Cloves: What Are Their Health Benefits and Nutritional Value?


Cloves are the dried flower buds from the clove tree. Many people use them as a spice in sauces, stews, rice dishes, and soups. The word clove comes from “clavus,” a Latin word meaning “nail”, probably owing to the fact that a dried clove looks like a nail. For many years, people have used cloves in traditional medicines and cooking. However, scientists have lately started to ponder the possible health advantages of cloves.

Continue reading to find out what health benefits and possible risks cloves may have, as well as learn about how to use them. However, first, let’s take a look at the nutrition facts of cloves!

Nutrition information

As per the Department of Agriculture of the United States “National Nutrient Database,” 1 teaspoon or 2.1 grams (g) of ground cloves contains:

  • 0.7g of fiber
  • 0.27g of total fat
  • 6 kilocalories (kcal)
  • 1.38g of carbohydrates
  • 0.13g of protein
  • 1.263 mg of manganese, (63% of the daily value).

Health Benefits of Cloves

Thanks to all these amazing nutrients, cloves provide a wide assortment of health advantages. Some of the most significant health benefits of cloves include:

Oral Health:

To maintain Oral Health, researchers recommend clove oil as a natural remedy because it affects gingivitis, bacteria, and plaque in the mouth. Scientists even compared the efficacy of commercially available oil mouth rinses with an herbal mouth rinse made of basil, tea tree oil, and cloves.

Both mouth rinses were efficient against gingivitis and plaque, aiding in fighting oral bacteria and reducing inflammation. The scientists also found that mouth rinses containing cloves killed more harmful bacteria than commercial mouth rinses.


According to recent research, nigericin and other extracts of cloves decreased the resistance of insulin in muscle cells of mice. Diabetic mice that consumed nigericin also showed enhancement in beta cell functions, glucose tolerance, and the secretion of insulin.

In a separate study, diabetic rats were given powdered cloves. In the end, these rats had a lower level of blood sugar in comparison to the rats that were not given the clove powder.


Various spices and herbs are rich in antioxidants, which helps in decreasing damage to the cells that can cause cancer. According to an expert dietitian:

“There are more antioxidants in ½ teaspoon of ground clove as compared to a ½  cup of blueberries.”

In lab research, researchers found that clove extract can delay the growth of different forms of cancer cells. It can also destroy the cancerous cells that may cause colon cancer or Bone Cancer. The same research also concluded that rats that received clove extract had a lower growth of tumors in comparison to rats that didn’t.

Another study sheds light on the positive impacts of clove extract on human breast cancer cells. This study showed that ethanol extracts of clove and essential oil are toxic to breast cancer cells.

The researchers stated that cloves might play a constructive role in the future of cancer treatment as they can delay the multiplication of cancerous cells as well as destroy them.


Researchers also examined the effect of cloves on obesity. In a study conducted on mice, scientists observed that clove extract decreased the incidence of obesity arising due to fat-rich diets. Mice who received the clove extract were lower in weight and had less abdominal fat in comparison to the control group.

Considerations, risks, and side effects:

As per the National Center for Biotechnology Information, clove oil has a few negative side effects. It may cause allergic reactions on the skin or cause respiratory irritation. It is also combustible, and it can be lethal if it gets into the airway when swallowing.

According to a case report, a 15-month old child suffered from liver failure after consuming 10 ml of clove oil. In another incident, a 2-year-old child consumed 5-10 ml of clove oil and ended up with serious medical issues such as liver damage and blood clotting problems, along with ending up in a coma.

So, it’s essential to seek expert medical advice before consuming any herbal products to protect yourself from side effects.


You can purchase whole or ground cloves to use in cooking. You can include cloves in various cuisines. Moreover, it is also an essential ingredient in Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.

Cloves are also used for aroma in some perfumes. Clove oil has been used in traditional medicine for oral health and has been used in Ayurveda (a classical medicine of India). Cloves also provide a soothing effect and may cause a numbing sensation to relive pain.

How to use cloves?

As with ginger and cinnamon, you can use ground cloves in cooking. Moreover, you can use it to enhance the flavor in cookies, muffins, and oatmeal. It is also an active ingredient in gingerbread.

You can use cloves in several hot and cold beverages such as tea and lemonade to enhance their taste. Moreover, you can include it in many types of dishes. However, it is best suited for slow cooking.


As a fragrant spice, cloves can add a rich taste to various dishes. Its medical advantages are being reviewed, but there is room for more research. We highly recommend you to consult with medical experts about the safety and uses of cloves before using it or any other herbal product.