Cloves are the unopened pink flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. The buds are picked by hand when they are pink and dried until they turn brown in color.
Cloves are about 1/2-inch long and 1/4-inch in diameter and with their tapered stem, they resemble tiny nails.
In fact, their English name is actually derived from the Latin word clavus, which means nail. Although cloves have a very hard exterior, their flesh features an oily compound that is essential to their nutritional and flavor profile.
Cloves have a warm, sweet and aromatic taste that evokes the sultry tropical climates where they are grown.
The Latin name for cloves is Eugenia caryophyllus.
Cloves are believed to be native to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia. Although Indonesia is the largest producer of Cloves, Zanzibar, and Madagascar are the major exporters, where Clove trees cover thousands of acres of the islands. Historically, Cloves originating from Madagascar have been considered superior.
Benefits of cloves:
- Cloves are low in calories and provide some fiber, manganese, vitamin K and vitamin C. Fiber can help prevent constipation and promote regularity, vitamin C may help strengthen your immune system and vitamin K is an important nutrient for blood clotting. Meanwhile, manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining brain function and building strong bones.
- Cloves are high in antioxidants, including eugenol and vitamin C, both of which can help reduce oxidative stress.
- Cloves may promote oral health, thanks to their antimicrobial properties, which may help kill harmful bacteria.
- Clove extract was able to slow the growth of multiple types of human cancer cells. Clove extract also increased cell death in colon cancer cells.
- Clove extract helped moderate blood sugar increases in diabetic.
- Clove extract and manganese may help increase bone mineral density.
Side effects of cloves:
- Consuming it in excessive form can harm your kidneys and teeth.
- This, ingested compounds can make your blood thinner, which can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Excessive intake can also cause a burning sensation in your body. It is possible that you have allergies to cloves.
- Pregnant women should also reduce their oral intake. Its allergic reaction may prove harmful to the baby.
Clove can be store both whole and ground cloves in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, dry place. Ground cloves may keep for up to three months, while whole cloves may stay fresh for about a year.