Just one teaspoon of cloves contains decent amounts of manganese, fiber, and vitamins C and K.  While manganese boosts brain function and helps build bones, vitamins C and K boost immunity and prevent blood clotting. Vitamin K is also important for bone health.


Studies have shown that the eugenol in clove works as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. This is also true with clove essential oil, one form of clove that is widely available (1).

Clove also fights inflammation of the mouth and throat. In yet another study by the University of Florida, subjects who consumed cloves on a daily basis had reduced levels of a specific pro-inflammatory cytokine in just seven days (2). Lowering these cytokines can significantly reduce the likelihood of arthritis and joint pains. In fact, long-term inflammation can lead to arthritis – and taking clove regularly could be a good step in preventing that.


One study showed how clove extract could prevent tumor growth and induce cancer cell death (3). The anti-cancer properties of clove can be attributed to eugenol, which had even shown to benefit in the case of esophageal cancer (4).

Cloves are also good sources of antioxidants. In fact, half a teaspoon of ground clove contains more antioxidants than half a cup of blueberries. Antioxidants fight inflammation and protect us against cancer.

Clove extract was also found to be lethal to breast cancer cells in yet another study (5).

“Cloves have excellent cytotoxicity towards MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Hence, they are a promising source for the development of anticancer agents.”

– Parvinnesh S. Kumar and Co., Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung, Indonesia.


Did You Know?

Ancient Romans used cloves for culinary and medicinal purposes. In fact, they were one of the most expensive spices in Europe in the Middle Ages.


Volunteers in a study reported lower glucose levels after regularly taking cloves. Another animal study showed how cloves could moderate blood sugar spikes in diabetic mice (6).

Cloves contain another compound called nigericin, which was found to improve insulin secretion and the health of cells that produce insulin (7). This means that cloves, when taken as a part of a balanced diet, can keep your blood sugar levels in check.


Certain compounds in cloves can reduce stomach ulcers, as per some research. The oil from cloves can increase the thickness of gastric mucus, and this protects the stomach lining and prevents peptic ulcers (8).

The fiber in cloves can also aid digestion and might prevent constipation.


This is especially true with clove oil – it can be used for treating bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory issues like cold and cough. The oil soothes the respiratory tract and also has an anti-inflammatory effect. You can simply massage the oil into your chest, sinuses, and even the bridge of the nose – doing this opens the breathing passages and gives you relief. You can also add the oil (or steep a few cloves) to a glass of warm water and take it as tea.

Chewing on a clove bud can ease a sore throat and even help treat cold and cough.


As per some research, this is especially true with clove oil. The oil impacts the body’s metabolism and reduces body temperature, and this enhances circulation.

The antioxidant properties of cloves might also help purify the blood – though we need more research on this.


Anecdotal evidence suggests that massaging with clove oil might help relieve stress.


The eugenol in clove is known to provide relief. The substance is an anesthetic and has antibacterial properties, and this helps you deal with the pain. One simple way to get rid of a toothache is to place a few whole cloves in your mouth and moisten them with your saliva – after which you can crush them with your teeth. The oil that is released fights the pain. You can use a whole clove for 30 minutes, before discarding it and repeating the process with a new one.

If you have a much severe toothache, such that grinding cloves with your teeth is not possible, you can use crushed cloves. Crush the whole cloves and place the powder on the affected tooth.

An Iranian study also speaks about the analgesic affects of clove, which can help relieve toothache (9). Cloves can also combat bad breath.


Did You Know?

About 42 million pounds of cloves are produced and consumed every year. And three-quarters of the cloves that are produced originate from Tanzania.


The cooling and pain-relieving properties of cloves can work wonders here. All you have to do is crush a few cloves and put them in a clean handkerchief. Inhale the smell whenever you have a headache. You should obtain some relief.

Alternately, you can also add two drops of clove oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil and gently massage over your forehead and temples.


Studies have shown how oral ingestion of cloves can enhance testicular function and ultimately boost testosterone levels. Though the study has been carried on mice, the potential for humans is encouraging.

Some sources say that cloves can also enhance fertility.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

How many cloves can we take in a day?

Taking 2 to 3 cloves per day should be fine. But this dosage may not be suitable for all. Hence, consult your doctor as well.

What is a good substitute for cloves?

You can use allspice or nutmeg in this case. They are good substitutes for cloves.

Is clove oil toxic to humans?

Topical application is fine. But repeated oral intake, or even application of the oil to the gums or teeth can cause damage. So, consult a doctor before using it.

What are the other names for cloves?

A few other names include laung (Hindi), ding xiang (Chinese), cengkeh (Indonesia), and clavo (Spanish).



  1. Anti-inflammatory activity of clove...”. US National Library of Medicine.
  2. 8 anti-inflammatory spices for easing arthritis”. US News.
  3. Clove extract inhibits tumor growth...”. US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Comparative anticancer potential of clove…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Anticancer potential of…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Hypoglycemic effects of clove…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Clove and its active compound...”. US National Library of Medicine.
  8. Gastroprotective activity of essential oil...”. US National Library of Medicine.
  9. Analgesic effect of the aqueous...”. US National Library of Medicine.