Cloves, both in natural form as dried flower buds (ground or whole) and as an essential oil, has a long history as a painkiller for toothache. It's also an effective antiseptic useful in treating wounds, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, cuts and insect bites.
Cloves are an excellent source of manganese. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of magnesium and calcium.
Cloves are native to Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world. The English name derives from Latin clavus 'nail' (also the origin of French clou and Spanish clavo, 'nail') as the buds vaguely resemble small irregular nails in shape. Eugenol and other components of clove (including beta-caryophyllene) combine to make clove a mild anaesthetic as well as an anti-bacterial agent.
Of cloves dried buds, 15 - 20 percent is essential oils, and the majority of this is eugenol. A kilogram (2.2 lbs) of dried buds yields approximately 150 ml (1/4 of pint) of eugenol.
Eugenol, the primary component of clove's volatile oils, functions as an anti-inflammatory substance. In animal studies, the addition of clove extract to diets already high in anti-inflammatory components (like cod liver oil, with its high omega-3 fatty acid content) brings significant added benefits, and in some studies, further reduces inflammatory symptoms by another 15-30%. Clove also contains a variety of flavonoids, including kaempferol and rhamnetin, which also contribute to clove's anti-inflammatory (and antioxidant) properties.
Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry. The use of a clove in toothache is also said to decrease pain. It also helps to decrease infection in the teeth due to its antiseptic properties. Clove oil, applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, also relieves toothache.
Other uses of clove oil
- Stress: Cloves have been used in Unani medicine since ancient times as an aphrodisiac for the treatment of male sexual disorders and hence serves as an excellent stress reliever. It has a stimulating effect on the mind and removes mental exhaustion and fatigue.
- Antifungal: The clove essential oil fights off Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte fungus species. Clove oil is very strong in nature and hence should be used in diluted form. Further, it should not be used on sensitive skin.
- Respiratory: Clove's oil expectorant cappabilities are useful in various respiratory disorders including coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, and tuberculosis. Chewing a clove bud eases sore throats. Diffuse clove oil in a diffuser, burner or vaporizer for up to 20 minutes at a time. The anti-inflammatory effect of the fumes from the clove oil will loosen respiratory passages, improving breathing and treating congestion and other respiratory problems.
- Diabetes: Extracts of cloves have been found to improve the function of insulin and to lower glucose, total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Immune system: Clove and clove oil boosts the immune system by purifying the blood and fighting off virus.
According to recent reports, the extract of a medicinal plant Rhizoma Acori Graminei (RAG) alleviates neurotoxicity induced by amyloid beta peptides (Aß) in vitro and the active constituent of RAG is eugenol. Eugenol inhibits Aß-induced excessive influx of calcium ion into neurons that causes neuronal death. Moreover, eugenol possesses an antidepressant-like activity. Eugenol, like other antidepressants, increases expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene in the hippocampus, which is necessary for an antidepressant to exhibit its activity. Furthermore, eugenol inhibits monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) and may restore monoamines that are decreased in the brain of patients with depression. Thus, eugenol can be a good medicine for AD and depression. Here we suggest that eugenol and its analogs can be used also for other diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) including Parkinson's disease (PD).
- Effects of Eugenol on the Central Nervous System; Current Bioactive Compounds, Volume 2, Number 1.
- Cloves; The world's healthies foods.
- Health Benefits of Clove Oil; Organic Facts.
- How to Use Clove Oil in Respiratory Health; Samantha J Volz
- Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica; Dan Bensky, Steven Clavey, Erich Stoger, and Andrew Gamble.
- Antifungal activity of the clove essential oil from Syzygium aromaticum on Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species; Pinto E, Vale-Silva L, Cavaleiro C, Salgueiro L.
- Clove herb health benefit as treatment for infection; Ray Sahelian, M.D.
- Cloves improves insulin function; Kevin Flatt.
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