Cloves rank among the most widely used spices on the planet. They’re indigenous to Indonesia and are formed from clove trees’ buds. When these buds are dried before they blossom, the clove spice is produced. Moreover, as well as its sweet tones, it can also provide many health benefits.
The element contained in cloves that gives them anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects is eugenol. Furthermore, eugenol impedes enzymes and blocks the causes of swelling that might occur through injury or illness.
This aromatic spice, then, is not only a versatile ingredient for drinks and cooking but is also widely used in herbal medicine.
Moreover, due to the spice’s versatility, it’s easy to incorporate it into your diet. For instance, you can make hot teas infused with cloves, as well as cocktails and other alcoholic drinks.
They also have a pleasant aroma and are good for flavoring meat in roasts or curries, as well as smoothies, cookies and cakes.
The role of digestion is to process all of the food you eat. In doing so, your body will have what it needs to keep functioning the way it should.
And while exercise and a good diet can aid digestion, cloves can also play a role in promoting gut health.
Cloves may encourage the release of enzymes in our digestive tracts. These are a naturally forming matter that’s essential to processing food.
As a result, cloves help to combat issues such as indigestion, stomach cramps and bloating. BrightSide recommends taking cloves either honey-roasted or in powdered form. The cloves’ high fiber content can also prevent constipation.
For more than a century, dentists have used a substance called eugenol in their work. During the 1830s, it was used for fillings.
Later on, it was employed in oils to counter abscesses and gum disease, and also in root canal therapy. And cloves are themselves a source of eugenol.
Indeed, it has been commonplace in Asia for many years to treat tooth complaints with clove oil. You see, its anesthetic qualities can offer respite to pain while you arrange an appointment with your dentist to treat the problem.
Either put a clove near the affected area in your mouth or rub your gums with clove oil.
What’s more, the eugenol in cloves can help elsewhere around the body. Take the liver, for instance.
Now, the liver is the biggest player in human digestion, responsible for no less than 500 tasks to ensure optimal health. Basically, all that we ingest passes through the liver, and it knows what to store, what to release and what to flush out.
Your liver can benefit from a dose of the eugenol found in clover as well. Although there have only been a limited number of investigations carried out on humans, scientists have observed the effects of clover oil in other animals.
And they noticed that it resulted in reduced inflammation and improved liver efficiency. Moreover, another research project even suggested eugenol may undo damage caused by cirrhosis.
Germs are everywhere. They can come into contact with them through interacting with your pets and other humans, for example.
And you might also pick them up through commonly shared objects such as public door handles, handrails, shopping carts or ATMs. However, if your immune system is strong, your defence against infections and diseases will be too.
A healthy diet can help strengthen the immune system. And, according to creativity website BrightSide, cloves can play a big part in that.
You see, cloves have a large amount of vitamin C inside them, which increases the production of the white blood cells that are essential to battling diseases.
Nowadays, kids are often encouraged to consume foods that help their bones to develop. However, bone health is something that should be maintained in adult life, too.
You see, as people grow older, from around their early 30s onwards, bones gradually become weaker. Cloves, then, can help maintain their robustness.
Cloves, you see, are packed full of nutrients that improve bone condition. As well as the aforementioned eugenol, the spice also contains manganese and flavonoids, all of which help to encourage bone growth.
Not only that, but they also act as transporters for other minerals in the body.
The gut is a breeding ground for certain types of bacteria, even if its host is in good health. E.
coli, for instance, inhabits the innards of many healthy creatures, including humans. In the majority of cases, it won’t cause any problems. The more virulent varieties, however, are liable to make the carrier very ill.
Experts from Argentina’s University of Buenos Aires studied the effects of cloves on such bacteria. They observed how staphylococcus – an infection that typically affects the skin – and E.
coli reacted to clove oil. What they discovered was that the cells of the bacteria altered, causing the presence of infection to noticeably reduce.
When the body digests food, it produces cells called free radicals. They are unnecessary and need to be expelled, as they can cause a harmful state known as called oxidative stress.
Moreover, if there are too many in your body, illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can occur.
Cloves, however, are the best defense against free radicals. You see, they contain more polyphenols – an antioxidant-rich micronutrient – than any other food.
When absorbed into the body, polyphenols are capable of increasing artery health, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, and generally allowing us to lead longer lives.
Levels of blood sugar fluctuate after a meal. For instance, carbohydrates are digested into sugars, which then make their way around the body.
When this happens, the pancreas will emit insulin to help process the sugar. That in turn lowers the amount of blood sugar in the body. Mild reactions to sudden drops in blood sugar include hunger and lethargy. And in more serious cases, diabetes can occur.
A diet containing few carbohydrates can help maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. In addition, it’s thought that consuming cloves can also help.
You see, the nutrients in cloves behave in the same way insulin does. This means they can assist with maintaining stable levels of blood sugar.
Blood clots usually appear as the body’s natural defense against cuts and so forth. They occur when the blood tissue thickens to stem the loss of blood.
When the cut has healed, typically the clots will dissolve and blood returns to its natural density. However, if clots remain and start moving through the bloodstream, arteries can become blocked.
But, the magic ingredient in cloves – eugenol – has been found to ease the rate at which blood clots. However, given the necessity of clotting under some circumstances, caution should be exercised before including more cloves into meals.
For instance, if you’re taking any medications designed to ease clotting, check with a medical expert first.
Cloves may not look like much, but they pack numerous nutrients into a small bud. As little as a teaspoon of ground cloves, for instance, provides a gram of carbohydrates and fiber, and almost one third of the recommended daily intake of manganese.
They contain various vitamins as well.
Fiber is, of course, essential to healthy bowel movements, while vitamin C can help build up the immune system. Moreover, the manganese found in cloves helps keep your brain sharp as well as strengthening bones.
Other nutrients can be found, too, including calcium for basic bodily functions, as well as vitamin E and magnesium for healthy cells.
In fact, studies suggest that some nutrients contained in cloves may help to ward off cancer. Researchers observed in a test tube study that the compounds that make up cloves halted the development of tumors, while also killing off cancerous cells.
Separate research supported this theory when clove oil killed off more than three-quarters of cells that form esophagus cancer.
Cloves’ cancer-fighting properties are again linked to eugenol. Indeed, further testing showed the compound playing a role in the destruction of cancer cells in the cervix as well.
However, it should be noted that these studies involved using eugenol, clove oil and clove extracts in very concentrated forms. And if humans were to consume such high doses of these compounds, it could cause severe complications such as liver damage.
As mentioned earlier, cloves are shown to have antibacterial properties in the gut. And those effects apply elsewhere in the body, too.
For instance, not only can cloves help relieve the pain of toothache, but they might also help kill the bacteria that can form in the mouth, making cloves effective for oral health.
Researchers at Belgium’s K.U. Leuven University observed the effects of a natural herbal mouthwash containing cloves.
When combined with tea tree oil and basil, the homemade recipe was effective in fighting plaque and bacteria. What’s more, improvements were noted after only three weeks of use.
Studies suggest that cloves may also be effective in treating stomach ulcers as well. These form when the stomach’s defenses against the acids used to break down food is no longer effective.
Ulcers affect the stomach lining, esophagus and first part of the small intestine, and they can be painful. Clove oil, however, may help.
In a study undertaken on animals, the oil from cloves was observed to stimulate gastric mucus production. This substance creates a barrier between the lining of the stomach and the acids that break down food, therefore preventing ulcers.
Separate research also suggested that the nutrients from cloves were effective in fighting stomach ulcers.
When you’re feeling hungry, your stomach can sometimes produce a growling sound. Well, that noise actually happens all the time as your small intestine breaks down the food in tour stomach.
It’s just that sometimes air gets mixed in with the food, only you won’t necessarily hear it. When your stomach is empty, however, the noises are louder. And if you’re embarrassed by those sounds, cloves might help.
You see, the fiber contained in cloves can help to suppress any grumbling while you’re waiting for lunchtime to roll around. As nutritionist Amy Gorin explained to health website Well And Good in February 2019, “For a spice, cloves have an impressive amount of fiber – a nutrient that can help regulate your hunger levels.
One teaspoon of cloves alone provides close to a gram of fiber.”
Headaches can have many causes, from stress to dehydration. For instance, pain can be the result of illnesses such as the common cold or flu.
You might have headaches as the result of eye problems, or, for women, the menopause or menstrual cycle. But, whatever the cause, cloves might help alleviate the pain.
Indeed, it’s easy to treat headaches using a simple recipe containing cloves. First, grind up a few clove buds into a paste and add a small pinch of rock salt.
Add the mixture to a glass of milk and drink it. The anesthetic qualities of cloves will soon help to alleviate the pain. In fact, according to Indian news outlet NDTV’s food channel, even the aroma of cloves will offer some relief.
It’s evident, then, that there are many health benefits to incorporating cloves into your diet. However, as is true for anything, too much of a good thing can have unwanted consequences.
“I would actually recommend speaking with your doctor or medical team before adding cloves in medicinal doses and/or clove oil to your diet,” Gorin explained. “There can be potential risks to consuming larger amounts of cloves.”
“Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid taking clove oil or cloves in medicinal doses. In children, clove oil may cause seizures, liver damage, or fluid imbalances,” Gorin continued.
“And because clove oil contains eugenol, which may slow blood clotting, people should avoid clove oil or cloves in medicinal doses at least two weeks before surgery, and people with bleeding disorders should avoid it completely. Also, the application of clove oil in the mouth or gums may cause damage to the mouth.”
Cloves don’t necessarily play well with others, which means you should be cautious if you’ve taken standard painkillers. “There may also be interactions with clove oil/medicinal doses of cloves with medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and warfarin,” Gorin said.
“So I’d recommend speaking with your doctor before adding a high amount of cloves to your diet.”
Nonetheless, cloves are OK in moderation. “If you make a batch of muffins with cloves in them and have a couple, you should be fine,” Gorin clarified.
It’s when the spice is consumed excessively that issues may begin to arise. Guidelines on safe amounts of cloves have yet to be defined. As a result, if you’re worried about anything, consult a health professional.
Sometimes our D.N.A. can be adversely affected by mutagens.
These are compounds that can alter the structure of D.N.A. and cause abnormalities. Now, phenylpropanoids are a compound found widely across the plant kingdom. They help to build cell walls, as well as protecting against damage from U.V. radiation and strong light. And they also play a role in humans.
Furthermore, cloves are packed with phenylpropanoids. Research has been carried out studying the effects of this compound on D.N.A.
According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the results showed that cells affected by mutagens displayed significant resistance to their mutagenic effects when treated with phenylpropanoids.
An aphrodisiac is a substance that arouses desire or enhances sexual experiences. While drugs can sometimes be used to achieve these results, such effects can also be produced by natural sources such as herbs and spices.
Moreover, cloves are among the spices believed to have libido-boosting qualities.
For many centuries, spices such as nutmeg and cloves have been used to boost sexual urges. For example, Unani medicine – an ancient Greek practice adopted in India that uses natural remedies – supports this claim.
Furthermore, tests have shown that the nutrients in nutmeg and cloves have similar effects to synthetic drugs made for the purpose of increasing sexual pleasure.
And cloves aren't the only spice taking the health world by storm. In 2018, turmeric goods brought in close to $330 million across America.
That’s a rise of more than 600 percent since 2008, as reported by Nutrition Business Journal in 2019. And with Google searches of “turmeric” rising by three-quarters since 2012, word of the vibrant spice has spread like wildfire. Turmeric now fills the Instagram feeds of foodies and health fanatics and colors — or stains — the counters in many of our households.
Yes, the gingery spice is far from the modest base to a chicken curry that it once was. Turmeric has even migrated into recipes of nearly all food groups.
Tuck into almost any meal at the moment — be it a juice, a soup or a salad — and turmeric could be in there warming its flavor and color palate. The spice is commonplace in health food stores, too.
But why has turmeric become so popular? Well, part of the reason is that scientists have published more and more research into its effects on human health. And, as it turns out, turmeric could well spice up more than just your Saturday-night curry.
That’s because there are strange and unexpected health benefits hiding behind the spice’s lurid hue.
You see, there’s a chemical compound inside turmeric called curcumin. And scientists think this could be responsible for far more than just the spice’s garish color.
In fact, curcumin proved to be useful in protecting against a range of chronic conditions. So the more we understand the spice itself, the better we comprehend how turmeric can help people battle these common diseases.
In its less-familiar fresh root form, turmeric’s stem — or rhizome — looks like its close relative ginger. A rough surface protects the root’s bitter, orange flesh that, like ginger, is sure to pack a punch when it comes to flavor.
But you’re probably more accustomed to the spice as the dried, burnt-orange powder that chefs commonly dust into sauces and rub onto meats.
Historically, though, Europeans have been tucking into turmeric since travelers returned from Asia with it during the 1300s. And in India – the spice’s largest producer – turmeric has been giving Buddhist robes their burnt-saffron tinge for centuries.
Traces of turmeric from 2500 B.C. have even been found close to the nation’s capital, New Delhi. So the naturally occurring garment dye has been coloring our clothes as much as our curries.
On its native Indian subcontinent, though, people use this significant spice for far more than its color or taste. For Hindus, then, turmeric brightens not only your clothes, but also your future.
You see, Hindus consider the spice divine. That’s why they use a turmeric blend to color the string that hangs around a bride’s neck. Called a mangala sutra, the object signifies marriage, much like the ring in Western traditions. And in some parts of India, wearing the root is thought to ward off malevolent forces.
Yet turmeric is not only used in cultural traditions and superstitions. The spice has also found its place in medicinal treatments.
For some 2,500 years, the spice has been a key ingredient in Ayurveda — an ancient Indian approach to healing still practiced today. Adherents believe that breathing in the vapors of burning turmeric can relieve congestion, for example. Plus, a pulverized form of the spice will apparently heal bruises and blemishes left over from skin disorders such as shingles and smallpox.
It seems that Western consumers are starting to catch on to turmeric’s medicinal potential, too. You see, taking a closer look at the curcumin contained within the spice, scientists have suggested that turmeric can provide more than just flavor.
And it’s because of this exciting compound that turmeric took off in the wellness community. The Daily Mail even claimed the popular health trend as “nature’s wonder drug.”
Spilling out from kitchen cupboards into pharmaceutical boxes, the ground spice — also sold as a capsule — has been promoted as everything from a staple curry seasoning to a superfood giant. Restaurateurs even turned to turmeric-infused menus to give their foods a health boost.
In 2018 The Independent also dubbed it the “latte flavor of the moment” — and perhaps you treated yourself to the infamous turmeric-spiced latte that Starbucks brought out in 2017.
But, whatever the form, the copper-colored compound continues to sell for the way it can help many conditions. So it wasn’t just 2017 that was “the year of turmeric,” as the website Refinery29 suggested.
What’s all the fuss about, you ask? Well, just an ounce of the ground spice can give you 16 percent of your daily iron requirement — and more than a quarter of the manganese you need. And that’s not all. The bronzed spice also boasts a whole host of other health benefits that you may not have heard about.
For one, it’s a potent anti-inflammatory. In a 2018 interview, expert dietician Nichola Ludlam-Raine told The Independent that “turmeric contains curcumin, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” Ludlam-Raine said this compound reduces the number of our white blood cells’ inflammatory proteins that often cause pain.
And the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health suggests some studies show that the spice can suppress knee pain just as well as ibuprofen.
Turmeric might not just beat ibuprofen when it comes to those occasional aches and pains, either. After looking into hundreds of studies, leading ethnobotanist – that’s an expert on the practical applications of plants, if you didn’t know — Dr.
James Duke found that the spice outclassed many pharmaceutical alternatives when it came to fighting off numerous medical conditions. And his conclusions attributed this primarily to the compound’s anti-inflammatory capacities.
“Evidence is accumulating that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a promising disease-preventative agent,” the 2007 edition of Alternative & Complementary Therapies — which published Dr. Duke’s study — reported.
This was “probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory action.” That’s because chronic inflammation is crucial to the development of some common conditions, from heart disease to diabetes. Plus, curcumin can protect the body from insulin resistance and help blood sugar to return to a healthy level.
Curcumin may also be able to stifle the evolution of cancerous tumors. Researchers at the American Cancer Society have said that curcumin “interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread,” according to the Power of Positivity website.
As it contains this compound, then, turmeric could potentially shrink or stop the expansion of cancerous growths.
In fact, turmeric’s performance in the treatment of many different types of cancer — including prostate, mammary, colon, and oral — in animals compared favorably to its pharmaceutical alternatives. And it seems it’s not just tumors that turmeric can take on.
The spice might protect your ticker, too.
You see, by improving blood flow and circulation, curcumin can act as an antiplatelet agent and can lower the build-up of plaque or LDL cholesterol — that’s the bad stuff — inside your arteries. The spice could even help diminish the risk of heart disease and defend against future cardiac arrests.
So this super-spice fights diseases as well as tasteless food. But that’s not all.
Curcumin can provide a solution to troublesome skin. In fact, turmeric’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties target redness and reduce the proliferation of bacteria.
It could well reduce your chances of waking up with a terrifying whitehead, too — or at least stop existing ones from getting any worse. So, we’ve seen that consuming turmeric can benefit your health. But who says you have to eat it?
Looking at its intense orange tinge, you might not immediately have thought about lathering your whole face in turmeric. But the spice’s properties could well make it an effective anti-acne cleanser.
For best results — and to avoid staining your skin any more orange than your foundation already does — combine with apple cider vinegar and let the curcumin get to work on closing those pores. And at less than $2 a jar, turmeric would make a pretty cheap toner.
Turmeric can also tend to those dark circles around your eyes while it’s there. Los Angeles-based skincare specialist Courtney Chiusano told Eve in October 2018 that turmeric “stimulates circulation, which can help reduce puffiness and under-eye darkness caused by poor circulation.” Add spice to your skin and self-care routines, then, and you might just see big improvements to your complexion..
And better yet, the spice could well soothe the painful symptoms of the period that is likely behind many of these skin problems. You see, researchers found that turmeric could tame the mental and physical effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
In a study that appeared in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, a sample of 70 premenopausal females took two daily pills of curcumin for the week preceding, and the three days following, their periods.
Researchers then compared these women to participants who received only a placebo drug. And after just three cycles, the mental and physical effects of PMS were significantly less in the participants consuming curcumin.
As a result, researchers concluded that around 200 milligrams of the compound could work wonders for women approaching their periods. So, it looks like you can continue gorging on those curries when it’s your time of the month after all.
But turmeric isn’t just for health-conscious youths who spend their days in hippy eateries and street-side juice bars. No, curcumin can also apparently tackle many age-associated disorders — from glaucoma to dementia.
According to some, in fact, many old-age conditions may well require age-old remedies – and timeless turmeric could be just the trick.
Arthritis is yet another disease that’s caused by chronic inflammation — though this time at the joints. But turmeric’s anti-inflammatory capacity could make it a powerful treatment.
A 2017 study took 40 participants experiencing mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis symptoms and gave some of them 500mg of curcumoid and the others a placebo drug. Compared to the placebo group, the participants taking a supplement of curcumin every day for six weeks notably improved in terms of physical functioning and pain levels.
And while there may have been no effect on the stiffness of the arthritis sufferers in the study, curcumin could at least alleviate their pain. Yes, after reviewing a collection of similar studies, researchers Sunmin Park, James W.
Daily and Mini Yang recommended the spice in the treatment of arthritis. They stated that their 2016 meta-analysis “provided scientific evidence that 8–12 weeks of standardized turmeric extracts... treatment can reduce arthritis symptoms (mainly pain and inflammation-related symptoms) and result in similar improvements in the symptoms as ibuprofen.”
The research paper continued, “Therefore, turmeric extracts and curcumin can be recommended for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.” So if you know of any anyone with some tender joints that might need soothing, encouraging them to incorporate turmeric into their health regime might just ease the pain. And, as this study seems to show, it might even be as effective as the everyday ibuprofen that they’re depending on anyway..
This burnt-orange spice is a possible remedy for back pain, breast tumors, blood issues, and even upset bowels, too. Perhaps most intriguingly, though, it may also improve the human brain’s functioning.
You see, scientists are trying to ascertain if you can use turmeric to treat neurological disorders that develop through inflammation — although this time in the brain instead of the joints.
Take Alzheimer’s, for example. Dementia’s most frequent root, this is a disease closely associated with chronic inflammation.
So it could make sense that curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory, may combat the development of the disorder. Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert told The Independent that “studies where turmeric was consumed have found that curcumin can improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Studies have shown that curcumin can obstruct the growth of the brain plaques — known as beta-amyloid proteins — associated with Alzheimer’s. By damaging the synapses that allow our nerves to pass along signals, beta-amyloids are thought to be behind the decreased brain functioning and memory decline that the disease is well-known for..
However, there’s still a lack of evidence proving that turmeric can prevent Alzheimer’s. But scientists are nonetheless looking into the possibility of using the spice in both the treatment and the diagnosis of the disease.
You see, where curcumin binds to beta-amyloid proteins, researchers think in certain circumstances curcumin could well illuminate the presence of these Alzheimer’s-associated proteins.
This exciting compound could also one day be used to help professionals identify diseases that are as tricky to diagnose — and fast to develop — as Alzheimer’s. For example, scientists are looking at the possibility of incorporating turmeric into the treatment of mental-health disorders thought to develop through chronic inflammation of the brain, such as depression and anxiety..
Depression is particularly difficult to diagnose. It is, after all, a condition featuring many invisible symptoms that can stop those suffering from the disorder from seeking medical attention.
It’s important, then, that the treatment available is as effective as possible. So, where it can curb chronic inflammation in the brain, curcumin — like other antioxidants — could well calm the symptoms of depression.
Some studies state that turmeric can reduce depressive symptoms when administered as a stand-alone treatment – particularly when combined with fellow spice saffron. Yet others suggest that curcumin therapy is more successful when combined with well-established antidepressants.
Either way, though, researchers are beginning to trial vibrant turmeric for its ability to brighten our moods as much as our foods.
And given that since 2013 cases of major depression in the U.S. have increased by one-third, this research is reassuring.
So, as a potentially powerful protector of not only our physical but also our mental health, it’s clear why turmeric is being worked into well-being regimes and dietary routines everywhere. Remember, though, that most of the impressive health benefits detailed here come from the curcumin found inside turmeric.
And the exciting curcumin compound constitutes around only 3 percent of the spice itself. So it’s estimated that a daily dose of more than 20 500mg tablets of curcumin would be required to reap rewards.
Imperial College London’s Dr. Francessca Cordeiro told CNN in 2018 that actually “in a curry, there’s only 700 milligrams of turmeric, [so] you’d need to eat 200 curries a day to get that therapeutic level.” Now, that’s a lot of curries.
On top of this, the human body finds it difficult to process curcumin. So, even if you were to gorge on hundreds of curries, you wouldn’t be taking in all that much of the good stuff anyway.
You’ll probably face a much higher chance of harvesting those health benefits by starting your day with a curcumin capsule rather than a turmeric-infused latte, too.
And while these sorts of supplements can, as we’ve seen, prove just as effective as your everyday painkiller, they don’t come without their small print of side effects. If an effective curcumin dosage involves taking as many as 24 500mg tablets daily, then, your chances of suffering from some of their gastrointestinal side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea will likely be quite high..
Nevertheless, as the spice continues to prove that its aromas can alleviate more than just bland flavors, more and more research into the medicinal properties of the plant is appearing. “It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in cooking, although it is definitely a welcome addition to anyone’s diet,” Lambert said..