Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. They are native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, and are commonly used as a spice.
Medicinal properties and health benefits of cloves
The active principles in the clove are known to have antioxidant, antiseptic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative and anti-flatulent properties.
The spice contains health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol. It is a phenylpropanoids class of chemical compound which gives pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrances to the clove-bud. Eugenol has local anesthetic and antiseptic properties, hence; useful in dental care essentials as well as in treatment procedures.
The other important constituents in this spice include:
Essential oils: acetyl eugenol, β-caryophyllene, and vanillin, maslinic acid;
Tannins: gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller);
The flavonoids: eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin;
Triterpenoids: such as oleanolic acid, stigmasterol, and campesterol also, several sesquiterpenes.
The active principles in the cloves increase the gut motility and digestion power through improved gastrointestinal enzyme secretions. Thus, it helps relieve indigestion and constipation problems.
The spice also contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium. Potassium is an essential electrolyte of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. The human body uses manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.