Cloves are the unopened, dried flower bud of the evergreen Clove Tree in the Myrtle family and native to India.  Resembling tiny nails, their English name is actually derived from the Latin word clavus, which means “nail.”  Early in my education at OU College of Dentistry, I remember getting a whiff of Clove and wondering where the ham was!  I thought the main use for Cloves was ornamentation for studding the Christmas ham.  This decorative spice is actually famous for its oily concentration of eugenol, a medicinal compound with a long history.  For centuries, Cloves have been used as a food preservative to to kill parasites.  That’s part of the reason that they adorn hams.  Cloves complement health!

Biting into a clove can cause an instant rush of localized numbness and has been a toothache aid for centuries.  In the 1980’s when I was in school, it was used in many of the dental cements and gave dental offices their characteristic smell.  The eugenol and other aromatic molecules in the bud make it a seriously penetrating spice.  Oil of clove relieves pain from dental disease and is therapeutic against a host of other ailments.

The many uses for cloves are fascinating.  They are loaded with benefits that help us LIVE YOUNGER:

  1. Since they have “numbing” benefits, they are often used in topical anesthesia and can speed healing in the case of injury to the mouth by boosting circulation of blood vessels in the gums.  They are also beneficial against stomatitis, a painful inflammation of the lining of the mouth, which can be caused by  poor dental hygiene, medication side effects, or poorly-fitting dentures.
  2. Cloves are anti-inflammatory.  The eugenol oil, as well as the flavonoids contained in the spice, can reduce inflammation by 15 to 30 percent.
  3. They are small and mighty!  Cloves have an incredible variety of nutrients including Vitamin K, Manganese, Iron, Magnesium, and even Calcium, just to name a few.  
  4. Cloves are versatile.  Great as medicine and to adorn hams, they also make a delicious addition to soups, beans, and chili.  

What other benefits do cloves provide?  Since eugenol has germ-fighting power, it can battle bacteria and viruses throughout the body:

  • Helicobacter pylori are the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers and are linked to stomach cancer.  The bacteria acts in two ways: it increases the secretion of stomach acid and it weakens the stomach mucous.  The anti-infective powers of clove oil can inhibit the growth of this bacteria in many cases.  Cloves were actually used as early as the 1950’s to treat ulcers.  This may be an option due to the growing antibiotic resistance in the area of H. pylori management.  Talk to your doctor.
  • Herpes Simplex is an infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. There are two types: Type I (causing cold sores) or Type 2 (causing genital herpes).  Japanese researchers found that eugenol was effective in decreasing replication of the virus in both.  
  • As a mosquito repellent, clove oil may be a safer option than DEET. Thai researchers “enlisted” volunteers (be careful what you volunteer for!) to stick their forearms into a dense area of mosquitos.  Clove oil, citronella, and patchouli were used for protection and provided two hours of “complete repellency.”  When retested, clove oil alone provided “100 percent repellency” for four hours.

START SOMEWHERE today to enjoy the fabulous flavors of fresh spices.  Consult a knowledgeable holistic healthcare provider before taking clove oil internally.  Oil of clove relieves pain but remember to “start low and go slow” if you are using it in your mouth.  It can be safely and easily diluted with coconut oil.  Cloves complement health and add zest to food.  LIVE YOUNGER with goodness from the garden.  You can do it.  I will help you.

Cloves Complement Health

Cloves Complement Health