Native to the Moluccas of Indonesia, cloves are believed to have been around for hundreds and thousands of years. Its versatile purpose and bountiful benefits separate the clove from other herbs and spices. Due to its potent flavor, provided by one of its compounds eugenol, the clove pairs well with foods that are both sweet and savory.
To many Americans, cloves are best known for its delectable zest in mulled wine and gingerbread cookies. However, the clove is not only capable of adding a fiery punch of flavor to dishes—it has also been long adopted as a spiritual and traditional medicine.
Photography by Aimée Auguin
Traditional Health Benefits
The utilization of cloves for their health benefits dates all the way back to the third century BC where many people chewed on cloves to achieve fresh breath. Fast forward to the 21st century, where there are now numerous studies that confirm a myriad additional positive attributes of this otherwise small flower bud. One study shows the clove’s antibacterial trait improves oral health, as clove compounds kill the bacteria known to be responsible for gum disease. As an active ingredient in most mouthwashes and used as an oral anesthetic, clove even holds the ability to provide relief from oral pain.
In addition, the clove’s abundance of antioxidants makes it the perfect natural medicine to fight chronic disease and cancer, especially due to one of its compounds, eugenol. Eugenol when compared to vitamin E was found to be five times more effective in stopping oxidative damage. This incredible attribute also aids in killing esophageal cancer cells and improving liver health. Whether it’s by integrating ground cloves into your dishes or pouring yourself a cup of clove tea, a diet filled with cloves will reap benefits for your body.
Photography by Aimée Auguin
Referred to as ‘flower of the Gods’ in Asian countries, cloves are a symbol of protection and armor. Due to cloves being an element of fire, they exude a fiery, spicy, yet clarifying energy. By calmly allowing the scent of clove to radiate through the body, unfavorable forces will be pushed away and evil thoughts warded off thus allowing ourselves to absorb courage, strength, and power.
In their deflection of negative energy, cloves are powerful for ritual cleanses—a perfect ally during transformative periods. Whether it’s graduating college or navigating the uncertain waters of a global pandemic, cloves remain constant to reinforce the soul, thoughts, and spirit.
How to incorporate cloves into your routine
Now that you’re able to recognize the incredible benefits of cloves, perhaps you’ll try integrating them into your own routine. From simmering clove buds in water to create clove tea, to allow the essential oil to diffuse throughout your home, there is a clove-laden ritual for everyone.
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