Cloves And Their Healing Powers

Cloves traditionally belong in almost every gingerbread and punch recipe. They refine many a sauce, but also vegetable dishes and pastries. In the case of toothache, the clove relieves the pain and since the spice is considered one of the most powerful antioxidants, it can be used to strengthen the body’s immune system.

Cloves are dried flower buds

The clove originally comes from the Moluccas, an Indonesian group of islands in the Pacific Ocean that were once known as the “Spice Islands”. Although cloves and spice mixtures containing cloves are preferred in Indian cuisine, the small dried flower bud of the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum) is now used worldwide as a kitchen spice.

Recipes with cloves

You can season many dishes with cloves. They go well with soups, sauces, marinades, vegetable dishes (especially red cabbage dishes, such as our aromatic red cabbage salad with apple), drinks such as mulled wine and fruit punch, as well as many cakes and dessert recipes, especially gingerbread, of course.

Cloves as a natural remedy

The clove is also an important remedy in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Chinese doctors prescribed them as early as the 3rd century BC.

In 2010, the clove tree made it into a medicinal plant of the year. Rightly so, as studies at the Miguel Hernandez University in Elche, Spain, have shown. There, scientists found that cloves are among the most powerful known natural antioxidants. The study examined five properties typical of antioxidants. The clove scored well above average in all of them.

The Spanish scientists found that cloves are high in phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticoagulant properties. Antioxidants protect cell membranes from harmful free radicals, preventing tissue damage and chronic disease.

Cloves for toothache

In herbal medicine, the clove is particularly well-known as a home remedy for toothache, because the aromatic plant contains substances with pain-relieving properties (3). To do this, place one or two cloves on the aching tooth and bite on it. If this is not possible, place the cloves next to the tooth. You keep the cloves in your mouth until they almost dissolve. Then they are spat out, but can also be swallowed.

Cloves as an anesthetic in dentistry

How well cloves can numb the pain was also shown in an Indian study with 60 children aged 9 to 10 who needed dental treatment. To prevent the children from feeling the injection, a local anesthetic was to be applied to the appropriate area beforehand. The study examined which method was better: pre-cooling with ice, clove-papaya gel (the name of the preparation was not given), and benzocaine gel (a common local anesthetic). The clove preparation performed almost as well as the benzocaine gel and was thus classified by the researchers as a strong topical anesthetic.

However, while benzocaine often leads to allergies (in Germany at least 10 percent of people are affected), this is not the case with cloves. The Food and Drug Administration has also banned benzocaine for use in the mouth of children under the age of 2 years because it can lead to increased concentrations of methemoglobin (a component of red blood cells), which can end fatally. The search for an alternative is therefore particularly important for children.

A Kuwait study also confirmed that clove preparations can be used as anesthetics. To do this, 73 subjects were given a clove gel, a benzocaine gel (20 percent), a placebo resembling cloves, or a placebo resembling benzocaine. The clove gel had the same anesthetic effect as benzocaine and can therefore completely replace benzocaine as an anesthetic, according to the researchers involved.

Holistic dentists occasionally use clove gel. It is best to ask your dentist if he has heard of it. In addition, a plant tooth gel (Osa) is commercially available, which i.a. Contains eugenol (the main active ingredient in cloves). It reduces the pain in small children when the first teeth come.

Clove extract against hangovers

When alcohol is broken down in the body, the cell toxin acetaldehyde is produced, which not only leads to the dreaded hangover the day after but has also been proven to lead to inflammation and liver damage, promotes cancer, and damages the genetic material. The best solution here is of course: do not to drink alcohol. The second-best solution (for exceptional cases) measures that speed up the breakdown of acetaldehyde, which includes clove.

In 2018, a double-blind study was conducted on this topic involving 16 men with a blood alcohol level of 1 per thousand who received either a placebo or 250 mg of clove extract (clovinol). In the carnation group, acetaldehyde was eliminated from the blood much more quickly and the alcohol-related oxidative stress was also significantly reduced. The severity of the hangover was reduced by more than 55 percent in this way.

Cloves for the stomach and intestines

The aroma of cloves is mainly determined by the ingredient eugenol, which has antiseptic (germ-killing) properties, among other things. Due to this strong disinfecting effect, cloves can also be used to treat inflammation, for example, caused by Helicobacter colonization of the stomach.

In addition, according to a study conducted in 2019 with 66 patients, caryophyllene (phytochemicals contained in the essential oil of cloves, marjoram, thyme, sage, and eucalyptus, among others) are able to significantly relieve nausea and pain caused by the Stomach germ Helicobacter pylori are caused. The researchers consider these substances to be effective means of alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases.

Cloves against intestinal parasites

Many believe that parasites in humans are a bygone phenomenon. But far from it! Because a third of humanity has been shown to be infected with one or more worm parasites. In addition, there is a high number of unreported cases, because the parasite infestation is often not even recognized and the parasites are difficult to prove.

In earlier times, people were aware of the danger posed by parasites, which is why there are many traditional remedies against them. These include e.g. B. the wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.), the black walnut (Juglans nigra), and also the clove.

Exactly these remedies were recommended, for example, by the physiologist and zoologist Dr. Hulda Clark to use in the form of her parasite cleanse. The parasite cure according to Dr. For example, Hulda Clark can be bought in online stores. The clove is usually contained in capsule form.

You can also make your own clove tincture by following these instructions. You need 200 g of cloves per liter of alcohol (e.g. 40 percent vodka).

In the course of Clark’s parasite cleanse, psyllium husk powder is a good helper for thoroughly cleaning the intestines. Take 1 level teaspoon of psyllium husk powder twice a day 30 to 60 minutes before a meal and drink a large glass of water (250 – 400 ml – better than too little). See the previous link for more tips on eliminating intestinal parasites.

Clove Essential Oil

Clove essential oil is also used in aromatherapy and naturopathy. This is used externally to relieve pain and promote healing.

The main components of the essential oil include phytochemicals such as carvacrol, thymol, eugenol, and cinnamaldehyde. According to a Tunisian study, the essential oil of clove has a. antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, insect repellent, and anesthetic numbing/analgesia.

Since essential clove oil can lead to spasms of the larynx and breathing disorders in infants and small children, internal use should be avoided. Adults can take the oil diluted. It is recommended to put in a glass of water and drink no more than one drop per day. Because clove oil can induce labor, it should not be used during pregnancy.

Cloves against fungi, viruses, and bacteria

Cloves are often used in folk medicine to naturally combat fungi, viruses, and bacteria, e.g. B. against Candida (yeast) or Aspergillus (mold). After all, laboratory studies have already shown that clove oil applied externally has an effect on vaginal thrush infections, hepatitis C, and herpes simplex viruses.

Another study was able to prove the effect of clove oil against the acne bacterium (Propionibacterium acnes). Applied externally, clove oil is therefore considered a natural weapon against bacterial acne.

While self-medication should be avoided for diseases such as hepatitis C and vaginal thrush, especially since there are no studies on humans, an attempt can be made with essential clove oil for herpes and acne. You can put 1 to 2 drops undiluted on a cotton swab and dab the affected skin.

The clove is also a well-known bad breath killer that is used in toothpaste and other oral hygiene products. The antibacterial active ingredients in the clove significantly reduce the odor-causing putrefactive bacteria in the mouth and thus contribute to better breath. The essential oil of clove can therefore also be used for gargling. Simply add 2 drops of the oil to a small glass of water and rinse your mouth with it. You can also simply chew on a clove to combat bad breath.

Clove oil effectively protects against mosquito bites

Chemicals are often used to control mosquitoes, which can harm the environment, other insects such as bees and bumblebees, birds and fish, and humans themselves. It is much better to set up an aroma lamp with clove oil (5 drops are enough) in the room, preferably near the window.

When applied externally, clove oil is also wonderful as a protection against mosquito bites and thus also for the prevention of diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Researchers from Bangkok’s Mahidol University tested the mosquito-repellent activity of 38 essential oils — including clove oil and lemongrass oil — on human subjects against 3 mosquito species. 0.1 ml of the respective essential oil per 30 cm² of exposed skin was applied to the forearm.

The oils were used in a concentration of 10 and 50 percent as well as undiluted. The undiluted oils showed the highest protection. The clove oil proved to be the test winner. Undiluted clove oil showed a 100 percent repellency of up to 4 hours on all mosquito species, the 10 percent oil was effective for up to 2 hours.

However, undiluted essential clove oil should not be applied to large areas of the skin, as it is otherwise considered to be irritating to the skin. Therefore, to repel mosquitoes, it is best to mix 2 to 3 drops of clove oil with a carrier oil (e.g. coconut oil) and apply the mixture, for example to your arms. However, if the insect has already struck, you can very well put 1 drop of the undiluted oil on the bite site to prevent pain and inflammation.

Clove oil cream for anal fissures

Anal fissures – painful, elongated tears in the anal mucosa – are accompanied by severe stabbing pain and are extremely uncomfortable. The causes include excessive straining with hard stool and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. It is usually an acute anal fissure that can be treated well with ointments. However, if the condition is chronic, surgery may be necessary, although this leads to fecal incontinence in up to 30 percent of patients.

Lidocaine cream is often used in the treatment of anal fissures, which, paradoxically, very often causes itching and burning in the anal area. Stool softeners are also often prescribed for anal fissures to ease bowel movements. However, stool softeners can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Researchers from the Mansoura University Hospital in Egypt studied a total of 55 patients to see whether a 1% clove oil cream could possibly replace the two drugs for anal fissures. It was shown that the clove oil cream led to a healing of the anal fissure in 60 percent of the patients after 3 months. With the two drugs, this goal could only be achieved in 12 percent.

The clove oil cream was specially made for the study described. You may be able to have the cream prepared at a pharmacy. The information on the cream from the study is as follows: 1 percent of the clove oil was stirred into a cream base consisting of 10 g beeswax, 10 g stearic acid, 30 g liquid paraffin, 2 g triethanolamine (an emulsifier and pH stabilizer ) and water, which was filled up to 100 g with water. Triethanolamine is considered questionable, so you should ask the pharmacy about alternatives.

Clove oil improves the sense of smell in Parkinson’s disease

In 75 percent of people who suffer from Parkinson’s, the sense of smell decreases as the disease progresses. This symptom still cannot be treated with medication. 70 people affected took part in a study by the Technical University of Dresden. 35 patients underwent smell training (olfactory training) and 35 subjects were assigned to the control group.

The smell training was carried out over a period of 12 weeks. Patients were exposed to 4 scents twice daily. These were the essential oils from cloves, roses, eucalyptus, and lemons. The subsequent olfactory tests showed that the patients experienced a significant increase in their olfactory function, while the situation in the control group did not change.

Cloves against loss of appetite

Many people suffer from a loss of appetite, which can have a variety of reasons, e.g. B. stress, alcohol abuse, smoking, too much coffee, medication such as painkillers (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or diseases such as gastritis and cancer. Inhalations of clove essential oil — best combined with cinnamon essential oil — may help reduce appetite, according to a 2020 study.

With cloves against diabetes

In 2019, Indian researchers looked at how an unspecified water-soluble clove extract (250 mg per day for 30 days) affected post-meal blood sugar levels in 13 subjects. Already after 12 days, it was shown that the blood sugar level could be lowered in all subjects.

The scientists stated that clove extract has therapeutic benefits in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels as it can increase insulin sensitivity. Clove extract may delay the development of type 2 diabetes.

In addition, there are already animal studies that have shown that clove extract may help treat type 2 diabetes in the future.

Grow your own cloves

The clove tree originally came from the Moluccas, an Indonesian archipelago. The tropical origin and the high demands on the location make it almost impossible to grow cloves in our region. Because the tree needs high temperatures all year round and a constantly high level of humidity.

If you have a heated conservatory, a heated greenhouse, or a bright living room, the clove tree can be cultivated in a bucket. Unfortunately, flowering is rare, which is why harvesting the buds and therefore the cloves are almost impossible. In summer – from June to the end of August – the tree can move outdoors if the location is protected and there are no strong temperature fluctuations.

It is also important to constantly water the clove tree without waterlogging. If the soil is too wet or too dry, the fine root system suffers considerably.

Cloves as a dietary supplement

Aside from whole cloves, essential oil, and tinctures, there is also powdered clove—usually packaged in capsules as a dietary supplement, which is also handy for those who dislike the taste of cloves.

When buying clove capsules, make sure that only clove powder is included. Additives or fillers are not necessary with these capsules and are therefore superfluous. The main active ingredient eugenol should ideally be over 75 percent.

The exact dosage can best be found in the recommendation of the respective manufacturer. In the case of the clove capsules mentioned above, e.g. B. recommended taking 3 x 1 capsule daily with a glass of water with a meal.

Due to a lack of data, concentrated clove products should not be used during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and in small children.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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