health Jun 20, 2021
Close up shot of a Clove
Photo by K15 Photos / Unsplash

Clove is the dried bud of the flower. The plant is an evergreen plant growing in tropical and subtropical conditions.
Clove-spice belongs to the family of Myrtaceae. Its scientific name is Sygizium aromaticum.
Clove has been used for thousands of years in India and China as a spice and as a medicine for many disorders. Dried cloves are brown, hard, and nail-like in shape. The English name clove is derived from the Latin word clavus which means nail.
The sweet aroma of cloves comes from an essential oil, eugenol.

Certain bioactive compounds have been isolated from clove extracts. Some of them are flavonoids, hexane, methylene chloride, ethanol, thymol, eugenol, and benzene.
These biochemicals have various properties, such as antioxidant, hepato-protective, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The nutrients found in 100 grams of cloves include 65g of carbohydrate, 6g of protein, 13g of total lipids, 2g of sugars, 274 kcal of energy and 33g of dietary fibre.
Minerals in cloves include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Potassium is an important electrolyte of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
Manganese is used by the body as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme.
The vitamins found in cloves are vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and Western herbalism and dentistry.

Whenever stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems, the essential oil, eugenol, is applied over the stomach or abdomen to warm the digestive tract (aromatherapy).

Medicinal values

Cloves possess anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties. They give relief from inflammation and pain and help to cure gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.

The essential oil, eugenol is used in dentistry as a local-anaesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum.
Extracts from cloves imitate insulin in certain ways and help in controlling blood sugar levels.
Cloves improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. They also help relieve indigestion and constipation problems.
The extracts of cloves kill the specific bacteria that spread cholera.
Cloves are natural anthelmintic. They kill intestinal worms. They are also used as an expectorant and make easier to cough up phlegm.
Clove extracts protect the liver against infections.  These extracts are helpful in preserving bone density and the mineral content of bone. Thus they increase tensile strength of bones in case of osteoporosis.

Side effects

Dried clove can also cause mouth sensitivity and irritation, as well as damage to dental tissues.
Frequent and repeated application of clove oil in the mouth or on the gums can sometimes cause damage to the gums, tooth pulp, skin, and mucous membranes.
Inhaling smoke from clove cigarettes or injecting clove oil into the veins can cause side effects such as breathing problems and lung infections.
Clove oil eugenol slows blood clotting. So, taking clove oil causes bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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