Cloves are small brown herbs cultivated in various parts of the world. The herb is used for topical purposes (in the form of oil and powder), in cooking (as a spice) and as a medicine (internal consumption). Traditionally cloves have been used in a variety of cuisines and in dishes due to their medicinal properties. The famous Biriyani uses this spice as a key ingredient without which its unique flavor would be missing!

Nutrition information

Cloves are packed with nutrition and these dried flower buds used as a spice is packed with calories too. But we generally use very little in cooking – so lets not talk about calories here! Cloves are rich in calcium, magnesium, dietary fibre, Iron and Potassium. They also contain good amounts of Sodium and vitamin B6. Wow – right?!

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Treats toothache

Clove oil can be used as an  instant remedy for tooth ache. Soak just the tip of a cotton ball in clove oil and press it firmly but gently on the affected tooth. Keep it on for a few minutes. You can repeat this a few times each day for relief from tooth and gum ache. The anti-inflammatory properties of clove oil helps to alleviate the pain.

Treats stomach problems

Cloves treat indigestion, stomach aches and a variety of stomach problems. It is also found effective in treating flatulence.

A herbal tea can be made by following the below steps:

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Add 8 – 10 cloves to the boiling water. (you could also use two teaspoons of clove powder if that is easily available)
  3. Allow to boil well so that you get a stronger extract / decoction.
  4. Squeeze the cloves and strain well.
  5. You can dilute the decoction and drink it like a tea.
  6. Add little palm sugar if needed to enhance the taste.


Cures cough and sore throat

You can chew on a clove or two slowly and suck on the juice. This will provide relief from sore throat than the lozenges that you pop in. Most of the time, a clove or two every three hours a day helps me to get relief from sore throat.

To treat ear aches

Add half teaspoon of clove oil to 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Heat the oil mixture and allow it to cool down till warm (not hot but warm – almost room temperature) Lie on one side. Pour one teaspoon of the oil in the aching ear and wait for ten minutes. Wipe off the oil after that. This will soothe any pain due to inflammation and give your relief.

Caution: First check well with the help of a light to see if the ear pain isn’t due to insects or any other foreign object in the ear. If you are sure, then proceed with this treatment.

As a stress reliever (in aromatherapy)

Clove oil is used in aromatherapy for its wonderful stress relieving effects. Add a few drops of essential oil of clove in a diffuser and allow it to slowly evaporate. Inhaling this aroma can help to get relief from headache and nausea. Whenever you use clove oil, mix it with some olive oil and then use it. Strong clove oil is said to have some side effects such as burning sensation and allergic reaction. Although this varies from person to person, it doesn’t hurt to exercise precaution.


Antiparasital properties

Cloves can be given to kids to get rid of intestinal worms. The anti-parasital properties of cloves helps to deworm both for adults and kids. Just two cloves will be sufficient for kids. (Age 4+) Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties help to fight bacteria and fungi effectively.

Oh and by the way… cloves can be used to deworm dogs too!

Remedy for headaches

Mix clove oil with little ash and make a paste by adding water and apply on the forehead. Leave it on for ten minutes and you can get relief from headaches. In India, sacred ash is easily available and this is typically used. Sacred ash is nothing but ash of dry cow dung. The anti-inflammatory properties of cloves that work for tooth aches, works for headache too.


Cloves have the property to regulate insulin levels in the blood. According to scientists, the concentration of phenol in cloves helps to regulate glucose levels. But this should be a gradual treatment like including few cloves in your daily diet instead of strong treatments.

Morning sickness

The first trimester of pregnancy is a difficult time for many women. If you are anyone like me, morning sickness will just make you want to throw up everything. There were days I felt there was no food left in my tummy for the baby to grow. Cloves are very helpful to reduce nausea during pregnancy. Although there is no proven side effect of consuming cloves during pregnancy, I would suggest aromatherapy using clove oil for relief. Why try something new to your stomach during such a delicate time? I know I didn’t!

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.