Cloves: Discover their Surprising Health Benefits

What are cloves?

What are cloves and what do cloves taste like? If you’re a fan of spicy and aromatic flavors, then you’re no stranger to cloves. These tiny, nail-shaped spices have been used for centuries in various cuisines, but did you know that they also offer numerous health benefits? From fighting off infections to improving digestion, they have a surprising range of health benefits that can boost your overall wellness. Whether you’re looking to add some flavor to your meals or want to improve your immune system, cloves can be a valuable addition to your diet. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the surprising health benefits of cloves, and explore how you can incorporate them into your daily routine. So let’s dive in and discover the many ways they can help you stay healthy and vibrant.

History & Background

They are the aromatic flower buds of the clove tree, which is native to Indonesia. The use of cloves dates back to ancient times, and they were highly valued by the Greeks, Romans, and Chinese for their medicinal properties. The Chinese used them to treat a variety of ailments, including nausea, diarrhea, and kidney problems. In Europe, they were used as a remedy for toothaches and digestive issues.

During the Middle Ages, cloves were highly prized and were traded as a luxury item. In fact, they were so valuable that they were used as a form of currency. The demand for cloves led to the colonization of the Spice Islands by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British.

Today, they are widely used in cooking and can be found in cuisines around the world. They are also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. They are also used in the confectionary industry to add the unique clove flavor to sweets.

What form do they come in?

They can be found in various forms, including whole cloves, ground cloves, and clove oil. Whole cloves are the dried flower buds of the clove tree and can be used in cooking or as a natural remedy. Ground cloves are made by grinding the dried buds into a powder and are often used in baking or as a spice. Clove oil is made by distilling the buds and is used in aromatherapy and as a natural remedy.

Whole Clove

Whole Clove by Spice Train.

Sourced & packed in India for added freshness.
100% pure whole high-grade clove.
Non-GMO, gluten-free, no sugar or additives.

10 ounces of flavor in a resealable package.

Are Cloves good for you?

Cloves are packed with nutrients and offer numerous health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, which help to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. They also contain a compound called eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

One of the most significant health benefits of cloves is their ability to fight off infections. They have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, which means they can help to kill harmful bacteria and fungi. They are also a natural remedy for toothaches and can help to relieve pain and inflammation.

Cloves have been shown to have a positive effect on digestion. They can help to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which can improve the absorption of nutrients from food. They can also help to relieve digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation.

Pros & Cons of eating Cloves

Cloves are aromatic flower buds that have been used in cooking and traditional medicine for centuries. They offer various potential health benefits, but they also have certain drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons of eating them:


  1. Nutrient-rich: They are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and fiber. These nutrients contribute to overall health and well-being.
  2. Antioxidant properties: They are rich in antioxidants, such as eugenol, which can help protect cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals. Antioxidants are associated with reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  3. Anti-inflammatory effects: The compounds found in them, especially eugenol, have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming them may help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions.
  4. Digestive aid: They have traditionally been used to support digestion. They can help stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, reduce gas and bloating, and relieve indigestion.
  5. Oral health benefits: They have antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help fight oral infections, soothe toothaches, and freshen breath. Clove oil is commonly used in dental products for its antimicrobial effects.


  1. Potential allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to cloves or develop an allergic reaction upon consumption. Allergies can cause symptoms like skin rashes, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you have known allergies, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before adding them to your diet.
  2. Potential drug interactions: They contain compounds that may interact with certain medications. For example, cloves may interfere with blood clotting, and consuming them alongside blood-thinning medications like warfarin could increase the risk of bleeding. If you are taking any medications, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare provider before consuming large amounts of cloves.
  3. Possible gastrointestinal issues: While they can aid digestion for most people, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including heartburn, acid reflux, or stomach upset, when consuming them in excess. It’s important to listen to your body and consume them in moderation.
  4. Strong flavor: They have a strong and distinctive flavor. While this can be appealing in some dishes, it may not be to everyone’s liking. The strong taste of cloves can overpower other flavors and may not be suitable for all recipes or personal preferences.
  5. Potential toxicity in large amounts: Cloves are generally safe for consumption in culinary amounts. However, consuming extremely large quantities of them or using high concentrations of clove oil can be toxic. It’s important to use cloves in moderation and follow recommended guidelines.

As with any dietary consideration, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice, especially if you have specific health conditions or concerns.

Flavor Profile of Cloves

So what do cloves taste like? Cloves have a warm, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor. They have a strong aroma and are often used in combination with other spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. They are a versatile spice and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

How to use cloves in cooking

Cloves are a popular spice in many cuisines and can be used in a variety of dishes. The taste of cloves can bring an extra layer of flavor to your cuisine. They are often used in baking and can be added to cakes, cookies, and bread. They are also a common spice in savory dishes and can be used in stews, curries, and marinades.

I always use cloves when stewing apples. Just by adding 2 or 3 cloves into the pan with the apples, sugar and a small amount of water, means that the sweet clove flavor mixes with the apples – delicious! I also add them to our mulled wine mix at Christmas as this allows for the warmth and depth of flavor to warm up through the wine.

When using whole cloves, it’s important to remove them from the dish before serving as they can be quite strong. Ground cloves can be added directly to dishes, but it’s important to use them sparingly as they can quickly overpower other flavors.

Alternative uses for Cloves

In addition to their culinary uses, cloves have a variety of alternative uses. Clove oil can be used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It can also be applied topically to relieve pain and inflammation.

They are a natural remedy for toothaches and can be used to relieve pain and inflammation. Simply place a whole clove or a few drops of clove oil on the affected tooth or gums.

They can also be used to repel insects. Simply place a few whole cloves in a bowl of water and place it in the room where you want to repel insects.

Substitutes for Cloves

If you don’t have cloves on hand, there are several substitutes that you can use. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice all have a similar flavor profile taste to cloves and can be used as a substitute in recipes.

Have a look at our substitutes section for ideas on what other ingredient you can use in place of Cloves.


Cloves are a versatile spice that offer numerous health benefits. From fighting off infections to improving digestion, cloves can help to boost your overall wellness. Whether you’re using them in cooking or as a natural remedy, they are a valuable addition to your daily routine. The taste of cloves can add a unique flavor to your dishes. So why not try adding some cloves to your next meal and discover their surprising health benefits for yourself?