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Cloves and clove oil

Cloves have a sweet and penetrating smell that attracts you to explore more. They are nailed-shaped dried flower buds from an aromatic tropical tree in the Myrtaceae family. Clove trees initially grow in Asia and South America where the tropical climate and soils are available. Cloves have been widely used for cooking for thousands of years as a spice. Whole cloves are often used when preparing ham to enhance the flavor and ground cloves are commonly used in baking. Clove oil has been applied in herbal medicine and dental practices for decades.

Health benefits

A powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent.

The main constituent of clove oil is eugenol. Studies suggest it has potent anti-inflammatory effects. [1][2] Cloves also contain a group of flavonoids such as kaempferol and rhamnetin, which also contribute to their significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In addition, Beta-caryophyllene is another significant anti-inflammatory agent in cloves.

Clove oil has been used in the prevention of joint inflammation, infection of wounds and cuts, fungal infections, and other types of conditions. Clove oil should be applied in a diluted form due to its substantial nature, and people with sensitive skin should test it first before applying it directly on the skin.

Active ingredients including eugenol from cloves make it really attractive for dentistry such as root canal therapy, painful gums, and mouth ulcers. Clove oil in a diluted form helps reduce throat pain and soreness due to its antiseptic and anesthetic qualities. [3] In addition; clove oil is added to many dental products such as mouthwashes, toothpaste, and sore throat sprays due to its aromatic smell and anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory attributes.

Turmeric is another powerful anti-inflammatory spice and Tart Cherry is loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants.

Improving blood circulation

Clove oil has been used in Chinese medicine in herbal products such as Tiger Balm to help stimulate blood circulation and increase the blood supply to affected areas. Through massage, clove oil helps increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas and accelerate the healing procedure. [4] In addition, eugenol, the active ingredient in clove, has been shown to prevent blood clots. Clove oil has been used in many anti-aging skin products due to its regenerating and stimulating properties; it can increase blood flow and supply optimal nutrition to support good skin.

Enhancing digestive health

Clove oil has been used to reduce stomach-related problems such as hiccups, nausea, gas, bloating, and stomach discomfort, and also helps minimize pregnancy-related morning sickness and discomfort. [5]

Ginger is another healing food for stomach discomfort.

Relieving headaches

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, clove oil has been used to relieve headaches in traditional medicine. It provides a cooling effect and reduces the tension from a headache. It should be applied in diluted form on the skin such as on the temples or neck.

A champion antioxidant

ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. USDA researchers at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, have developed ORAC testing as a way to measure both the time and degree of free-radical inhibition of different foods and natural substances. A high ORAC value means the ability to neutralize more free radicals. All antioxidant capacity measures are estimated by Ferric Reducing Power and expressed as micromole Trolox equivalent (TE) per 100 grams (µTE/100 g). From the table of ORAC values below. [6] The OPAC value for cloves is rated as the highest, this means the benefits of clove and clove oil are far beyond your imagination! Recent studies also indicate the additive properties of ORAC of essential oils. [7]

Essential Oil AntioxidantCapacityFoods AntioxidantCapacity
Clove1,078,700Vitamin E oil3,309
Clary sage221,000XanGo juice1,644
Ylang ylang130,000Spinach1,260
Geranium101,000Brussels sprouts980
Black Pepper79,700Broccoli florets890
Patchouli49,400Red grapes739
White fir47,900Red bell peppers710
Dill35,600Yellow corn400
Lime 26,200 Eggplant 39026,200Eggplant390
Cypress24,300Limu juice305

More super foods with powerful antioxidants can be found at A Super Charged Anti-aging Diet Part One

De-stressing and pain reliever in aromatherapy
Clove oil has been ordinarily employed in aromatherapy for reducing tension, soothing the mind, relaxing muscles and relieving digestive problems. The healing effects can be magnified by blending clove oil with other essential oils including basil essential oil, rosemary essential oil and lavender essential oil, etc. Because clove oil is so strong, barely a pair of drops will be enough to demonstrate its amazing healing effects.

Based on the nutrition facts below, cloves are a good source of magnesium, vitamin K, iron, zinc, and dietary fiber.
Nutrition facts [8]

Cloves (Sygizium aromaticum),
Nutritional Value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy47 Kcal2%
Carbohydrates10.51 g8%
Protein3.27 g6%
Total Fat0.15 g0.5%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber5.4 g14%
Folates68 µg17%
Niacin1.046 mg6.5%
Pantothenic acid0.338 mg7%
Pyridoxine0.116 mg9%
Riboflavin0.066 mg5%
Thiamin0.072 mg6%
Vitamin A13 IU0.5%
Vitamin C11.7 mg20%
Vitamin E0.19 mg1%
Vitamin14.8 µg12%
Sodium94 mg6%
Potassium370 mg8%
Calcium44 mg4%
Copper0.231 mg27%
Iron1.28 mg16%
Magnesium60 mg15%
Manganese0.256 mg11%
Phosphorus90 mg13%
Selenium7.2 µg13%
Zinc2.32 mg21%
Carotene-ß8 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin464 µg

How to enjoy cloves in many ways?


  • Add a few ground cloves in pies such as pumpkin pies and apple pies to give a spicy flavor.
  • Add whole cloves to soups to enhance the flavor.
  • Sprinkle a few ground cloves to rice pudding or applesauce.
  • Add ground cloves and cinnamon to bread, cake, biscuit or muffin mixtures.
  • Spice up your barbecue sauce or salad dressing with a pinch of ground of cloves.
  • Add a little clove powder to your condiments such as pickles and jam to give some hot flavor.
  • Poke whole cloves in ham.
  • Spice up your tea with some clove powder.
  • Add a little clove powder to stewed fruits such as strawberry rhubarb sauce.
  • Flavor cooked or fried rice by adding a few cloves during cooking.
  • Mix clove and curry powder together to sautéed onions, cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage to aid digestion.
  • Add clove powder to your Thanksgiving stuffing recipes
  • Pierce an onion with whole cloves when making a stew or soup.

How to select cloves and clove oil

Whole cloves are better than clove powder because they can go on longer without losing their spirit. Good quality cloves should release some oil by squeezing them with fingernails. To ensure their good quality, cloves should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark, and dry place or in a fridge to extend their shelf life.
There are different types of clove oils. Clove bud oil has the least quantity of the eugenol component and is commonly used in aromatherapy. Other chemical compounds such as Beta-caryophyllene and eugenol acetate help balance out the aggressive side of eugenol. Clove leaf oil has a higher concentration of eugenol and is used for chemistry purposes.

Healthy Clove Recipes

Tomato Clove Soup

Ingredients (6 servings)

Tomato clove soup

  • Tomatoes (fresh, peeled, chopped): 4 cups
  • Cloves (whole): 4
  • Chicken broth: 2 cups
  • Coconut flours: 2 tbsps.
  • Coconut oil: 2 tbsps.
  • Onion (medium, sliced): 1
  • Celery (stalks, chopped): 2
  • Basil leaves (fresh): 6
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ginger (fresh, chopped): 1 tbsp


  1. In a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, onion, celery, basil leaves, ginger, cloves and chicken broth over medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for about 20 minutes over low heat to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and puree the tomato mixture in a food mill. Removes chunks from the food mill and set aside.
  2. In an empty stockpot, add coconut oil over medium heat. Stir in coconut flour to make a roux. Gradually stir in the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Indian Chickpea Curry

Chickpea Curry

  • Ingredients (8 servings)
  • Olive oil: 2 tbsps.
  • Chickpeas (canned, rinsed, and drained): 2 cans (15 oz.)
  • Onion (medium, diced): 2
  • Tomatoes (canned, diced): 1 can (15 oz.)
  • Cloves (whole): 6
  • Garlic (fresh, finely chopped): 1 tbsp.
  • Ginger (fresh, finely chopped): 2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon powder: ¼ tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.
  • Coriander (ground): 1 tsp.
  • Cayenne pepper: 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in ginger, onion and garlic; cook and stir until they are softened and tender.
  2. 2. Season with cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and turmeric. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add chickpeas and tomatoes. Continue to stir until all ingredients are well mixed and heated through. Remove from heat.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle cilantro just before serving.

Do you know that you can use your navel to treat digestive issues and other issues? Ancient Chinese Medicine practitioners have been using the navel both as a diagnostic tool and also a treatment center for thousands of years. We created this Magical Navel Patch that has many health benefits including the following; click the image below to find out more.
1. Anti-aging
2. Anti-inflammatory and reduce the abdominal fat
3. Promote a sound sleep
4. Balance Yin and Yang energy.


  1. M., Holecek (2013). Side effects of long-term glutamine supplementation. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22420667 on 23 July 2014.
  2. Kirti Thakur* and K.S. Pitre. Anti-inflammatory Activity of Extracted Eugenol from Ocimum Sanctuml. Leaves. J.Chem. Vol.2, No.2 (2009), 472-474. ISSN: 0974-1496
  3. Chul-kyu Park, et al. Molecular mechanism for local anesthetic action of eugenol in the rat trigeminal system. Pain (Impact Factor: 5.64). 05/2009; 144(1-2):84-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2009.03.016.
  4. Carlos Estevam Nolf Damiani, et al. Vasorelaxant effects of eugenol on rat thoracic aorta. Vascular Pharmacology. 40 (2003) 59 – 66
  5. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/cloves
  6. http://www.biosourcenaturals.com/orac-value-of-essential-oils.htm
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24262547
  8. Bentayeb K, Vera P, Rubio C, Nerín C. (2013). The additive properties of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) assay: the case of essential oils. Retrieved from http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/236?qlookup=clove&fg=&format=&man=&lfacet=&max=25&new=1 on 24 July 2014


One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. —Virginia Woolf


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About the author: Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, TCM Practitioner, Energy Healer, Master Hypnotist, Reiki Master, Advanced Theta Healing Practitioner, Author and Speaker, Lucy Liu, the founder of optimalhealthsolutions.ca, has gained a good reputation in holistic health after many years of serving patients and clients as a holistic health practitioner. Lucy has developed a unique and comprehensive approach, which combines Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, and Alternative Medicine together, to help others achieve optimal health by creating harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, and maintain long-term success for healthy lifestyle changes.
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