Maybe it's just me, but when I think of this spice, I think of Christmas cooking! However, we need to expand our horizons because it’s the spice that should be consumed all year long!
Cloves are brown, dried, rather ugly…, unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree found in East Asia. Various parts of the dried plant as well as “clove oil” have been used anciently and today for its medicinal properties. In the United States, they are commonly used in recipes to add a “spicy depth” and “warmth” to cookies, cakes, applesauce, muffins, BBQ sauces, etc! What recipes do you typically add cloves to? Comment below!
Not only do cloves add great flavor to any recipe, they are also a healthy addition to your diet!
- Antioxidant: We often think of blueberries as the “antioxidant” superfood of the world, however, cloves have an ORAC value of 290,283 units which is about 30 times the antioxidant value of blueberries. Cloves the “protective herb” fights free radicals, slows aging, and protects against harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Digestion Booster: Cloves help with digestion, flatulence, nausea, motion sickness, bloating, and certain stomach disorders by boosting the production of digestive enzymes.
- Antibacterial: Cloves have antibacterial properties that are effective in killing strains of disease-causing bacteria and pathogens! According to a study done at the University of Buenos Aires, cloves have the greatest antimicrobial ability over E. coli and acne-causing bacteria.
- Enhances Immune System: Cloves boost our immune systems by increasing the production of white blood cells and fights against bacteria and pathogens.
- Stress-Reliever: Cloves will uplift the mood (and not just because you have an excuse to whip up a batch of homemade, sugar-free clove-spiced cookies)! Putting cloves in a hot tea can soothe nerves and reduce anxiety.
- Anti-Inflammatory: The Journal of Immunotoxicology published a study showing that cloves are a powerful anti-inflammatory. Eugenol oil (found in cloves) calms inflammation and cellular oxidation.
Cloves and clove oil are effective as you strive for a healthy body and mind! Don't be afraid to experiment in cookies, Mideastern food, etc.!