Cloves are the dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree. While the tree is indigenous to the Maluka Islands of Indonesia, cloves are now found in India, the West Indies, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Madagascar. For over 2,000 years, Indian and Chinese traditional medicine has made extensive use of cloves and clove oil. Arabic traders first brought the fragrant buds to Europe in the fourth century. It wasn’t until the seventh and eighth centuries that cloves became popular as a food preservative in Europe. Today, cloves are found in spice racks and grocery stores throughout the world, and a growing body of scientific evidence supports their use as a natural remedy against harmful microorganisms.
Cloves Resist Harmful Organisms
Cloves contain eugenol, a powerful phytochemical that offers many benefits and is also responsible for cloves’ distinct odor. Research has repeatedly shown that cloves and eugenol are effective at establishing an environment that is resistant to harmful organisms. When Portuguese researchers evaluated eugenol against harmful organisms that target the gut, they observed that eugenol might offer potential as a natural therapy for promoting balance.
Clove, wintergreen, cinnamon, and peppermint are just some of the many essential oils that have demonstrated action against harmful organisms, including Candida. An interesting practical application of this benefit is common in Japan where researchers believe that spices like cloves protect seafood dishes against microbes that cause foodborne illnesses.
More than just an annoyance, insects like mosquitoes carry disease. Unfortunately, many bug repellant sprays contain toxic chemicals, such as DEET. According to Duke University, clove oil is a natural insect repellant for those who want to avoid harsh, chemical deterrents.
Cloves Have Antioxidant Activity
The oxidative damage caused by free radicals wreaks havoc that can interrupt cellular function and affect your health and how you feel. Antioxidants defend against oxidative damage and spices are among the best sources of antioxidants. Like sage and oregano, cloves contain concentrated stores of antioxidants that encourage normal aging and immune system function and support cellular integrity at its most basic level.
Cloves Promote Oral Health
Clove oil, which encourages healthy teeth and gums, is a traditional remedy for relieving toothache, sore gums, and oral discomfort. With an action similar to capsaicin, the eugenol in cloves depresses the sensitivity of receptors that register discomfort. For even more soothing action, cloves contain beta-caryophyllene, which has a fast-acting (but short-lived) effect against discomfort.
Cloves Encourage Normal Blood Sugar
In animal studies, cloves were found to promote normal blood sugar in mice, an effect that warrants further investigation in human trials. It appears one of the many compounds in cloves supports normal sugar formation in the liver.
Cloves Are Ideal for Bone Support
In one study, researchers found that eugenol in dried cloves helped preserve bone density, reduce bone loss, and protect bone tensile strength in mice. This evidence serves as a catalyst for the idea that cloves may have support normal bone health in human.
In Asia, the incidence of some diseases is lower than in western nations. The culinary styles in Asia also use a heavy hand with spices such as turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. These spices, which can soothe irritation, may support normal brain health even in the face of aging.