Cloves are some of the most common buds available in our kitchen, Known as Karafuu or Mkarafuu in Swahili, thanks to a combination of Swahili food culture and Asian food culture influences; with both having cloves as one amongst the most commonly used of the food spices.
Although generally known as native to the Maluku Islands (or Moluccas) in Indonesia, they are also found in India, Sri-lanka, Pakistan and in some areas in East Africa. They have also spread out and are now found in many different parts of the world; commonly used as a spice, and are available throughout the year owing to different harvest seasons in different countries.
Cloves can be used in culinary, aromatherapy, and have for centuries, across different societies been used in traditional medicinal practices. The entire clove plant is fragrant and aromatic but it’s the bud that is the most important and most-used part of the plant. Even the name of the plant stems from the shape of the nail-shaped bud. The name clove is derived from the term ‘clavus’ a Latin term for a nail. Cloves are found in the market in different forms, including, as whole clove buds, ground or powder form, and oil.
Cloves are used in African, Indian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, to add flavor to meats, in marinades, curries and also to give aromatic and flavor qualities in hot beverages such as black tea. They are a common ingredient in spice blends, and I love using them in preparation of pilau rice. I also use them, as an ingredient in smoothies and juices too. The secret is to know just the right amount to use when preparing the smoothies and the juices.
Cloves have a high nutrient content and therefore many health benefits. They contain calcium, phosphorous, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, sodium and potassium. Clove oil is frequently used for dental care as a gargle or to relieve pain and mouth sores. Clove oil also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties therefore it can be used for cuts, bruises, acne, fungal infections and insect bites.
Cloves contain a variety of flavonoids (antioxidants). The main two are kaempferol and rhamnetin. Another primary nutrient component is Eugenol which functions as a strong anti-inflammatory. Ground cloves are classified as a nutrient dense food source, putting it in the antioxidant rich super food category.
Eugenol is an anesthetic benefit of clove, and is used for toothache, sore throat and gum pain. This active ingredient is used in some mouth washes, and sore throat treatments because of its germicidal and antiseptic benefits. Eugenol is specifically known to help improve dental health, and is used in toothpastes and dental antiseptics.
Cloves promote the flow of enzymes in the stomach which can help speed digestion, increase metabolism and ease flatulence. Cloves have also been traditionally used to stop vomiting. Cloves are antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic. This makes them ideal as a daily immune boosting supplement.
Cloves can also be used to relieve joint pain due to their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The oil can reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain, muscle aches, and arthritis pain. Being rich in calcium, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron, clove oil helps preserve bone density and add to its tensile strength: Thus, by preventing bone decay which is the main cause of osteoporosis, cloves can go a long way in curbing joint pain and bone fractures.
Use a little clove oil mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil to massage painful joints, sore muscles, and parts of the body affected by arthritis and rheumatism. Do this several times a day. Another option is to roast a few cloves, wrap them in a soft cloth, and place the pouch on the affected body part while it is still warm until your pain subsides.
Both cloves and clove oil have been found to be very effective for the respiratory system due to their expectorant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, thus improve respiratory condition distress and in addition, also strengthen the mind and memory, it is recommended that every morning you take three cloves and crush them in a bowl. Then smell the aroma. This will boost your cognitive skills.
As we always remind you, this content is educational and informative and should not be construed as medical advice. Follow this link it will lead you to a spices blend with cloves in it.
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