By Devi Poojari Updated: August 17, 2023
Cloves, or lavangam, are a popular spice that comes from the dried flower buds of the clove tree and has been used for centuries in various traditional systems of medicine for its potential health benefits.
Cloves, or lavangaor shout as it is commonly known in India, has become an ingredient used as a kitchen remedy for problems such as toothache to cure coughs. Also popularly used in various oral hygiene products such as toothpaste, tooth powder and anti-bacterial mouthwash, cloves have many medicinal properties that are very beneficial to health. From being added to tea infusions or used as a component in garam masala, pimento is also a widely used spice in Indian cooking. Here are some of the main benefits.
Cloves are rich in antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds and flavonoids. These antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body thereby reducing oxidative stress and the risk of chronic disease. Cloves also contain compounds that have shown potential in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in laboratory studies. Cloves contain compounds like eugenol which exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic conditions.
Eugenol, the main component of clove oil, has antiseptic and analgesic properties. It is frequently used in dental care products and natural remedies for gum health and oral hygiene. Chewing some whole cloves also helps release their natural oils, soothes tooth and gum pain, and fights cavities. This spice also helps relieve tooth sensitivity, making it less susceptible to foods at extreme temperatures.
Cloves can help improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. It can also help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, and gas. Cloves also increase digestive motility, helping reduce irritating gas and flatulence nausea. They also contain a lot of fiber, help relieve the symptoms and effects of constipation, and have ulcer-fighting properties.
The essential oil derived from cloves has shown antibacterial and antifungal properties which can be used to fight various microbial infections. Clove essence and clove oil are great remedies for ailments like food poisoning, stomach infections, bad breath and gum infections. The nutritional value of this spice is excellent in fighting bacteria such as E. coli and staph aureus, while reducing the growth of other micro-organisms.
Clove oil has been used for its analgesic properties, making it useful for managing pain associated with headaches, muscle aches, and joint discomfort. Clove oil is often mixed with balms that provide relief from arthritic pain, sprains and rheumatism as it reduces the inflammatory response in the body. Adding a few clove buds to warm mustard oil or using a clove-scented balm to massage your knees, ankles, and hip joints are effective in relieving muscle tension.
Clove oil’s aromatic compounds can provide a calming effect on the respiratory system. Inhaling clove-infused vapors or using clove-based products can relieve coughs, colds, and nasal congestion. Drinking hot tea infused with cloves and cinnamon is effective in alleviating congestion in the chest, unclogging sinuses and relieving coughs and colds. The aroma of clove oil is also known to relieve asthma, bronchitis and other upper respiratory conditions.
Several studies have shown that certain compounds in cloves, including eugenol and antioxidants, can help regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. The nigericin compound present in clove spices activates the function of insulin-producing cells as well as regulates insulin levels in the body. Cloves also enable reduction of insulin resistance and promote moderate sugar levels.
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