Clove - Overview, History, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage

What is clove?

Cloves are a type of herb and are used as a spice for many dishes because of their antiseptic properties. In addition, as a herbal medicine, it is expected to preserve gastrointestinal health, avoid bad breath, and lessen pain and many more. Cloves are a type of plant in the Myrtaceae family, and the dried buds are mainly used as raw materials for spices and perfumes.

Clove buds are round, about 1.5 cm in diameter, dark brown, and resemble nails, they are called Clou in French, which translates to "nail," and Clou in Chinese. Cloves are characterised by a strong, sweet aroma and a pungent taste that numbs the tongue. Because of its strong scent, sailors could smell the cloves even before they saw the island where the clove trees were growing. The majority of cloves are grown in tropical climates, and harvesting takes place in the spring and autumn when the buds on the ends of clove tree branches start to turn red during the supposedly hotter months of the year. The collected dried buds are used as spices, and their distinct aroma can be created into scented sachets. They can also be utilised for other medicinal applications, such as gastrointestinal tract ailments. Moreover, oil that has been taken from the leaves and stalks that support clove buds is used as an ingredient in cosmetics and as a flavouring ingredient in cigarettes.

Clove History

The first known uses of cloves are from Hindu medicine, where they were prescribed for internal and surgical purposes. Cloves are also referenced in the Chinese book "The Tales of the Three Provinces" during the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. - 8 A.D.). There is a record that during the 1970s, court servants were required to cleanse their mouths with cloves before appearing before the emperor. Furthermore, cloves were reported to be very helpful as a spice and medication in Greece and to alleviate moodiness, boost appetite, and be excellent against gout and seasickness in Persia.

One of the clove-producing regions, Tertena Island, was founded by the Portuguese, David and Serrano, in 1514, during a bloody struggle for spices across Europe. In 1519, Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, was ordered by the King of Spain to begin searching for a sea route to the source of spices. It is said that the sailors who followed him brought the cloves back to Spain, which brought them huge profits. There is another history linked to its special aroma. Cleopatra, who was said to be a master of fragrance, is said to have loved the scent of cloves in addition to the scent of roses. Legend has it that Cleopatra would infuse the sails of her ships with the scent of cloves so that those waiting on land could tell when Cleopatra was coming home from the scent wafting on the wind. Even now, people adore its pleasant, exotic, and oriental aroma. Well-known scents with clove notes are Dior's Poison and GIVENCHY's L'Interdi, which Audrey Hepburn adored.

Characteristics of cloves

Cloves are employed as spices in Chinese herbal medicine or Ayurveda Indian Medicine System. In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised its usage in dentistry due to its potent analgesic properties.

It is also frequently used in aromatherapy, tobacco, and other applications, and because it includes chemicals that pests like cockroaches detest, it is considered to be effective as an insect repellent.

Eugenol, the primary ingredient in clove oil, has calming and antibacterial properties and helps relieve gingivitis and toothaches. Additionally, it serves as a local anaesthetic and is also called the "dentist's herb."

Cloves also include minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins B1 and B2. Antibacterial, antiviral, insect repellent, immunity boosting, antispasmodic, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, hunger suppressant, anticancer, and calming benefits are only a few of its numerous positive properties.

Benefits Of Clove

Including cloves in your diet might provide you with many advantages. Here are some of cloves benefits-

Antioxidant Effect: Cloves contain a phenolic compound called eugenol, which has been shown to have antioxidant properties. Free radicals are a type of active oxygen that antioxidants either neutralise or eliminate. When humans breathe in oxygen, a substance known as "active oxygen" is formed at a rate of several percent. It plays a major role in immunity and can destroy viruses. However, it is said that too much active oxygen can attack the cells themselves, causing the cells to lose their original functions, leading to lifestyle-related diseases. This excess active oxygen is eliminated by antioxidants, which is why this phenomenon is known as an antioxidant effect. Eugenol, found in cloves, has been shown to have anti-ageing properties, so be sure to incorporate it into your cuisine whenever possible.

Antibacterial Effect: Cloves' eugenol component has been shown to have the effect of suppressing the growth of food-poisoning bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Among food-poisoning bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus is a gram-positive coccus that is facultatively anaerobic and has the highest salt tolerance, growing at temperatures between 35°C and 40°C and even at a 15% salt concentration. They proliferate the most during the winter, so be careful, especially in the summer. Moreover, the toxin generated by Staphylococcus aureus is difficult to eliminate using standard cooking techniques because it can only be detoxified by heating at 100°C for 130 minutes. After entering the body, symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, trembling in the muscles, and abdominal pain appear after an incubation period of several hours. Although the number of food poisoning cases caused by Staphylococcus aureus is on the decline, we still need to be careful. The benefits of adding cloves to each dish are not only for flavouring but also for their antibacterial properties.

Boost Immunity & Lifestyle Diseases: The ingredient eugenol found in cloves is thought to have the ability to regulate immunity, while it is still in the research stage. In particular, a study based on animal trials demonstrated that it reduced the activity of molecules that induce inflammation and ameliorated the symptoms of autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. Since this was an animal experiment, it does not immediately apply to humans, but we cannot rule out the possibility that future studies will determine whether eugenol is effective. Thousands of people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which is categorised as a chronic inflammatory illness. Joint function decreases and daily tasks become more challenging as the symptoms worsen. Early therapy is necessary since rheumatoid arthritis is thought to cause the most bone deterioration in the first year following the commencement of the disease. Treatment methods include a combination of physical therapy, surgery, and drug therapy. It would be nice to find out through experimental verification if the eugenol in cloves truly helps people with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Maintain healthy cells: According to a research report, clove oil's eugenol may have the indirect effect of slowing the growth of dangerous cells, yet opinions on this matter are still being debated among scientists. More precisely, it functions by inhibiting NF-kB, which is involved in replicating the information required for cell proliferation, to stop cells from reproducing. NF-kB is thought to have a significant role in malignant tumours; therefore, if research on this gene continues, it might eventually be able to influence malignant neoplasms as well. Malignant neoplasms are said to account for 30% of all deaths in India, with lung cancer, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer becoming the most prevalent. Food and smoking are considered to be significant cancer risk factors. Research from outside appears to indicate that food plays a significant role in about half of cancer causes. To live a longer and better life, we would like to appreciate food once more and pay closer attention to what we eat every day.

Stress reduction: When healthy adult men were stimulated with the scent of eugenol, changes in sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve components were investigated using heart rate variability analysis. After three days of application, the smell of eugenol was more noticeable when cortisol, a human stress hormone, was measured in the blood and was observed to drop. This suggests that eugenol exerts a relaxing effect on humans. It is good for people who experience stress, depression and anxiety.

Bad Breath Care: Eugenol from clove is also useful in addressing bad breath. It supports overall dental health. Since ancient times, cloves have been used. It's even been reported that in China, it was traditional to put cloves in your mouth to freshen your breath before seeing the emperor. It is also popular as an ingredient in toothpaste.

Ageing Care: Numerous issues can arise from oxidation in the body, such as increased blood vessel and body ageing, skin conditions including wrinkles, age spots, and rough skin, and the induction of lifestyle-related illnesses like cancer. Cloves have the highest antioxidant capacity among foods! It is said that because of its potent antioxidant properties, the body's oxidation is suppressed, avoiding and delaying many issues and illnesses.

Improve digestive issues: Since cloves warm the stomach and intestines, they are useful as an aromatic stomachic remedy for gastrointestinal issues brought on by colds, food poisoning, diarrhoea, vomiting, and indigestion. It is also said to help improve arthritis and rheumatism caused by cold weather.

Clove Dosage

As per FSSAI, the recommended dosage value for clove is 0.5-1 g as flower buds. It is the maximum limit for the human body. You should not overdose on it. The overdose of any herb including clove is not good for the health. Clove or Syzygium aromaticum (L.)Merr. and L.Perry also known as Laung is a powerful herb which needs to be used in limited amounts only.

Precaution For Clove

Cloves are reported to have no specific adverse effects, although it's unclear if they're safe for youngsters, nursing mothers, or expectant mothers. But still, it is good to avoid the overdose of clove in any form. Although pregnant women may not have any problems with scented foods, they should refrain from taking medicines or supplements that contain cloves. About two tablespoons of clove oil should be consumed daily, and if you use essential oil straight to your skin, limit its concentration to 0.25% or less. Because clove essential oil is so stimulating, it is not recommended for use in oil massages. Also, be careful not to overfill the aroma bath.

Please be advised that if eaten by anyone who is taking blood clotting medications, the eugenol in cloves also has the effect of preventing blood coagulation. They may develop a tendency to bleed. Hence we advise you to consult with a healthcare professional whenever you bring clove into your daily routine.

How To Use Cloves In Cooking?

Cloves are a versatile seasoning. It's also great for pickles, stews, soups, desserts, mulled wine and many more. Let's talk about them-

Add flavour and odour to food: Meat dishes pair well with cloves. Because of its antibacterial qualities, it improves meat's capacity to be preserved and gets rid of its smell. To use, make a cut in the fat side of the meat with a hole glove and insert it directly into the meat for roasting or grilling. When done, remove the cloves. The rich aroma of the meat is imparted by the fat-soluble fragrance, which seeps into the flesh and dissolves in it.

When using it for cooking, use it in small quantities and keep an eye on it. Burger steaks are kneaded with powder, but you can also stew the meat with whole cloves in it. Additionally, one or two sticks are occasionally added to baked apples, and it is utilised in fruit compotes and baked pastries. Since the smell of spices is lessened when combined with other spices that have a similar scent, the powder can also be combined with nutmeg and cinnamon to form garam masala.

Add to soup or tea: Cloves can be added to tea as well. Well, it is a traditional method and has been used for years to increase the flavour of tea or chai. It is effective when taken on an empty stomach, but be careful not to drink too much. The spicy taste of cloves is also added to the soup. Cloves can also be used in soups like tomato soup, meat soup, etc. When preparing Chai, the Indian sweet milk tea, cloves are one of the most important spices. You may make a traditional chai by adding cardamom and cinnamon with clove into it.

Aroma: You can easily take advantage of the benefits of cloves by using its essential oils. When you're feeling low and hopeless, the stimulating and spicy aroma of cloves might help you feel better and more motivated. Use caution when adding fragrances to an aroma diffuser because powerful aromas might be overwhelming. To lessen the potent clove smell, dilute 1 drop of clove essential oil with 5 drops of citrus essential oil. You can also spray it around the room. Moreover, you can soak in your bath after adding a few drops of clove essential oil to the water. You'll feel more at ease and less stressed thanks to the natural scent. Scents of herbs, citrus, and spices go nicely with cloves. Use clove sparingly because of its potent aroma. It may become too powerful and wear you out if you sniff it at high doses for an extended period. Please be careful when using the concentration as it may irritate you.

FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions) on Clove

Can it be used for herbal tea?

We recommend adding it to orange peel as it goes well with it.

Does it have an insect-repellent effect?

It is said to contain ingredients that cockroaches dislike.

I don't like the stimulation of cloves.

I think that roasting or boiling cloves calms down the irritation and makes it mellow, making it easier to eat.

How much should I use for cooking?

You don't want to add too much and spoil the flavour of the dish, so it's a good idea to start adding a small amount and add more if it seems like it's not enough.

Can it be used for alcohol too?

It is also recommended to use it in hot wine as it will give it a nice aroma.

What are cloves?

Cloves are aromatic flower buds derived from the Syzygium aromaticum tree. These dried buds are commonly used as a spice in various cuisines and also hold medicinal properties.

Is clove good for cough?

Yes, cloves have antitussive (cough-suppressant) properties. They can be beneficial in relieving cough symptoms.

How to make clove oil?

Clove oil is made by soaking cloves in a carrier oil like olive oil and allowing it to infuse. The mixture is then strained to obtain the oil.

How to use clove oil for toothache?

Apply a small amount of clove oil directly to the affected tooth or gums using a cotton ball. Clove oil's analgesic properties can help alleviate toothache.

How to use clove for toothache?

Chewing a whole clove or placing a clove against the affected tooth can provide relief from toothache due to its natural numbing effect.

What is the meaning of clove?

In the culinary context, "clove" refers to the dried flower bud of the clove tree. It is a spice known for its strong, aromatic flavour.

How to eat cloves?

Cloves are typically used as a spice in cooking. They can be added to both savoury and sweet dishes to enhance flavour. However, eating them directly in large quantities is not common due to their intense taste.

Is clove good for teeth?

Yes, clove is known for its dental benefits. It has antibacterial properties and can contribute to maintaining oral health.

Is clove good for toothache?

Yes, clove is considered effective for toothache relief. Its natural anaesthetic properties can help numb the affected area.

How to apply clove oil for a toothache?

Dip a cotton ball in clove oil and apply it directly to the painful tooth or gums. Ensure not to use excessive amounts, and if the pain persists, consult a dentist.

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