Clove : The Boon of Nature - Everything You Need to Know

by Somya Agrawal

Clove refers to a small dried flower bud from an evergreen tree, scientifically known as Syzygium aromaticum. It is native to Indonesia but also grown in other parts of the world including India, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar. Cloves are characterized by their strong, pungent aroma and spicy, warm taste. They are commonly used as a spice in cooking and baking, adding flavor to various foods and beverages such as mulled wine, tea, and gingerbread. Apart from this, clove is generously loaded with health benefits.

Through this article, let’s dig deep into cloves, their types, health benefits, and day-to-day usage.

Types of Clove

There are several types of cloves, including:

1) Madagascar Clove: This type of clove is known for its high oil content and strong flavor. It is dark brown in color and has a slightly sweet and fruity taste.

2) Zanzibar Clove: Zanzibar cloves are grown on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba in East Africa. They are known for their high oil content and intense flavor.

3) Indonesian Clove: Indonesia is the largest producer of cloves in the world. Indonesian cloves are known for their bold and spicy flavor and are often used in cooking and baking.

4) Brazilian Clove: Brazilian cloves are grown in the Bahia region of Brazil. They have a milder flavor compared to other types of cloves and are often used in culinary applications.

5) Sri Lankan Clove: Sri Lankan cloves are known for their rich and aromatic flavor. They are often used in traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and have a distinct sweetness.

Note: The flavor and quality of cloves can vary depending on the growing conditions and processing methods.

What is the Nutritional Value of Clove?

The nutritional value of clove (per 1 teaspoon, or 2.1 grams) is as follows:

  • Calories: 6
  • Carbohydrates: 1.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.7 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Protein: 0.2 grams
  • Manganese: 26% of DRI
  • Vitamin K: 2% of the DRI
  • Vitamin C: 1% of the DRI
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the DRI

Clove also contains small amounts of other nutrients, such as vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. However, these amounts are not significant enough to provide a substantial portion of their respective daily intake recommendations.

Health Benefits of Clove

There are several health benefits associated with clove consumption, including:

1) Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Clove contains compounds such as eugenol that have anti-inflammatory effects. This helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which is most common in conditions like arthritis.

2) Loaded with Antioxidants: Clove is rich in antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and free radicals. Antioxidants can protect the body’s cells from damage and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

3) Oral Health: Clove oil is often used in dental care products due to its antimicrobial properties. It can help kill bacteria in the mouth, reduce bad breath, and prevent cavities and gum disease.

4) Digestive Aid: Clove has been traditionally used as a digestive aid, as it can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and improve digestion. It may also help relieve digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, and stomach ulcers.

5) Respiratory Health: Clove has expectorant properties, which means it can help loosen mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tract. This makes it beneficial for treating respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds, and bronchitis.

6) Blood Sugar Control: Clove has been shown to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. It may help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar, making it potentially beneficial for individuals with diabetes.

7) Pain Relief: Clove oil has analgesic properties and can be used topically to relieve pain. It is commonly used for toothaches, muscle pain, and headaches.

It’s important to note that while cloves can offer some health benefits, they should be consumed in moderation. Excessive clove consumption can cause side effects such as mouth and throat irritation, liver damage, and increased bleeding risk. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before adding large amounts of cloves to your diet or using them for medicinal purposes.

How to Use Clove

There are several ways to use cloves, including:

1) As a Spice: Clove is commonly used as a spice in cooking, particularly in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian cuisines. Adding whole or ground cloves adds an amazingly aromatic, warm flavor to the food. 

2) Whole Cloves: You can use whole cloves to infuse flavor into dishes, such as stews, rice dishes, soups, and meat marinades. Simply add a few whole cloves to the dish while cooking and remove them before serving. You can also stud an onion with cloves and use it as a flavor enhancer when baking or simmering dishes.

3) Ground Cloves: Ground cloves are usually used in baking, especially in desserts and sweet dishes like gingerbread, pumpkin pie, or spiced cookies. You can also sprinkle a pinch of ground cloves on top of oatmeal, smoothies, or yogurt for added flavor.

4) For Medicinal Purposes: Clove has various health benefits and is used in traditional medicine for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.

5) Toothache Relief: Clove oil or clove powder mixed with water can be applied on a cotton ball and placed on the affected tooth to relieve toothaches. You can also chew on a whole clove to numb the pain temporarily.

6) Digestive Aid: Clove can help alleviate digestive issues like bloating, gas, and indigestion. You can make clove tea by steeping a few cloves in hot water for 10-15 minutes and drinking it after meals for relief.

7) Respiratory Support: Clove oil or clove tea can be beneficial for respiratory issues like coughs, colds, and sore throats. Inhaling steam infused with clove oil can also help clear congestion.

8) As an Insect Repellent: Clove has insect-repellent properties and can be used to deter insects like mosquitos and ants.

9) Clove Oil: Mix a few drops of clove oil with water and spray it around the house to repel insects. You can also apply diluted clove oil to your skin as a natural bug repellent.

10) Clove Sachets: Make sachets by filling small bags with dried whole cloves and place them in areas prone to insect infestations, like closets or pantry shelves.


Clove is a versatile spice commonly used in cooking and traditional medicine due to its unique flavor and numerous health benefits. However excessive consumption can lead to adverse health effects such as gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. While, mindfully adding cloves to the dietary pattern can uplift the overall health.