For thousands of years, cloves have been known to sweeten the breath. In ancient China (more specifically during the Han Dynasty in 200 BCE), envoys from Java, an island which is now under the jurisdiction of Indonesia, brought cloves which they put inside their mouth to perfume their breath during audiences with the Emperor.
It is believed that the Chinese first got cloves through several cultural intermediaries, including the adventurous Nusantao seafarers who were considered to be the ancestors of today’s Filipinos. After being introduced to China, cloves quickly became popular. Soon, they were used in foods, medicines, perfumes, and hair dressings. The spice reached India in the second century CE, where it was called “kalika-phala”.
Since then, kalika-phala has been used in Ayurvedic medicine, where they are considered to improve blood circulation, give relief to indigestion, enhance metabolism, and help counter stomach disorders such as gas, bloating, and nausea.
Characteristics of Clove
Syzygium aromaticum or Clove is a tropical evergreen that belongs to the Myrtaceae family. This monoecious tree which is a native to the Moluccas or Spice Islands in Indonesia grows to a height ranging from 10 to 20 meters and can live for more than 100 years old. It is famous for its small reddish brown flower buds that are used as a spice. The world-famous cloves, which are being used in flavoring many of our foods, are the unopened version of these flower buds. Since they are strong in aroma, pungent, and hot, they were considered an important commodity in the earliest spice trade.
Indonesia, which is the world’s largest archipelago, produces more than 50% of the world’s clove output. This tree is also being cultivated in Madagascar, Tanzania, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and the West Indies.
Modern Medicinal Value of Clove
Cloves are full of nutrients and healing components. No wonder, they are being used in both the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the world’s oldest healing systems. They have been proven to be very effective in treating a number of ailments such as joint pain and respiratory conditions. Indeed, the clove tree has proven its effectivity as a medicinal plant. Aside from what is previously mentioned, below are the rest of the benefits that one may get from drinking clove tea:
- It can help treat gum pain and toothache
Gargling warm clove tea can effectively lessen the bacteria in the mouth. Through this way, it can provide quick relief to someone who is suffering from toothache and gum pain. Cloves are also an anti-inflammatory which can aid in relieving the swelling of the gums. Thus, it can help contribute to the healing process.
Whilst it is always advisable that a dentist should be consulted if there’s a toothache, there is no doubt that clove tea can help improve oral health.
- It may improve liver health
A research suggested that eugenol, a compound which can be found in cloves, may be beneficial for the liver since a study showed that this chemical reduced oxidative stress, improved liver function, and reversed signs of liver damage in animal subjects.
- It can be used as a hand sanitizer
When it comes to sanitizers, what is organic and natural is still the best and safest. Cloves can be used as an alternative to commercially available sanitizers because it does not include chemicals that may dry the skin or may negatively affect the user. Just pour clove tea over your hands and rub them with it. This will create friction which in turn aids in cleansing the dirt. Also, this spice can effectively kill germs. It also does not damage the skin.
- It contains important nutrients and antioxidants
This spice is full of nutrients which include fiber (which is important for the digestive health and regular bowel movements), manganese (an essential mineral for building strong bones and maintaining brain function), vitamin K (which is essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism), and antioxidants (which keep the immune system healthy and help delay the aging process).
The clove plant is valuable to many people. From ancient traders to modern herbal tea drinkers, this spice is deeply ingrained in history not only as a medicine that heals but also as a flavoring that helped influenced different cultures and changed our way of life for the better.