Cloves: Properties and Benefits
Cloves are a spice with surprising therapeutic properties supported by scientific research. According to science, these are their health benefits
The cloves are very well known and appreciated not only for their properties aromatic, but also to the therapeutic dose.
Cloves are the flower buds of the plant known by the name of Syzygium aromaticum. The tree is an evergreen belonging to the Myrtaceae family. The plant can reach 15 meters in height and is cultivated in various countries of southern Africa and Indonesia.
- Chemical Composition
- Properties and Benefits
- Ayurvedic Medicine
The plant begins to produce floral buds just after the rainy season. At the beginning buds are light green, then turn pink and then turn bright red. It is precisely when the buds turn pink that they are collected and dried to then become cloves.
|Chemical composition for 100 gr of cloves|
|Vitamin A, RAE||mcg||8|
Amino acids: aspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.
In the cloves and also in the leaves and branches of the plant from which they come, there is an active ingredient called eugenol. This compound gives them their characteristic intense and particularly aromatic aroma.
Other substances contained in the cloves are:
100 grams of cloves have a caloric yield of 274 kcal.
Cloves: Properties and Benefits
Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatories
The cloves have a high antioxidant power. For this reason, they are a valid aid to counteract the activity of free radicals and to slow down cell aging. According to the research, antioxidants are compounds capable of reducing oxidative stress, a condition that can cause various chronic diseases. ( 1 )
According to studies, eugenol, a compound found in cloves, acts as a natural antioxidant. During the experiments this compound has been shown to reduce oxidative damage 5 times more effectively than vitamin E. ( 2 )
Another antioxidant compound present in the spice is vitamin C. Studies confirm that vitamin C reduces the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This property helps prevent several chronic diseases. ( 3, 4 )
Thanks to the good content of polyphenols, they also possess anti-inflammatory properties.
The eugenol contained in the cloves preserves the density and mineral content of the bones, thus bringing benefits in the case of osteoporosis. To confirm this, an Indian study has shown that the extract of cloves with a high eugenol content improved the markers of osteoporosis and bone density.
Spice is also a good source of manganese. A study on animals has shown that taking manganese supplements for 12 weeks improved mineral density and bone growth.
Recent studies suggest that the properties of cloves may be useful in the fight against tumors. A study by Chinese and Americans found that the clove extract can block tumor growth. Furthermore, this compound also succeeds in inducing the death of cells affected by apoptosis. ( 5 )
An Indian study has arrived at the same result. In tests, concentrated amounts of clove oil caused the death of esophageal cancer cells in 80% of cases. ( 6 )
Also the eugenol present in the spice has been shown to have anticancer properties. In a study conducted in the United Arab Emirates, this compound has destroyed the diseased cells of cervical cancer. ( 7 )
However, it must be remembered that a very concentrated amount of oil was used in the studies cloves and eugenol. In very high quantities, eugenol is toxic and oil can cause liver damage. ( 8 )
Further studies are needed to see if smaller amounts can have the same effects on humans.
The cloves also have properties analgesic / anesthetic and can be used to derive benefits in case of toothache, gingivitis and periodontitis. Since ancient times they seem to have been chewed to get rid of toothache.
Recent studies have shown that this spice has properties bactericidal and fungicidal properties. It is also anti-infective and has its benefits in treating the oral cavity, especially with regard to abscesses. ( 9 )
An Argentine study has shown that the essential oil obtained from the spice is effective against 3 types of bacteria. One of these is Escherichia coli, a bacterium capable of causing various disorders and, in the most serious cases, even death. ( 10 )
Another study found that cloves have useful properties to stop the growth of two types of bacteria responsible for gum disease. ( 11 )
The active ingredients contained in the spice increase gastrointestinal secretions. They therefore benefit digestion in case of constipation or indigestion. They are also useful for reducing flatulence, nausea and gastric irritability.
A study conducted on animals, in collaboration between India and the USA, found that eugenol reversed the development of liver cirrhosis and the signs of scarring of the liver. ( 12 )
A Dutch study found that taking eugenol supplements for a week reduces the markers of liver disease. ( 13 )
Let us once again remember that excessive doses of eugenol are toxic. A British study of a two-year-old child showed that doses of 5 to 10 ml of clove oil cause liver damage. ( 14 )
Ayurvedic medicine in India uses cloves to treat tooth decay and halitosis while in Chinese medicine it is used as an aphrodisiac.
Help for diabetics
Some studies have shown that the extract of cloves has a behavior similar to that of insulin.
A Japanese animal study found that spice extract reduced blood sugar levels in diabetic rats. ( 15 ) Other promising news for diabetics comes from Pakistan. Here the researchers have discovered that cloves and nigericine increase the absorption of sugar by the cells.
The study also found that the cells responsible for insulin secretion improve their function. It can be deduced that the consumption of this spice, combined with a balanced diet, could be useful to keep blood sugar under control. ( 16 )
Cloves and ORAC
The term ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) indicates the absorption capacity of foods against free radicals. To this end, many in vitro food biological samples have been studied and examined and, based on the results, tables have been drawn up with the relative values.
The spice was found to be in first place as far as spices are concerned, with a very high value of 314.446.
At the right doses there are no particular contraindications, while excessive consumption can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Their use is not recommended for pregnant women and those with ulcer and colitis problems.
The plant is native to Indonesia where it seems that it was already known more than 2,000 years before the coming of Christ. In ancient times the aromatic and therapeutic properties of the spice were already known to the populations of the time who used it to create perfumes and medicinal applications.
Thanks to their properties antiseptic and aromatic, may be used to replace the naphthalene or camphor in closets to repel moths. Simply stick them in the peel of an orange and place it in the closets that contain the clothes.
These vegetables can also be used to remove odors from containers (glass jars, jars, etc.) that have not been used for a long time. To do this, simply insert 4/5 cloves inside.
Ancient writings found in China tell that the people who at the time had to talk to the emperor had the obligation to keep a few cloves in their mouth to smell the breath.
In Indonesia they are used to produce flavored cigarettes. Unfortunately it has been shown that this type of cigarette is much worse than traditional. In fact it seems that the quantity of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide entering the lungs is greater than with traditional cigarettes.
The clove , thanks to their properties therapeutic and aromatic, are used in aromatherapy to treat various ailments such as colds, bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism and arthritis.
Maybe not Everyone Knows That
In northern Italy they are used as an ingredient in the preparation of a hot drink based on red wine, mulled wine.
The name “clove” probably derives from the fact that its bud reminds both a carnation and a nail.
Currently cloves are mainly cultivated in the warm countries of southern Africa and in Indonesia.
Thanks to their aromatic properties, they are used in various parts of the world to flavor tea and infusions.
From one plant two harvests of cloves are obtained per year and on average a plant produces about one kilo per harvest.
Cloves: Properties and Benefits
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