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Clove: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Ashok Pal +2 more

Introduction:

Clove is an unopened flower bud growing on a tree Syzgium aromaticum belonging to the family Myrtaceae. Cloves have a deep brown colour and a powerful fragrant odour that is warm, strongly sweet, pungent, and slightly astringent.1

Clove is known by several names like Laung, Lavang, Laumg in Hindi; Lavanga, Lavangaka, Lavangam, Bhadrasriya, Devakusuma, Haricandana, Devapuspa, Varala in Sanskrit; Luvang in Marathi; Lavang in Gujarati; Lavanga in Bengali; Laung in Punjabi; Labanga in Oriya; Laung, Loung in Urdu; Grampu, Karayampu, Karampu in Malayalam; Lavanga, Krambu; Daevakusuma in Kannada; Kaaravallu, Devakusumamu, Lavangalu, Lavangamu in Telugu; Kirampu, Kiraambu, Kirambu, Grambu, Ilavankam in Tamil.1

clove health benefits

Clove is considered the symbol of dignity and is a valuable and precious spice of the world. It is commonly used in garam masala, salads, pickles, and biryanis.1 Clove is mainly produced in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Madagascar. Clove may have several medicinal properties like antioxidant, pain-killing, anti-bacterial and anti-viral.2

Nutritional Value of Clove:

Clove contains the following nutrients:1

NutrientValue per 100 g
Carbohydrate61.21 g
Protein5.98 g
Fat20.07 g
Energy323 kcal
Fibre34.2 g
Calcium646 mg
Iron8.68 mg
Potassium1102 mg
Phosphorus105 mg
Magnesium264 mg
Sodium243 mg
Copper0.347 mg
Zinc1.09 mg
Selenium5.9 mcg
Manganese30.033 mg
Vitamin C80.8 mg
Riboflavin0.267 mg
Thiamine0.115 mg
Vitamin B60.590 mg
Niacin1.458 mg
Vitamin A530 IU
Vitamin E8.52 mg
Vitamin K141.8 mcg
Fatty acids, total saturated5.438 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated1.471 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated7.088 g
Table: depicting the nutritional value of clove1

Properties of Clove:

Clove may show the following properties,

  • It may show anti-bacterial property
  • It may show anti-inflammatory property
  • It may show carminative property (flatulence reliever)
  • It may enhance stomach acid production and improve the muscle contractions
  • It may show anti-fungal
  • It may show expectorant property to help discharge secretions and mucous in the respiratory tract.1

Also Read: Harad: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and more!

Potential Uses of Clove:

The potential uses of clove are given as follows.

Potential uses of clove for killing bacteria and fungi:

Clove was tested for antimicrobial activities against several fungi and bacteria strains. During lab trials, clove showed complete bacteria-killing activity against all foodborne pathogens, including E. coli, Bacillus cereus, and Staphylococcus aureus.2 Clove oil was found to be efficient against Staphylococcus species. Aspergillus niger (fungi) was highly sensitive to clove oil. Also, clove oil showed germicidal effect against Klebsiella Pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium perfringens, S. aureus, E. coli, and Candida albicans during a lab study. It was also found to kill Bacillus tuberculosis efficiently.1 The antimicrobial properties have been observed in lab studies. More trials are required to support clove against infectious diseases in humans. Therefore, do not use clove oil before consulting your healthcare provider. 

Potential uses of clove for liver:

The clove extract was tested for liver protective activity in an animal model. The clove extract restored the activity of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine transaminase, and alkaline phosphatase enzymes in serum and therefore showed liver protective activity.1 However, if you are experiencing any liver problems, consult your healthcare provider before using clove as a remedy.

Potential uses of clove for inflammation:

Clove oil (eugenol) may help clear the respiratory passages and act as an expectorant for managing several upper-respiratory diseases like bronchitis, cough, cold, asthma, and sinus conditions. Clove contains various flavonoids like β-caryophyllene, kaempferol, and rhamnetin that might contribute to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.3 You must talk to your healthcare provider before using clove or its oil for any inflammatory conditions.

Potential uses of clove as an antioxidant:

Clove and eugenol have shown strong antioxidant properties in trials. Clove has a high capacity to reduce lipid peroxidation and give off hydrogen.1 In the database of the United States Department of Agriculture, along with universities and private companies, it is indicated that clove has a higher content of polyphenols and other antioxidant compounds. Clove bud extract may be used as a food antioxidant.2 In some studies, it was observed that the kidney functions, liver functions, and antioxidant status were improved with clove use.3 Before using clove or any herb for its health benefits, you need to contact your healthcare provider and get a proper diagnosis.

Potential uses of clove as a painkiller:

The pain-killing effect of clove has been documented since the 13th century. Clove oil might be effective in dealing with joint pain, tooth pain, and spasmodic pain.2 Clove oil has been widely used as an analgesic (pain killer) agent in dental clinics as it can relieve toothache. It may suppress inflammatory mediators (leukotriene) and prostaglandin. Also, it is thought to suppress the sensory receptors responsible for signalling pain.3 You should use clove under the supervision of a healthcare provider or after a doctor’s consultation only.

Potential uses of clove for stomach-related conditions:

Clove oil helps deal with bloating and gas. In addition, clove oil may be an effective remedy for stomach-related conditions like motion sickness, nausea, hiccups, and vomiting.2,4 If you are suffering from any stomach problems, you should talk to your doctor to come up with a diagnosis. Using herbs or remedies without talking to your doctor can worsen the situation.

Potential uses of clove for brain-related conditions:

Clove oil is believed to stimulate the circulatory system, which might help manage insomnia, anxiety, memory loss, depression, fatigue, and mental exhaustion.4 Clove oil was tested for managing depression in an animal model. It was found to be helpful as it showed an anti-depressant effect.3 However, do not use clove oil as an alternative to medicinal treatment. If you are suffering from psychological distress, always talk to your doctor or psychiatrist.

Potential uses of clove for cancer:

Because of the potential antioxidant activity of clove, it is thought to have an anti-cancer effect. It was found to have anti-cancer activity against the skin, lungs, and digestive cancers. The anti-tumour action may be due to the presence of oleanic acid. Also, It has been reported to show anti-cancer activity against colorectal, breast, and leukaemia cancer cells.4 Large human-scale studies are required to support the use of clove against cancer in humans. Therefore, you are advised to adhere to the doctor’s treatment and advice for cancer.

Though there are studies showing the benefits of clove in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of clove on human health. 

Also Read: Pink Himalayan Salt: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions & More!

How to Use Clove?

Clove is used as:

  • A whole
  • Powder
  • Oil1

These are used in several dental products like toothpaste, dental creams, throat sprays, and mouthwashes.1

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking cloves or any herbal supplements. Likewise, do not discontinue or replace an ongoing modern medical treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

Side Effects of Clove:

The side effects associated with clove use are given below.

  • Clove’s side effects caused by smoking clove cigarettes include haemorrhagic pulmonary oedema, bronchitis, pneumonia, occupational allergic contact dermatitis, and central nervous system depression.5
  • Clove oil used in low doses may have side effects like rare allergic reactions, local irritation, and contact dermatitis.
  • Eating or exposure to a large amount can cause tissue injury and a syndrome of acute onset of seizures, damage to the liver and kidneys, and coma.6

Before using clove or any herb for its health benefits, talk to your healthcare provider about the possible side effects associated with its use. It will help you avoid unwanted side effects.

Precautions to Take with Clove:

Here are some general precautions you need to take while using cloves.

  • For children: Clove oil in higher doses is a cytotoxin (a substance that kills cells) and causes severe acute kidney or liver injury. Therefore, please take precautions before giving cloves to children.6
  • There is no sufficient data for its consumption during breastfeeding and pregnancy. Therefore, consult your doctor before consuming clove or clove-related products.

Also, before you use clove for any of its benefits on health, talk to your healthcare provider about the possible precautions and limitations of using clove. It will help you make well-informed choices.

Interactions With Other Drugs:

Clove may increase the risk of bleeding or enhance the effects of warfarin therapy.5

If you are taking medicines for any disease, talk to your doctor about the possible interactions of medication with other herbs and drugs. It will help you avoid unwanted herb-drug interactions.

Also Read: Safed Musli: Nutrition, Benefits, Precautions and More!

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) What is clove?

Clove is an unopened flower bud growing on a tree Syzgium aromaticum.1

2) Is clove useful for tooth pain?

Yes, clove oil is widely used as a pain-killer in dental clinics as it can relieve toothache.3 However, if you are experiencing tooth pain or dental problems, do reach out to your dentists for a check-up. Using herbal remedies without consulting your dentist first can worsen the condition.  

3) How to use clove?

Clove can be used in the form of powder or oil.1 You are advised to talk to a doctor before using cloves for their health effects. He will advise the exact dosage and form of the herb to be taken, as per your condition.

4) Is clove good for health?

Clove may be suitable for health as it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may manage stomach-related diseases (loose motions, flatulence, nausea, indigestion, vomiting, gastric irritability, diarrhoea), respiratory conditions (cold, cough, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma) and many more.1 But it must be consumed in the right amount. Its overdose can cause side effects too. Side effects include rare allergic reactions, local irritation, contact dermatitis, haemorrhagic pulmonary oedema, bronchitis, pneumonia, occupational allergic contact dermatitis, and central nervous system depression.5,6 Therefore, use clove after consulting with a qualified physician only.

5) Is clove good for the lungs?

Yes, clove might be good for the lungs. Its oil, when inhaled, may soothe cold, cough, bronchitis, sinusitis, and asthma. It may also clear the nasal passage.1 But lung problems can be severe, and you are advised to contact your healthcare provider and receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.

6) Does clove benefit in bloating?

Yes, it might help bloat. Clove oil might be an effective remedy for managing bloating and gas and helps lower the gas pressure in the stomach.4 It should be used after consulting a healthcare provider.

7) Is clove safe for children?

It is safe for children but in the right dose/amount. Clove oil in higher doses is a cytotoxin and causes severe acute kidney or liver injury in children. Therefore, please take precautions before giving cloves to children.6 Do not use cloves for any health issues in children unless recommended by the doctor.

Is clove safe for children?

It is safe for children but in the right dose/amount. Clove oil in higher doses is a cytotoxin and causes severe acute kidney or liver injury in children. Therefore, please take precautions before giving cloves to children.6 Do not use cloves for any health issues in children unless recommended by the doctor.

References:

1. Milind P, Deepa K. Clove: a Champion Spice. Int J Res Ayurveda Pharm [Internet]. 2011;2(1):47–54. Available from: www.ijrap.net .Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267402397_Clove_A_champion_spice

2. Cortés-Rojas DF, de Souza CRF, Oliveira WP. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): A precious spice. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014;4(2):90–6. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25182278/

3. Mittal M, Gupta N, Parashar P, Mehra V, Khatri M. Phytochemical evaluation and pharmacological activity of syzygium aromaticum: A comprehensive review. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2014;6(8):67–72. Available at: https://innovareacademics.in/journals/index.php/ijpps/article/view/2055

4. Saeed M, Khan MS, Alagawany M, Farag MR, Alqaisi O, Aqib AI, et al. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and its phytochemicals in ruminant feed: an updated review. Rend Lincei [Internet]. 2021;32(2):273–85. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-021-00985-3

5. Kaur J, Kaur S, Mahajan A. Herbal Medicines: Possible Risks and Benefits. Am J Phytomedicine Clin Ther [Internet]. 2013; Available from: https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/32535415/PA-400145-_12_-with-cover-page-v2.pdf

6. Eugenol (Clove Oil). LiverTox Clin Res Inf Drug-Induced Liver Inj [Internet]. 2019 Oct 28 [cited 2022 Mar 2]; Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551727/

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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