Are you looking for a way to add extra depth to your daily dishes or searching for spice with a multitude of health benefits? Start using cloves regularly. These are a spice that has been used for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes. For years, cloves have been used to help treat a variety of ailments, from digestive problems to inflammation. Today, we know that cloves have strong anti-cancer properties, making them an important spice to consider adding to your diet.
What are Cloves?
Cloves are the dried, unopened flower buds of the evergreen clove tree – Syzygium aromaticum, which is native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Cloves are widely used in Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisine these days. The buds are picked when they are still pink and then dried until they turn brown. They have a distinctly sweet, pungent, and spicy flavor that is both warm and intense.
How Are Cloves Used?
Cloves are a versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. They can be added to sauces, marinades, curries, pickles, pies, stir-fries, bread, salads, cakes, and desserts.
Cloves are most commonly used whole, but they can also be ground into a powder for use in spice blends. When using whole cloves in cooking, it is best to remove them before serving, as the flavor becomes very intense when cooked for long periods of time. For the best results, add the cloves towards the end of the cooking process or use them as a garnish after the food has finished cooking.
Cloves can also be used in beverages such as tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. To make a spiced tea or coffee, simply steep the cloves in hot water and then strain them out before serving. Cloves can also be used to make syrups, infusions, and tinctures.
Aside from being used in food and beverages, cloves have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. Clove oil is widely used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. It can also be applied directly to the skin to help with joint pain and muscle aches. Clove oil can also be used to treat toothaches and gum disease when mixed with other oils such as coconut oil or olive oil.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Cloves?
Cloves are known for their numerous health benefits, but there are some scientific studies that have revealed even more potential advantages. Studies have found that cloves can help to reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and even provide anti-cancer benefits.
- Inflammation: Cloves contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as eugenol and cinnamic acid, which help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. These compounds can reduce the swelling and pain associated with certain conditions like arthritis and gout.
- Heart Health: Cloves have been found to have antioxidant and antiatherosclerotic properties which can help to protect the heart. Research has shown that cloves can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular and coronary artery diseases.
- General Health: Studies have confirmed that cloves exhibit antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. They have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including indigestion, colds, headache, and toothache.
- Anti-Cancer Benefits: Studies have shown that cloves can help to prevent the development of cancerous cells in the body. One study found that extracts from cloves could help to inhibit the growth of certain types of cancerous tumors.
What Makes Cloves An Anticancer Food?
The active components in cloves, including polyphenols and terpenoids, have been shown to help fight cancer by targeting various pathways.
- Polyphenols are the most potent anti-cancer compounds found in cloves, which have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer and even halting tumor growth. Studies have shown that polyphenols in cloves inhibit the growth of colon, stomach, and breast cancer cells.
- Terpenoids are another group of compounds found in cloves that are thought to be effective in fighting cancer. In particular, eugenol, one of the primary terpenoids found in cloves, has been shown to reduce inflammation, inhibit tumor growth, and promote apoptosis (programmed cell death).
In addition, studies have found that clove extract may possess anti-angiogenic properties, meaning it can reduce the growth of new blood vessels needed to feed tumors. This makes cloves an important dietary tool in fighting cancer.