The Small Wonder

Grown from the flower buds of the Syzygium Aromaticum tree, cloves have gained tremendous popularity worldwide as a food additive used in roasts and baked goods. However, in the Ancient Roman civilization, it was widely regarded for its medicinal properties. It was also considered one of the most expensive spices in Europe during the Middle Ages. So, do the benefits of cloves go beyond just enhancing taste?

1. Improves Digestion

Consuming cloves coaxes your body into releasing beneficial digestive enzymes which help to breakdown food in your stomach. This heightened metabolism allows your body to quickly absorb nutrients and eliminate harmful compounds. As a result, there is a marked reduction in common stomach related ailments such as indigestion, bloatedness and nausea. Studies show that cloves stimulate the production of mucus in the stomach which helps to alleviate painful stomach ulcers, which may arise due to infections, stressful lifestyles and hereditary reasons. In this regard, cloves are particularly effective when consumed in a powder form with honey.

2. Protects the Liver

The liver plays an essential part in human metabolism by breaking down complex substances present in our foods. Unfortunately, this process leads to the accumulation of harmful free radicals and lipids which may irreparably harm the liver. Thankfully, cloves contain powerful antioxidants that can protect the liver against such damage. So, including cloves in your diet will greatly improve the longevity of your liver and other internal organs. 

3. Regulates Blood Sugar

Millions of people worldwide suffer from diabetes, a condition whereby the body under-produces the hormone insulin. Such people are unable to effectively regulate their blood sugar leading to a severely impaired lifestyle. Here, cloves can be of tremendous value as they mimic the impact of insulin on the body and prevent erratic fluctuations in blood sugar.

4. Helps Fight Cancer

A great deal of research has shown that cloves are natural chemopreventive agents. In particular, their chemical component Eugenol, has shown the ability to stop tumour growth and even destroy cancer cells. Cloves are also good sources of antioxidants. Half a teaspoon of ground clove contains more antioxidants than half a cup of blueberries. They are particularly effective in cases of esophageal and breast cancer.

5. Enhances the Immune System

Cloves are highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine for their ability to stimulate the creation of lymphocytes or white blood cells. These cells serve as the body’s first line of defense against harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, and are an essential component of a healthy immune system.

6. Cures Respiratory Infections

A warm cup of clove tea might just be what the doctor ordered. Cloves can be mixed with hot beverages to reduce congestion and relieve the symptoms respiratory infections, cold and flu.

7. Relieves Stress and Cures Headaches

Instead of diving for over-the-counter pain medications, why not try cloves the next time you have a killer headache? Packed with the chemical Eugenol, cloves are an effective, natural pain killer with no harmful side effects. Furthermore, cloves can also help to calm your rattled nerves and lift your spirits during stressful moments. They do so by promoting the production of hormones which regulate mood and behaviour.

8. Promotes Healthy Bones

The case for cloves becomes even more solid once you realise that they can actually strengthen your bones. Containing several phenolic compounds such as isoflavones, flavones and flavonoids, cloves are able to enhance the retention of bone mass and reduce the effects of rheumatic arthritis.

9. Aiding Female Reproduction and Treating Morning Sickness

Cloves can really spice up your life thanks to their powerful aphrodisiac properties. In fact, cloves and nutmeg have proven to be much more effective in stimulating the senses compared to many conventional medicines, which are sold specifically for this purpose. Once you do receive some happy news, cloves can even help during the first unbearable bouts of morning sickness. A particularly effective solution involves drinking a mixture of eight to 10 cloves with some tamarind and palm sugar. Continuing this drink for about two weeks will all but eliminate any feelings of nausea allowing you to focus solely on baby names!

10. Raises your Radiance

Cloves allow you to look like your best self through numerous positive changes to your appearance. It helps to control acne breakouts, reduces the appearance of scars and minimises the presence of harmful dermatological bacteria. This is why cloves are widely featured in many beauty products such as acne creams, face packs and lotions etc. Then, cloves can also prevent hair loss, thicken your locks and restore their natural shine and lustre. For best results, shampoo your hair then apply a mixture of clove oil with olive and eucalyptus oils.

Who knew that such a humble spice had so many beneficial properties to offer? Cloves can promote a healthier and more vigorous lifestyle. So be sure to stock up your kitchen cabinet with this small wonder of nature.

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Nahid Tabassum

Nahid Tabassum is an English teacher by day, a make-up junkie and a foodie by heart. She is also a pet lover and an expert napper