The Health Benefits of Cloves

September 17, 2008


Brief History of Cloves

The clove (Eugenia aromatica) is a pink flower bud of the clove tree that turns brown when dried.

Cloves have a warm, sweet, and aromatic flavor and an oily compound that is vital to their medicinal and nutritional properties.

Cloves are indigenous to the Moluccas volcanic islands of Indonesia previously known as the Spice Islands.

Today Zanzibar is the largest producer of clove and are also grown commercially in the West Indies, Brazil, Pemba, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and India.

Nutrients in Cloves

Cloves (Eugenia aromatica) are an excellent source of manganese. They are a very good source of vitamin C, K, and dietary fiber. They are a good source of calcium and magnesium.

Spices, cloves, ground Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 323 kcal (1350 kJ)
* Carbohydrates 61.21 g
Dietary fiber 34.2 g
* Fat 20.07 g
* Protein 5.98 g
* Vitamin C 80.8 mg
Vitamin K 141.8 mcg
* Calcium 646 mg
* Magnesium 264 mg
Potassium 1102 mg
Manganese 30.033 mg
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.

Cloves as an Anti Fungal

Eugenol is a chemical compound extracted from the essential oil of cloves and other spices. Eugenol has been shown to be an effective natural anti fungal against the T. mentagrophytes and M. canis dermatophytes (tinia or ringworm), and although tea tree oil is a more effective anti fungal, a combination of tea tree oil and eugenol was found to be more effective. Tests have also demonstrated that essential oil of cloves to be effective against Candida albicans.

The fungicidal potency of clove oil compares very well with that of the commercial antifungal drug nystatin, while providing for a less toxic, safe, and inexpensive alternative to commercial drugs without the risk of ever-increasing resistance shown by the target pathogens, toxicity problems at the increasing required doses, and problematic side-effects.

Cloves as an Anasthetic

Eugenol is the principal chemical component of clove oil and is used in dentistry due to its analgesic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. It is used in the form of a paste or mixture as dental cement, filler, and restorative material.

, another component of clove oil, has also been shown to exhibit local anesthetic activity.

Cloves can be used in relieving a toothache by placing a single clove on the aching tooth. Clove oil can also be used by soaking in some cotton wool and then placing the cotton wool on the aching tooth.

Cloves for Diabetesclove plant

USDA’s Richard Anderson reports that bayleaf, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric all can treble insulin activity, hinting that as little as 500 mg might be enough to have some effect. A tea of 500 mg each of these spices, with coriander and cumin, should be enough to treble insulin activity, possibly helping in late-onset diabetes.

Cloves as an Aphrodisiac

Extract of clove has been shown to enhance the sexual behavior of male mice. The results of the study resulted in a significant and sustained increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats, without any adverse effects. The results seem to support the claims for its traditional usage as an aphrodisiac.

Cloves as Mosquito Repellant

The natural oil of clove is a natural mosquito repellant and can give protection against mosquitoes for 4-5 hours.

Cloves for Cancer Prevention

Preliminary studies have suggested the chemopreventive potential of clove for lung cancer, and to delay and reduce the formation of skin cancer.

Cloves for Cardiovascular Health

The compound eugenol from cloves has been found to be a potent platelet inhibitor (prevents blood clots).

Adverse Reactions from Cloves

Allergic reactions to clove and eugenol have been reported.

Clove supplements should be avoided in children and pregnant or nursing women.

1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
4. Ghelardini C, Galeotti N, Di Cesare Mannelli L, Mazzanti G, Bartolini A. Local anaesthetic activity of beta-caryophyllene. Farmaco. 2001 May-Jul;56(5-7):387-9. PMID: 11482764.
5. Park MJ, Gwak KS, Yang I, Choi WS, Jo HJ, Chang JW, Jeung EB, Choi IG. Antifungal activities of the essential oils in Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. Et Perry and Leptospermum petersonii Bailey and their constituents against various dermatophytes. J Microbiol. 2007 Oct;45(5):460-5. PMID: 17978807.
6. Fu Y, Zu Y, Chen L, Shi X, Wang Z, Sun S, Efferth T. Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination. Phytother Res. 2007 Oct;21(10):989-94. PMID: 17562569.
7. Trongtokit Y, Curtis CF, Rongsriyam Y. Efficacy of repellent products against caged and free flying Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2005 Nov;36(6):1423-31. PMID: 16610644.
8. Banerjee S, Panda CK, Das S. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum L.), a potential chemopreventive agent for lung cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2006 8. Aug;27(8):1645-54. Epub 2006 Feb 25. PMID: 16501250.
10. Banerjee S, Das S. Anticarcinogenic effects of an aqueous infusion of cloves on skin carcinogenesis. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2005 Jul-Sep;6(3):304-8. PMID: 16235990.
11. Tajuddin , Ahmad S, Latif A, Qasmi IA. Aphrodisiac activity of 50% ethanolic extracts of Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg) and Syzygium aromaticum (L) Merr. & Perry. (clove) in male mice: a comparative study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2003 Oct 20;3:6. PMID: 14567759.
12. Tajuddin , Ahmad S, Latif A, Qasmi IA. Effect of 50% ethanolic extract of Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & Perry. (clove) on sexual behaviour of normal male rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2004 Nov 5;4:17. PMID: 15530165.
13. Srivastava KC, Malhotra N. Acetyl eugenol, a component of oil of cloves (Syzygium aromaticum L.) inhibits aggregation and alters arachidonic acid metabolism in human blood platelets. Acetyl eugenol, a component of oil of cloves (Syzygium aromaticum L.) inhibits aggregation and alters arachidonic acid metabolism in human blood platelets. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1991 Jan;42(1):73-81. PMID: 2011614.
14. Jadhav BK, Khandelwal KR, Ketkar AR, Pisal SS. Formulation and evaluation of mucoadhesive tablets containing eugenol for the treatment of periodontal diseases. Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2004 Feb;30(2):195-203. PMID: 15089054.
15. Image by rawallison.
16. Modern Phytomedicine: Turning Medicinal Plants into Drugs


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  1. Ronnie Newton

    August 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Cloves as an aphrodisiac is news to me. However, there have been many a times when clove oil has saved the day from an excruciating toothache. It’s a natural analgesic that way.

  2. Pingback: Clove Oil - antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and a Super anti-oxidant | Wellness Beach Natural Health

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  4. Brittney

    October 1, 2012 at 12:33 am

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    and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I found
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