By Sari Huhtala
As a child, I remember smearing ground cloves on a tooth to ease a toothache, but since then haven’t given much thought to this ancient spice as medicine, but scientists have. In fact, the antimicrobial activity in cloves is tough enough to kill bacteria such as E. Coli and fungal strains, researchers have found, not to mention its unique compounds that help to ease heartburn.
Clove tops the charts when it comes to antioxidant and antimicrobial activity among the spices, according to a 2014 scientific review in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. It’s surprising that clove essential oil is not widely promoted as an alternative to toxic hand sanitizers that even many primary school teachers are obsessing over to keep kid’s hands free of germs. Blending clove essential oil with witch hazel makes an ideal hand sanitizer, considering clove oil has been scientifically proven to kill not only E. coli, but staphylococcus aureus and bacillus cereus food borne pathogen, among other microbes.
In fact, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a scientific review in 2021, exploring alternatives to hand sanitizers and found “evidence that clove oil exhibited a profound antimicrobial activity against a broad range of microbes.”
Scientists also found the eugenol and carvacrol in clove essential oil act as a powerful antifungal agent, and suggest cloves show promise as a potential treatment of vaginal candidiasis.
In the 2014 review, Clove: a precious spice, researchers found clove oil may help with memory loss caused by oxidative stress.
Clove essential oil is considered a safe substance when consumed in moderation. The World Health Organization established a daily acceptable level of 2.5 mg clove per day/kg of weight in humans.
Have heartburn? Try crushing about six cloves to release their active oils, and simmering the cloves in one cup of water for about 10 minutes. Remove the cloves and drink as a tea or digestive tonic, according to Ancient Healing Secrets. Or, try adding ¼ tsp clove powder to warm water, then sipping as a tonic.
Sore throat? Cough? Suck on a couple of clove buds, break the buds to release oil even, until taste dissolves.
Need a parasite cleanse? Cloves, due to their high concentration of eugenol, are said to be the only herb that can destroy lingering parasite eggs in the system.
Or, simply up the ante with your next pot of stew by tossing clove buds in to boost antioxidants, or create your own chai tea mix, adding cloves to the fold.
(This information is not intended to replace medical advice and treatment from a health care practitioner).
Sari Huhtala is the creator, publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine. She has over 25 years experience in journalism and over 15 years experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. She is an organic farmer, wild-crafter and grandmother, who has spent over 20 years navigating a holistic, healthy path for her family.
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