Unleash the Power of Cloves: 10 Remarkable Health Benefits
Clove is an evergreen tree whose small reddish-brown flower buds are used as one of the cooking spices. Cloves are native to Indonesia and have maintained a remarkable position in the spice trade since ancient times. Cloves are strong and pungent in taste and astringent creating a numb sensation in the mouth.
Apart from the use of cloves as seasonings in the food industry, their medicinal values have been highlighted over time in scientific and Ayurvedic approaches. Eugenol, an inherent essential oil makes this spice a medical wonder, of which some are described in this article.
1. Reduces Tooth Pain
Whenever someone has a toothache in Asian homes, the simple remedy is to hold whole cloves in the mouth. Eugenol, an elixir compound of clove is known to own powerful pain healing properties. The use of clove oil in the cases of toothache has been fairly recommended whereas the use of homemade clove gel has been found to have equal benefits as benzocaine.
Studies have demonstrated the use of eugenol-based toothpaste in oral care implementation to be significant. The antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic characteristic of eugenol makes its use successful in dentistry to prevent cavities and bad breath and to treat toothache.
2. Antidiarrheal and Promotes Gut Health
Normal bowel movement is a promise of a healthy gut. When it gets reversed such as in case of increased intestinal motility, various abnormalities like diarrhea and gastrointestinal bleeding occur. The consumption of cloves and similar gut-friendly foods can reduce intestinal motility hence reversing the chances of diarrhea.
Cloves can also increase the activity of digestive enzymes and nitrogen absorption in the intestine. This helps to potentiate the digestive process in the body. Cloves can maintain gut microbiota as well which regulates the functionality of the digestive system.
3. Has Anticancer Properties
Chemotherapy is the most considered mode of treatment when one gets diagnosed with cancer. However, natural products are also potential anticancer agents and their use in the development of anticancer drugs is ever-rising. Eugenol and caryophyllene components of cloves are known to have cytotoxic and antitumor activity which can be used in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
The antioxidant and antiinflammatory property of cloves prevents the formation of reactive oxygen species hence suppressing the tumor formation. Studies also have supported the anticancer activity of cloves in which it was found that extracts of cloves had the potency to inhibit and kill several human cancer cell lines.
4. Has Anesthetic Properties
The active ingredients attributing anesthetic features to cloves are eugenol and isoeugenol. These compounds are used both as local anesthetics and topical anesthetics. Clove gels being equally efficient as benzocaine have the potency to be used as a topical anesthetic in dentistry. The easy availability and lower price are added benefits of these gels.
Clove oil decreases neurosensory function mainly by acting on the cerebral region of the brain. It also has an inhibitory effect on the respiratory system thereby slowing down the respiratory rate. This property of clove oil has been used to anesthetize fish using proper doses.
5. Promotes Weight Loss
Cloves are placed under herbs that warm the interior and expel cold in Herbal Medicine. Hence, these spices can increase the metabolic rate which puts them in the category of food for weight loss. The increased metabolism also inhibits fat synthesis and accumulation in the body.
Studies have found the relevance of cloves in reducing obesity-related indexes which are fasting body glucose, adipocyte size, visceral/belly fat, and total body weight. The imbalance in gut microbiota brought about by a high-fat diet is also prevented by the intake of gloves. The prevention of gut dysbiosis is also beneficial in the proper metabolism of the body.
6. Beneficial For Hair
The use of clove water and clove oil has proven benefits for hair. The antifungal and antibacterial property of eugenol helps to prevent the spread of infections to hair follicles and fights scalp disorders such as dermatitis. The high level of antioxidants present in cloves is also helpful in hair growth and retention.
Cloves also promote healthy hair by smoothening and providing nourishment to the scalp. It brings about a balance in the production of natural hair oil preventing the dryness in the hair. Overall, this versatile spice strengthens hair roots, promotes natural hair color and reduces hair loss, itchiness and shedding of hair. The final result shows up as thicker, stronger and shiny hair.
7. Prevents Ulcers And Gastritis
The antimicrobial property of cloves is the mainstay for the treatment of ulcers. H. pylori has been linked with stomach ulcers and gastritis as these bacteria can damage the protective lining of the stomach creating an open painful sore.
The ability of cloves to inhibit H. pylori reduces the chance of development of both peptic ulcers and gastritis. Studies have shown that the presence of beta-caryophyllene in the essential oil of cloves possesses the property to inhibit these bacteria. One of the studies even reported the clove extract to have higher antimicrobial properties against H. pylori than the curcumin extract.
8. Helpful In Depression
Phytonutrients present in cloves have the potency to inhibit the monoamine oxidase. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors(MAOIs) are a strong class of antidepressants that act by preventing the breakdown of happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. Another hormone norepinephrine whose depletion leads to depressive symptoms is also protected by the MAOI mode of action.
The presence of excess antioxidants in cloves is useful to prevent the conditions of stress-induced depressive symptoms. Likewise, inflammatory activation of the immune system affecting the nervous system is one of the reasons leading to depression. This can be reversed by the anti-inflammatory properties of cloves.
9. To Treat Skin Impairments
Clove is full of vitamins and minerals which makes is a food important for healthy skin. Clove extract's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory property is another factor that contributes to healthy skin. Some of the skin benefits of cloves are listed below:
- The antimicrobial property helps to get rid of skin diseases such as scabies and Athlete's foot diseases.
- Eugenol present in clove helps in treating acne by inhibiting acne bacteria and reducing swelling.
- Eugenol also helps in soothing itchiness and redness in the skin.
- Clove oil has been used as a remedy for dry skin which promotes the production of natural oil.
- Clove oil can also be used to reduce the stretch marks.
- Clove oil emulsion has wound-healing properties and can be used as a substitute for chemical-based topical products.
- Clove oils can be used to treat cuts and insect bites.
Inflammation and oxidative stress are related processes. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative dysfunction. The anti-inflammatory property of cloves regulates the release of inflammatory molecules in the blood hence helping to downregulate all these chronic illnesses.
Chronic irritation and inflammation are also associated with the development and progression of cancer. Clove oil is found to possess anti-cancer properties especially highlighted in lung cancer.
The benefit of this wonder spice does not come to an end here. Apart from the aforementioned health benefits, this flavoring agent also carry other health benefits which are listed below
- Aromatherapy: The warm essential oil of cloves relaxes the mind and soothes the brain limiting anxiousness.
- Comforts Muscles: The stiffness in joints and soreness in the muscles can be inhibited by massage with clove oil. Its use in massage blends hence relaxes the body.
- Clove extracts are infused in balms to relieve symptoms of pain, stress and sprain.
- Antiviral against Influeza virus, Herpes virus and Ebola virus.
- Effective in repelling and delivering fumigant toxicity to fleas hence preventing insect-borne diseases.
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