant, spicy spice that is used in many different cuisines around the world. They are often dried after being harvested from their native region of Southeast Asia and South China. Cloves contain a chemical compound called Eugenol, which has been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory properties.
This spicy little flower was first documented by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans as a treatment for toothaches. Cloves also received praise from Roman physicians Pliny the Elder and Scribonius Largus who credited their ability to treat infections. Later on, Arabic physicians Ibn Zuhr and Avicenna wrote about the use of cloves as a treatment for respiratory conditions. They also wrote about their anti-inflammatory and analgesic function, which was further tested in scientific studies over the years.
Cloves were introduced to China by the Chinese Arabs during the Ming dynasty. There, they became known as “Longyan” and were used as a cure for gastrointestinal and other illnesses. It was not until the 20th century that we discovered how Eugenol reduced inflammation in blood vessels and reduced high blood pressure.
Modern studies have shown cloves to possess multiple health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory activity, lowering of cholesterol levels, acting as an antioxidant, and reducing blood pressure.
What Makes Cloves So Powerful?
In a 2010 a study was conducted that identified the 100 foods richest in polyphenols, cloves came out on top. Cloves had a total of 15,188 mg polyphenols per 100 g of cloves.
Polyphenols are compounds that we get through certain plant-based foods. They’re packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It’s thought that polyphenols can improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
You can get polyphenols by eating foods containing them. You can also take supplements, which come in powder and capsule forms.
The may have several unwanted side effects, however. These are most common when taking polyphenol supplements instead of getting them naturally through food. The most common side effect with the strongest scientific evidence is the potential for polyphenols to interfere with or limit iron absorption.
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Factors that influence activity of polyphenols in the body include metabolism, intestinal absorption, and the bioavailability of the polyphenol. Although some foods may have higher polyphenol levels than others, this does not necessarily mean that they are absorbed and used at higher rates.
How To Use Cloves
Cloves are dried flowers, so they can be found all year long in spice shops, grocery stores, and health food stores nationwide.
Cloves come in both whole and ground form. However, their potency quickly fades once they’ve been ground. In order to keep their flavor strong, buy whole cloves and keep them in airtight containers until you want to use them. If you need ground cloves, you can grind them with a pepper mill so they remain as fresh as possible.
You can also make clove tea if you’re interested in getting a stronger dose of cloves:
- Grind a tablespoon of whole cloves.
- Steep the powder in boiling water for three or four minutes.
- Strain the spice out and you’ll be left with a rich spicy tea that’s perfect for winter months.
Cloves are a soothing, healthy addition to your diet. Here are some other ways to use this flavorful spice:
- Add ground cloves to pumpkin pie
- Add cloves to chai lattes
- Use whole cloves in a pickling mix for spicy pickles
- Include cloves as an essential spice in curry
- Make mulled wine with a heavy sprinkle of cloves
- Use cloves in rubs to season meats
Things to Watch Out For!
Cloves are potent in both their flavor and their effects. There are a few things to keep in mind when adding cloves to your recipes.
Drug interactions. Eugenol can sometimes interact with medication, such as Warfarin. If you’re on blood-thinning medication, avoid consuming clove oil or clove tea. It’s relatively safe to consume smaller amounts of cloves as spice, though.
Hypoglycemia. Cloves may also affect blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, eugenol can lower blood glucose counts to safe levels. However, in excessive amounts, cloves can cause hypoglycemia, where your blood sugar levels are too low.
Essential Oil Toxicity. Clove essential oil contains a much higher dose of eugenol than whole or ground cloves do. Consuming pure clove oil can be toxic and lead to symptoms such as dizziness or even coma.
As you can see from the article adding cloves to your diet is a super healthy way to nourish your body. But before starting, please consult with your physician or pharmacist to ensure adding cloves will not interfere with any medication you may be taking.Tags:
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