Cloves which is popularly called lavangam and laung are actually the dried flower buds of clove tree and it has wonderful medicinal uses and health benefits. Both whole cloves and ground cloves are used both as a spice in cooking and also in remedies worldwide. Cloves are used for treating toothache, cough, stomach problems, hair and skin care. The word clove is derived from the french word “clov” which means nail as it resembles a small nail.
Clove oil also popularly called eugenol is used extensively all over the world for treating toothache. Clove capsules are used for treating scabies, candida and parasites. Clove extract got by boiling cloves in water is also used in remedies. Clove tea and clove chewing gum which is flavored with cloves are also very popular all over the world. Cloves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine from ancient times.
Clove tree is a small bushy tree with long, glassy evergreen leaves and beautiful pale pink buds which shed their petals on opening. The buds are collected when they reach the correct size on a daily basis before they open and then they are dried. When they dry, they turn dark reddish brown in color. Cloves have been used in India and China from ancient times, in India it is mainly found in Kerala and also in Tamil Nadu. The tree does well mostly in tropics and need well drained soil. I have always wanted to grow clove tree in my home and I had one for a few years and then sadly it died last year due to severe drought.
100 grams of cloves have 274 calories, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat. It is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin B6, Magnesium, vitamin A and phosphorus.
Cloves Botanical & Common Names:
The botanical name of cloves is Syzygium Aromaticum and it belongs to the family Myrtaceae and genus Syzygium. Clove is called Laung in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, Krambu and Lavangam in Tamil, Lavangam and Lavangalu in Telugu, Lavanga in Kannada, Lawang in Bengali, Grampu in Malayalam, Lavang in Gujarathi, Labang in Oriya and Luvang in Marathi.
Cloves Chemical Constituents:
Eugenol is the main active compound of cloves which accounts for almost 71.56 %. Eugenyl Acetate, Carophyllene Oxide, guaiol, thymol, nootkatin, isolongofolanone, 5-hexene-2-one are some of the other important chemical compounds found in cloves that is responsible for many of it’s medicinal uses.
Cloves Traditional Uses:
Cloves have been used for treating dental problems for a long time, it helps reduce inflammation, pain and also fights off the infection. Whole cloves is chewed for treating sore throat and cough, for treating stomach problems like indigestion and acidity. Clove extract is used for treating vomiting sensation, clove paste got by rubbing cloves in water is used for treating headache. Clove powder mixed with honey is used as a face pack to treat acne. Clove oil mixed along with a base oil is used for reducing arthritic pain and inflammation.
Cloves Medicinal Uses:
1. Fights Cancer:
Eugenol isolated from cloves have amazing anti cancer properties. A study done on the effect of eugenol against cervical cancer cell lines clearly shows that eugenol is indeed very very effective in arresting the growth of cancer cells. Eugenol has also been proven to be effective in arresting the growth of breast cancer cells too.
2. Natural Aphrodisiac:
There are many natural herbs that have aphordisiac properties and clove is one among them. Natural aphrodisiacs like cloves have been used from ancient times and unlike prescription medicines they don’t have any side effects at all. In India, many aphrodisiac medicine formulation in Unani medicine have cloves added to them and you can find the study that proves it here.
3. Treats Cold, Cough & Fever:
Clove tea got by infusing cloves in water is excellent for treating cold, cough and fever. If you have headache due to cold, adding one crushed clove to your tea also will greatly help reduce pain. While suffering from cold, cough and fever instead of making traditional tea made with milk, try taking herbal teas like lemon grass, tulsi or ginger tea to which cloves are added.
4. Anti Fungal, Anti Bacterial & Anti Viral Properties:
Eugenol isolated from cloves have amazing antimicrobial properties so it helps protect us from harmful pathogens. One use that really surprised me was it prevents urinary tract infections in patients using catheter during hospital stay. Surprisingly clove extract is found to be very effective and greatly helps patients from getting infected. Eugenol has been proven to be very effective against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, one of the pathogens that is responsible for catheter associated urinary tract infections.
5. Liver Protecting Properties:
Cloves have liver protecting properties and the best part is it helps reverse liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis, if left untreated will lead to lot of problems including cancer. Eugenol, beta sitocerol and ascorbic acid that are found in cloves have a protective effect on our liver as they have antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.
6. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels:
Cloves will help maintain stable blood sugar levels after consuming a meal. Oleanolic acid and maslinic acid are terpenes that are derived from cloves and they helps stabilize blood sugar levels and is very very effective in treating postprandial hyperglycemia. If you are a diabetic and want to maintain blood sugar levels try including either cinnamon or cloves in your diet and it will greatly help.
7. For Weight Loss:
Clove extract have anti obesity properties and has been proven through research beyond doubt. A research done on rats who were given standard American diet along with 0.5% clove extract for almost 9 weeks proved beyond doubt that cloves inhibits fat accumulation proving our traditional belief that cloves help reduce weight.
8. Reduces Stress & Inflammation:
Both cloves and clove oil have wonderful anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties and greatly helps reduce inflammation and also reduces oxidative stress which is the main reason for premature ageing of our body, skin and hair. Another interesting thing about cloves and inflammation is the crude clove extract we can easily make at home by boiling cloves is proven to be more beneficial than isolated clove extracts.
9. Gastro Protective Effects:
Both clove extract and clove oil have anti ulcer properties and again eugenol is responsible for it. When clove extract is consumed, though there is no effect on the amount of gastric juices produced nor the acidity, it greatly helps improves the mucus production which has a gastro protective effect. You can read the study that supports this claim here.
10. Anti Giardia Activity:
Giardia is an intestinal parasite infection usually caused due to drinking contaminated water and it results in diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating and nausea. Both clove oil and clove extract is very effective against the parasite and kills almost 50 % of the parasites. Eugenol is responsible for the anti giardia activity and even the isolated eugenol can be used.
11. Treats Anal Fissure:
Clove cream that is made with clove oil is very very effective in treating anal fissures. Anal fissure is very very painful condition that is usually caused when we pass very hard stools resulting in small tear that causes bleeding and pain. Though it heals on it’s own in a few weeks, we can speed up the healing process by using clove cream.
12. Treats Toothache:
13. Helps Treat Otitis:
14. Treats Candida:
Many people suffer from candida overgrowth which is a fungal infection that can cause digestive problems, oral thrush, skin problems and yeast infection. Clove extract is very effective in reducing the infection, it helps reduce both the bacterial infection and also the symptoms associated with it. If you are suffering from candida overgrowth, consider taking clove extract.
15. Preserves Bone Density:
Another amazing use of cloves is it’s bone preserving potential. One important concern for women over 50 is osteoporosis and along with including calcium rich foods regularly in our duet, we should also try to include herbs like cloves which helps preserve our bone mass. You can read the study that proves it here.
Where To Buy Whole Cloves, Clove Capsules & Clove Oil?
1. Whole Cloves:
We can get cloves in all the departmental stores in India as it is a popular spice. I like to buy whole cloves in bulk as we use it as a seasoning in many of our traditional recipes. I also love to add cloves to potpourri as it makes the whole smell amazing. Some times I prick an orange with cloves and make orange pomander too.
2. Clove Oil
We get both plain cove oil and clove essential oil through online shops. Clove oil is just an infusion and if you want best results, I would suggest buying clove essential oil. Pure, therapeutic grade clove essential oil does wonders!
3. Clove Capsules:
We get clove capsules in the markets too. They are usually taken for reducing inflammation, treating cold, cough and fever and also for reducing parasitic infection. Research well about the company before clove capsules.
4. Clove Powder:
Since clove powder is used in cake recipes, we get clove powder in most departmental stores in India. You can also make your own clove powder by sin drying cloves and then powdering in a dry mixer to a smooth powder and storing in a airtight box.
Generally for remedies, we use around 2 cloves or 1/8 tsp of clove powder. If you are using clove oil, use around 1 or two drops. For external use, use around 3 drops of clove essential oil for a tablespoon of carrier oil.
Cloves Side Effects:
Cloves if consumed as a spice in small quantities in our food usually agrees with everyone and does not have any side effects. But in large doses, it will lower blood sugar levels so diabetic patients should monitor their blood sugar levels closely. Clove oil should not be given internally to children. Pregnant and breast feeding mothers can use cloves as a spice but not in large therapeutic doses. Cloves slows blood clotting and if you are on any medications for bleeding disorders or about to undergo a surgery please mention taking cloves (if you taking in large doses) to your physician….
5 Top Ways To Use Cloves For Skin, Hair & Health:
1. Clove Tea For Weight Loss:
For aiding weight loss, take 2 small cloves, 1/4 tsp of cumin seeds along with a pinch of Himalayan salt and boil along with a cup of water till it reduces in half and strain. You can have a cup of this mixture weekly twice or thrice. This mixture also will helps treat all digestion related problems really really well.