By Devi Poojari Updated: Aug 18, 2023
Clove, or lavangam, is a popular spice derived from the dried flower buds of the clove tree and has been used for centuries in various traditional medicine systems for its potential health benefits.
Cloves, or lavangam, or laung as it is commonly known in India, has been an ingredient used as kitchen remedies for issues like tooth pains to curing cough. Also used popularly in multiple oral hygiene products like toothpastes, tooth powders and anti-bacterial mouthwash, clove holds a lot of medicinal properties that can greatly benefit health. From being adding to tea infusions or being used as a component in garam masala, cloves are also a widely used spice in Indian cooking. Here are some of its prominent benefits.
Cloves are rich in antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds and flavonoids. These antioxidants help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body thereby reducing oxidative stress and the risk of chronic diseases. Cloves also contain compounds that have shown potential in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in laboratory studies. With compounds like eugenol that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, cloves may help reduce inflammation in the body, that are linked to various chronic conditions.
Eugenol, a primary component of clove oil, has antiseptic and analgesic properties. It’s often used in dental care products and natural remedies for gum health and oral hygiene. Chewing on a couple of whole cloves also helps release its natural oils, soothing tooth and gum pains, as well as fighting cavities. The spice also helps in easing tooth sensitivity, making them less prone to be affected by foods at extreme temperatures.
Clove can help improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. It may also help alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, and gas. Cloves also increase digestive motility, helping decrease flatulence gaseous irritability and nausea. They also contain ample amounts of fibre, helping in ease the symptoms and effects of constipation, along with having ulcer-fighting properties.
The essential oil derived from cloves has demonstrated antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can be used to combat various microbial infections. Clove essence and clove oil are great cures for ailments like food poisoning, stomach infections, bad breath and gum infections. The nutritional value of the spice is excellent in fighting against bacteria like E. coli and staph aureus, along with reducing the development of other micro-organisms.
Clove oil has been used for its analgesic properties, making it useful for managing pain associated with headaches, muscle aches, and joint discomfort. Clove oils are often mixed with balms that sooth arthritic pains, sprains and rheumatism since they reduce the inflammatory response in the body. Adding a couple of clove buds to warm mustard oil or using a balm spiced with clove to massage on your knees, ankles and hip joints is effective in easing muscle strains.
Clove oil’s aromatic compounds can have a soothing effect on the respiratory system. Inhaling clove-infused steam or using clove-based products may provide relief from coughs, colds, and congestion. Drinking a hot tea infused with clove and cinnamon is effective in reducing congestion of the chest, unblocking sinuses as well as soothing cough and cold. The aroma of clove oil is also known to provide relief to those suffering from asthma, bronchitis and other upper-respiratory conditions.
Some studies suggest that certain compounds in cloves, including eugenol and antioxidants, may help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. The nigericin compounds present in cloves enable the functions of insulin-producing cells while also managing insulin levels in the body. Cloves also allow the reduction of insulin resistance and promote moderate sugar levels.