Cloves may be used to give aromatic and flavour qualities to hot beverages, often combined with other ingredients such as lemon and sugar.
Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies.
Read on to know more!
Clove, a common spice used in the Indian households, is the dried unopened flower bud of the evergreen clove tree. The pink coloured buds turn brown when dried after being hand-picked. Cloves vary in length from about half to three-fourths of an inch and are nail-shaped. In fact, their English name is actually derived from the Latin word clavus, which means nail.
14% to 20% of a clove is essential oil, the primary constituent of which is the fragrant oil eugenol. This is the reason why they are strongly pungent. Eugenol is extracted by distillation to yield oil of cloves. The oil is used to prepare microscopic slides for viewing and is also a local anaesthetic for toothaches. It is also used in perfumes, germicides and mouthwashes, in the synthesis of vanillin and as a sweetener or intensifier.
Cloves may be used to give aromatic and flavour qualities to hot beverages, often combined with other ingredients such as lemon and sugar. They can be bought either whole or ground. Ground cloves are usually used in baking.
Cloves are indigenous to Maluku Islands (or the Moluccas) in Indonesia and are commercially harvested primarily in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Indonesia, Zanzibar and Tanzania. The tree grows to about 25 to 40 feet (8 to 12 m) in height.
Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies. Cloves are used as a carminative, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen is said to warm the digestive tract. Applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, it also relieves toothache. (Source- Wikipedia)
Oil oozes out of good quality cloves when pricked with a fingernail. Another way to check the quality of cloves is to place them in a small water container. The good ones will float vertically while the stale ones will either sink or float horizontally.
Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown cloves since this will give you more assurance that the herb has not been irradiated.
While buying, whole cloves should be preferred to clove powder because the former retain their flavour for a longer time as compared to the latter.
Cloves should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Clove powder can be preserved for about six months, while whole cloves will stay fresh for about one year if stored like this.
Cloves can also be refrigerated in order to extend their shelf life.
According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, USA, the nutrients found in 100 grams of cloves include
- 65 grams of carbohydrate
- 6 grams of protein
- 13 grams of total lipids
- 2 grams of sugars
- 274 kcal of energy and
- 33 grams of dietary fibres
Minerals in cloves include
- sodium and
The vitamins found in them include
- vitamin C
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B12
- vitamin A
- vitamin E
- vitamin D and
- vitamin K
The full and detailed nutritional chart can be viewed at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/261?n1=%7BQv%3D1%7D&fgcd=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=&sort=&qlookup=&offset=&format=Full&new=&measureby=&Qv=1&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=
- Cloves raise the testosterone level in the human body thus acting as an aphrodisiac.
- Cloves are excellent for dental health. They are used as an ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwashes. They cure toothaches too.
- Bone strength: The hydro-alcoholic extracts of cloves include phenolic compounds such as eugenol and its derivatives, such as flavones, isoflavones and flavonoids. These extracts have been particularly helpful in preserving bone density and the mineral content of bone, as well as increasing tensile strength of bones in case of osteoporosis.
- Cloves reduce inflammation. This makes them useful in fighting acne.
- Cloves aid digestion. They promote the production of gastric acids which help in better digestion of food. They minimize indigestion and dyspepsia, as well as reduce gas pressure in the stomach, lessening discomfort.
- Cough and bad breath can be cured by consuming cloves. These are very common problems that we all face and can be very well treated by the consumption of cloves on a daily basis.
- None of the other essential oils is found to have such high antioxidant properties as clove essential oil.
- Cloves contain compounds that help in improving the immune system by increasing the white blood cell count, thereby, improving delayed-type hypersensitivity.
Increases bleeding: Eugenol present in cloves is a blood-thinning agent and can decelerate the process of blood clotting, thus, leading to abnormal bleeding. People who suffer from bleeding disorder are advised to not consume too much of cloves. Also, its consumption must be stopped a couple of weeks prior, if a person is to undergo a surgery
Allergic reactions: Eugenol in cloves might also cause allergic reactions in some people ranging from minor ones like rashes to major ones such as swelling, choking of throat and anaphylaxis.
- Clove and Cinnamon Tea http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/clove-and-cinnamon-tea-15553
- Molasses Clove Cookies http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/molasses-clove-cookies-359809
- Honey Whiskey Clove Ham http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/honey-whiskey-clove-ham-92244
- Garlic Clove Bread http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/garlic-clove-bread-253370