Spice Up Your Food With Different Clove Uses And Benefits
Updated: Apr 6
Cloves are brownish, rough, and irregularly wrinkled longitudinally with short fracture and dry, woody texture. Cloves are famous in Asian, African, Mediterranean and the Near and Middle East countries cuisines, lending flavor to meats, curries, and marinades, as well as fruit such as apples, pears or rhubarb. They may be used to give aromatic and flavor qualities to hot beverages, often combined with other ingredients such as lemon and sugar.
Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. They are native to the Maluku Islands(or Moluccas) in Indonesia, and are commonly used as a spice. Cloves are available throughout the year due to different harvest seasons in different countries. Because of the bioactive chemicals of clove, the spice may be used as an ant repellent.
The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia. Clove cigarettes have been smoked throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. Since 2009, clove cigarettes have been classified as cigars in the US.
Cloves are used in traditional medicine as the essential oil, which is used as an anodyne (analgesic) mainly for dental emergencies and other disorders. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy.
A major component of clove taste is imparted by the chemical eugenol, and the quantity of the spice required is typically small. It pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine and basil, as well as onion, citrus peel, star anise, or peppercorns. Cloves contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so using whole or ground cloves to add flavor to your food can provide some important nutrients.
They are rich in antioxidants and some research suggests that the compounds found in cloves might help protect against cancer. One test tube study found that clove extract helped stop the growth of tumors and promoted cell death in cancer cells. Another test tube study observed similar results, showing that concentrated amounts of clove oil caused cell death in 80% of esophageal cancer cells. The eugenol found in cloves has also been shown to have anticancer properties. A test tube study found that eugenol promoted cell death in cervical cancer cells.
Studies show that the beneficial compounds in cloves could help promote liver health and treat stomach ulcers. But use of clove for any medicinal purpose has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, and its use may cause adverse effects if taken orally by people with liver disease, blood clotting and immune system disorders, or food allergies.