“Good things come in small packages”. We have heard this so often. Amongst the different food items we consume, there are a few such really small things, which are super nutritive and beneficial. The garam masala spices like cloves, cardamom, black pepper come in this category and a very small amount is needed to significantly improve/ change the taste of any preparation.
Apart from their seasoning benefits, these spices do have many medicinal and health benefits as well. Am attempting to cover the benefits of each of them through a series of posts on spices.
Cloves also known as “laung” or “laving” or “grambu” or “lavangam” has a very strong flavor and aroma due to the presence of a compound called Eugenol. They are the flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. Cloves are native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, and are commonly used as a spice. They are commercially harvested primarily in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania and are available throughout the year. (Wikipedia)
Following are the health benefits of cloves
- Provides relief from toothache: Did you know that almost all toothpastes have cloves as one of their ingredients? Cloves have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which help reduce the inflammations around the tooth and act as a pain killer. It also helps fight infections.
How to use – take some clove oil with a Q-tip and apply it on and around the aching tooth. If clove oil is not available simply take a clove and press it between the aching tooth.
- Fights bad breath: The antiseptic properties of clove help kill the bacteria in the mouth thus preventing bad breath. Also the strong aroma of clove helps in suppressing foul smells.
How to use – Suck a clove post every meal for 10 to 15 mins to get rid of all the food smell on your breath.
- Provides relief from cold and fever: Cloves have expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties that help provide relief in respiratory tract infections.
How to use – Add clove oil to boiling water or your steam and inhale the steam to clear blocked nose as well as provide relief in case of cough. Adding cloves to regular tea or boiling water with cloves and drinking it will also provide a soothing effect.
- Eases headaches: The pain relieving properties along with the aroma of cloves are very helpful in easing all types of headaches – migraine, due to lack of sleep or stress or even due to a viral.
How to use – dab clove oil on the forehead or mix a few drops of it with coconut oil or olive oil and massage on the scalp.
- Stress reliever: Eugenol present in cloves is a muscle relaxant and relaxes the tense muscles when stressed. Its soothing aroma is a good stress buster after a long day and also helps induce sleep.
How to use – Adding few drops of clove oil to your aroma diffuser will spread the aroma throughout the room a provide a relaxing feeling.
- Treats pimples and acne: The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of clove help treat pimples and acne as well as help in stopping the spreading of the same
How to use – Clove oil mixed with any carrier oil in the ratio 1:10 and applied to the affected area acts very quickly to treat acne, zits or pimples.
- Reduces joint and body ache: The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cloves help alleviate joint pains and muscle aches.
How to use – clove oil mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil if massaged on the aching joints daily twice a day helps to reduce the pain and aches.
Personally cloves are amongst my favorite spices and is always present on my shelves. Also I normally roast a handful of cloves and powder it and store it in airtight container and use this powder for seasoning as well as in tea or with honey or hot water especially for kids when they have a cough or cold and have found it very helpful as well. As it is rightfully good things do come in small packages.
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