Like many natural products, cloves are more versatile and useful than they seem at first blush. Here are three reasons to keep them handy year-round.
1. Cloves are rich with nutrients
For such a small spice, cloves pack quite a health punch. They are rich in vitamins, iron and calcium. They are also bursting with manganese, which is important in building healthy bones and skin. It also helps to control blood sugar levels.
As if that weren’t reason enough to use cloves whenever possible, its oxygen radical absorption rating is startlingly high. Researchers at Miguel Hernandez University ranked cloves as the best natural antioxidant among five healthy herbs tested. This is due to its high concentration of polyphenols, which prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc on tissue and DNA. Polyphenols have also been tentatively linked to lower levels of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
2. Cloves have medicinal qualities
The nutrients and polyphenols are great for maintaining health, but what if you’re already sick? Depending on the illness, cloves might be able to aid in your recovery. People turn to cloves as a remedy for many ailments:
- As a quick fix for not-so-great breath, chew on clove buds. You’ll also be fighting the bacteria that often causes bad breath in the first place. It’s a win-win.
- For a cold, try a tea that includes a healthy dose of cloves. Cardamom tea is a good choice.
- For relief from a sore throat, try chewing on a clove bud. It’s antiseptic properties should have you feeling better quickly.
- There are many different varieties of clove-based headache pastes to be used as a muscle rub around the temples. Give one a try!
3. Cloves can replace products traditionally made with harsh chemicals
In addition to being packed full of healthy goodness and medicinal properties, cloves have a wide variety of practical uses, too. Give these ideas a try:
- Cloves can work as an all-natural antiseptic on a cut or sore. Either dilute clove oil in distilled water or mix ground clove with honey to get an antiseptic paste.
- A simple mixture of ground cloves, honey and fresh lemon juice can leave your skin feeling clean and clear without the heavy chemicals in many over-the-counter face washes.
- Avoid the chemicals in cleaning products by using cloves to fight mold. Mix a teaspoon of clove oil into a bottle of distilled water and apply liberally. The clove’s antiseptic properties will keep your kitchen and bathroom mold-free.
- Sore gums? Cloves are an important ingredient in dental anesthetics. A few drops of diluted clove oil can do wonders. Alternatively, chew on whole roasted cloves.
- To keep the bugs at bay, fill a spray bottle with 50 percent distilled water, 50 percent witch hazel and 60 drops of clove oil. That should do the trick.
— Erin Wildermuth