HEALTH BENEFITS OF CLOVES
In addition to containing several important vitamins and minerals, cloves are rich in antioxidants (7Trusted Source). Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic disease (8Trusted Source). Cloves also contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. In fact, a test-tube study found that eugenol stopped oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effectively than vitamin E, another potent antioxidant (9Trusted ).Including cloves in your diet along with other antioxidant-rich foods can help improve your overall health.
Cloves have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, meaning they can help stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria (14Trusted Source). One test-tube study showed that clove essential oil killed three common types of bacteria, including E. coli, which is a strain of bacteria that can cause food poisoning (15Trusted Source). What’s more, the antibacterial properties of cloves could even help promote oral health. In one test-tube study, the compounds extracted from cloves were found to stop the growth of two types of bacteria that contribute to gum disease (16Trusted Source). Another study in 40 people tested the effects of an herbal mouthwash consisting of tea tree oil, cloves, and basil. After using the herbal mouthwash for 21 days, they showed improvements in gum health, as well as the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth (17Trusted Source). In combination with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene, the antibacterial effects of cloves may benefit your oral health.
Studies show that the beneficial compounds in cloves could help promote liver health. The compound eugenol may be especially beneficial for the liver. One animal study fed rats with fatty liver disease mixtures containing either clove oil or eugenol. Both mixtures improved liver function, reduced inflammation, and decreased oxidative stress (18Trusted Source). Another animal study showed that the eugenol found in cloves helped reverse signs of liver cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver (2Trusted Source). Unfortunately, research on the liver-protecting effects of cloves and eugenol in humans is limited. However, one small study found that taking eugenol supplements for 1 week decreased levels of glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), a family of enzymes involved in detoxification that’s often a marker of liver disease (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).