Although relatively small in size, cloves contain a compact variety of healthy benefits alongside their signature aromatic and sweet taste. Native to the Spice Islands of Indonesia, they have been consumed in Asia for over two thousand years, growing to popularity in Europe when it was discovered they mask the poor taste of poorly preserved foods. Other than the taste, cloves have been known to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, help combat upper respiratory infections, and even help with minor tooth aches.
Cloves contain a variety of active compounds that allow it to serve this variety of purposes. One of the compounds called eugenol combines with a few other things in cloves to create a minor anesthesiac, which allows it to temporarily help toothaches when rubbed directly on the pain. Many times you’ll find clove oil in a lot of over the counter sore throat sprays and mouthwashes. Additionally, it serves as an anti-inflammatory, helping alleviate sore throats as well as slight improvements to arthritis. Often times when sick, people would brew clove tea, which served to aid the sore throat and act as an expectorant (helps you cough up phlegm).
When added to food, clove works great to aid the digestive system as well as provide a few different essential nutrients. Some studies indicate that cloves help to smooth out the greater intestinal tract, which helps out a variety of digestion issues. Concerning nutrition, consuming 2 tsp of cloves would provide you with all the manganese you need for the day, as well as small amounts of vitamin K, fiber, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Overall, although cloves doesn’t have the most over-arching of health benefits, it does serve a few niche purposes quite well, as well as providing that distinct flavor many know and love. Whether you want a home remedy tea for a cold, a bit of temporary aid for that annoying toothache, or just get some extra nutrients in from what you eat, cloves works out quite well.