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Clove: Health Benefits and Medical Uses

Clove is the dried flower bud of clove tree. It is an evergreen tree that grows in tropical climates, Southern India and Sri Lanka. It also grows in Africa. One clove is about 1/2 inch long including the stem and a head (also called cap) containing four petals and central raised and round part. It is reddish brown in color and part of spice family.

The clove belongs to dry-warm group like cinnamon but has much more dryness as compared to cinnamon. Upon chewing one can feel the dryness it creates. Since both belong to the same group, many of their medical uses (which I call effects) are similar to each other. If you understand cinnamon, it would be easier to understand the clove and use it for most of the ailments that belong to dry-cold group. Mostly it is used as whole but in some herbal preparations it is used without the head part. It can be used by chewing as it is, in powdered form, clove tea or clove oil depending on the purpose of its use. It is part of many recipes in which case it is generally not meant to act as medicine. Following are some of the health benefits and medical uses of clove.

Picture of Clove
  • Most commonly known use is for toothache. Oil of clove may be applied to the gum or a whole clove may be kept pressed on aching side between the teeth.
  • It is safe and effective as mouth wash and for bad breath.
  • It can quickly relieve the running nose if it is due to exposure to cold. In mild cases just smelling the clove helps.
  • It can be used as antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic.
  • It is an effective treatment for diarrhea and vomiting where the discharge is watery, not pasty.
  • It is a great help in cases of cholera and malarial fevers.
  • Clove stimulates digestive system and helps indigestion, can help stomach ulcers but if it is associated with constipation and/or bleeding hemorrhoids, clove might not be the solution. Please keep its drying property in mind.
  • Clove has the capability to cure cancers when used with a suitable herb having warm-wet effects. Clove alone might not help in all cases of cancer. It must be used only under the advice of an experienced herbal practitioner.
  • It is also used to treat psoriasis but it should be remembered that initially it might cause sever aggravation.
  • Applying oil of clove to the forehead and temples can relieve certain types of headache particularly those caused by cold.
  • Clove is also used to enhance sexual power in men. Oil of clove is said to be effective when used externally.

Finally, as I always recommend, never use any medicinal substance casually. It is always better to consult an expert and follow his/her advice.