When you’re grocery shopping, make sure you get plenty of the health-benefiting staple for your spice rack – cloves!
The clove, Eugenia aromatica, also known as laung and lavang, is a flower bud of the clove tree that is native to the Spice Islands in Indonesia. The flower buds are handpicked when they are a pinkish hue and are then dried till they turn brown. The potent essential oil of the flower bud is responsible for the clove’s robust medicinal, nutritional and gastronomic profile. Interestingly, the clove is a valuable element in Ayurvedic as well as Chinese medicine.
The spice has a full-bodied, warm flavour with a hint of a sweet undertone. Cloves are used generously in Indian, Russian, Greek and Chinese cuisines.
The condiment has been used for thousands of years as a food preservative as well as a medicine and is greatly prized for its antioxidant and anti-microbial properties.
Nutritional value of cloves
The remarkable heath benefits and nutritional value of the spice is due to its active principle – eugenol. Eugenol, along with beta-caryophyllene makes the clove a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. Numerous studies have made known the fact that the spice has the immense potential to combat infection and inflammation and protect from environmental toxins too.
Laung contain strong antioxidants and are packed with vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber as well. The clove may be minuscule, but these super nutrients make it a colossal giant in terms of nutrition. It boasts of having lots of – iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, E and C.
7 miraculous benefits of clove
• Keeps blood sugar levels in check: Diabetics can ensure that their blood sugar profile stays in order by simply including cloves into their diet. Cloves have large amounts of eugenol, which plays a pivotal role in the regulation of blood sugar levels. They help push all the surplus sugar from the blood into the cells, thereby re-instating balance, and keeping the blood sugar level in check and preventing too many oscillations.
• Peps up digestion: Laung encourage the synthesis of saliva and gastric acids which enhance digestion significantly. The spice is known to tackle indigestion, nausea and bloating effectively. What’s more, clinical trials reveal that clove extracts can protect against stomach ulcers by increasing the manufacture of gastric mucus which works as a shield against erosion. In case you suffer from constant and frequent bouts of dyspepsia, make a decoction comprising of - cloves, cumin and ginger; and incorporate this drink into your daily routine.
• Maintains good oral health: One of the most notable advantages of clove is pain-relieving. Its excellent pain-allaying property is due to the presence of robust antioxidants, which act as a natural anti-septic and analgesic. It is undeniably the best home remedy to deal with toothache, tooth decay and offensive mouth odour. Indeed, one of the most valued uses of clove is its tremendous help in grappling with excruciating tooth aches. Laung can also help prevent gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. The clove bud essential oil prevents and combats the growth of microbes in the mouth responsible for various tooth and gum related diseases. In order to battle a toothache successfully, prepare clove tea by simmering whole cloves in boiling water for 15 minutes; use as a mouth wash daily. You could also use clove essential oil over the affected area for quick relief.
• Regulates hunger levels: Clove can squash those hunger pangs! It keeps the stomach from growling between meals and prevents you from frequently reaching out for a packet of wafers or cookies. For such a tiny spice, the clove has an impressive amount of fibre, and studies show that the clove fibre helps regulate hunger.
• Potent anti-inflammatory effects: The powerful anti-oxidants in the clove thwart the damaging effects of inflammation. Clove has the ability to ease inflammations and swellings appreciably and especially help with the management of arthritis. Massage the affected area with clove oil or ensure that you drink a cupful of clove tea daily; it will most definitely help fight inflammation.
• Bolsters the immune system: Packed with tough anti-oxidants, the clove promises to wrestle oxidative damage by scavenging and annihilating the free radicals, thus fortifying and revving up your immune system. Laung also contain high amounts of phenylpropanoids which proffer loads of anti-mutagenic properties. Research has shown that administering these compounds to cancer cells lessens the mutagenic effects considerably.
Quick cook ideas for clove
1. A simple way to garner the fabulous benefits of clove is to add about 3 to 5 to your herbal tea. Having a glass of this decoction promises you outstanding health benefits, with respect to the GI tract, detoxing and immune boosting.
2. Another quick way to add loads of the spice to your daily menu is to dust your morning smoothie with a pinch of powdered clove.
3. You can also reap the awesome health benefits of clove by adding some to your baked goods. When you add powdered clove to your muffins and breads, it instantly amps up the flavour quotient, the cozy vibes and your health profile. Try experimenting with powdered clove, a few chopped walnuts and some raisins!
4. Clove and coffee go well together too! Add a pinch of the powdered condiment to your coffee; it tastes simply splendid!
5. To give your curries and stir-fries a new flavour profile, add 1 to 2 pinches of powered clove – it gives a whole new twist to your recipe!
It is best to buy whole cloves instead of powdered cloves; given that the chief components in the condiment are very volatile, and the powdered form rapidly loses its flavor. When buying, choose organically grown cloves always. Cloves stay fresh for about a year; store them well in an air tight container in a cool, dark place.
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