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Clove-infused water has become a popular trend in recent years, even though it’s a traditional remedy that’s been used for centuries. What’s the deal with this aromatic beverage, and should you try it? Here’s why clove water may be beneficial to your health and how to use it. 

What is Clove Water?  

Clove water is a liquid preparation made by infusing or steeping cloves (dried buds of a tropical evergreen tree, Syzygium aromaticum) in water. The word “clove” comes from the Latin clavus, meaning nail, which is exactly what they look like. At Christmas, some people like to poke these “nails” into oranges, creating pomander as a historical form of aromatherapy.  

Clove trees are native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, but they also grow naturally in India, the West Indies, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Brazil. [1] The dried buds have been used for centuries in traditional medicine in various cultures, particularly in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. They were highly prized in ancient China and were part of the spice trade, which carried them to distant parts of the world. [2] 

Cloves have a strong, warm, and aromatic flavor and are used in various culinary and medicinal applications. Indian cuisines especially use cloves to enhance the flavor and digestibility of foods. Used as a spice, essential oil, or tea, they have many potential health benefits. 

What Are the Health Benefits?  

Cloves themselves are one of the highest antioxidant botanicals on earth, powerfully fighting free radicals and oxidative stress. [3] They’re also rich in nutrients, including manganese, vitamin K, and fiber. [4] Clove water is a traditional remedy and can serve several purposes:

1 – Promoting Dental Health

Clove oil has long been used as a remedy for toothaches due to a compound called eugenol. Eugenol, also present in cinnamon, Tulsi, and pepper, is known for its pain-relieving and antibacterial properties, making it helpful in addressing toothaches and gum issues. [5] 

 A 2014 study compared an herbal mouth rinse containing clove, tea tree oil, and basil with a commercially prepared mouthwash. The herbal mouth rinse effectively reduced bacteria count and plaque. [6] Clove water, therefore, can be used as a mouthwash to freshen breath and promote oral health.  

 2 – Digestive Support

Some people drink clove water to support digestion. Cloves have compounds that may help alleviate indigestion, bloating, and gas. [7] Finishing a meal with a glass of clove water as a digestif (after-dinner drink) may aid in digestion while serving as a natural breath freshener. It may also help stabilize your blood sugar.  

A 2019 clinical trial found that a water-soluble clove extract lowered blood sugar levels before and after meals in both pre-diabetics and healthy volunteers. [8] 

The compounds in clove also fight a variety of infections, including pathogenic bacteria, parasites, viruses, and Lyme co-infections. [9] They may also help to soothe ulcerations and inflammation in the stomach. [10]

3 – Immune Support

The eugenol in clove has also been extensively studied for its use in supporting the immune system. It may increase antibody secretion, restore and enhance B cells, and suppress T cells, optimizing the immune response against pathogens. [11] 

A review study published in 2022 concluded that eugenol has significant anti-cancer effects. It appeared to work in several ways: by promoting cancer cell destruction, reducing inflammation, inhibiting metastasis, and more. [12]

4 – Soothing Sore Throats

The natural antimicrobial and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties of the spice make clove water a popular home remedy for soothing sore throats. Its ability to soothe mucus linings and lower inflammation may also support healing. [13] Gargling with warm clove water may help alleviate throat discomfort and reduce irritation. 

5 – Respiratory Support

Clove tea has traditionally been used as an expectorant to support the body in getting rid of phlegm. Ayurvedic doctors in India would recommend breathing in the aroma of the clove tea as well as drinking it. [1]  

Inhaling the steam from clove water may help relieve congestion and respiratory discomfort. The aromatic vapor can help open the airways and soothe respiratory symptoms.  

6 – Promoting Bone Health

Bone health is one of the less well-known health benefits of cloves. However, animal research has found that eugenol in cloves improved markers of osteoporosis, including bone density, bone mineral content, and strength. [14]  

These results may be due to cloves’ manganese content. Just one teaspoon of ground cloves has over half the daily value of manganese, which is important for bone health. Animal research on manganese supplements found that 12 weeks (about 3 months) of supplementation increased bone mineral density and growth. [4][15]

7 – Supporting Clear Skin

Clove water can also help skin health. It can be applied topically to help alleviate acne or zits by inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria species linked to acne. [16][17] It may soothe discomfort when diluted with a carrier oil (such as almond or coconut) and used in small quantities. [18] 

How to Make Clove Water 

To make clove water, you just make a clove tea using whole cloves and hot water: 

  • 1 cup hot (not boiling) water 
  • 1 teaspoon of whole cloves 

Heat one cup of water, but do not boil. Measure out a teaspoon of cloves and add to the hot water. Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, strain out the cloves. Allow to cool to drinking temperature. You can also refrigerate it if you prefer a cool, refreshing version in the summer heat.  

If you’re planning on using it as a beverage, you can also sweeten it with honey, stevia, or a monk fruit sweetener and add other herbs and spices. Cinnamon, mint, or lemon all blend well with cloves. Ground cloves can also work, but in this form, they lose much of the essential oil. Using whole cloves leaves the essential oil (with all its constituents) intact.  

Keep These Things in Mind  

Use clove water in moderation and with care, as cloves have a strong and potent flavor. In high or concentrated doses, clove can also have some side effects.  

Excessive consumption or use can lead to a numbing or burning sensation in the mouth and throat. It’s also been tied to seizures and liver damage in children when used in high amounts. [19] Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid cloves in concentrated amounts.  

If you have allergies or underlying medical conditions or are currently taking medications, check with your local Wellness Way before using clove water as a remedy. 

Final Thoughts 

Clove water is full of potential health benefits, and it’s a warming, comforting spice that can soothe inflammation and digestive distress. If you’re not allergic to it, it may be worth trying for a few weeks to see how your body responds. For more scientifically backed guidance in supporting or restoring your health, contact a Wellness Way Clinic today!  

References

  1. Microsoft Word – 1 (phytojournal.com) 
  2. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): a precious spice – PMC (nih.gov) 
  3. Clove Essential Oil ( Syzygium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): Extraction, Chemical Composition, Food Applications, and Essential Bioactivity for Human Health – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  4. FoodData Central (usda.gov) 
  5. Eugenol as a Potential Drug Candidate: A Review – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  6. A comparative study of antiplaque and antigingivitis effects of herbal mouthrinse containing tea tree oil, clove, and basil with commercially available essential oil mouthrinse – PMC (nih.gov) 
  7. Antibacterial, Antibiofilm and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Eugenol Clove Essential Oil against Resistant Helicobacter pylori – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  8. Water-soluble polyphenol-rich clove extract lowers pre- and post-prandial blood glucose levels in healthy and prediabetic volunteers: an open label pilot study – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  9. Syzygium aromaticum L. (Myrtaceae): Traditional Uses, Bioactive Chemical Constituents, Pharmacological and Toxicological Activities – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  10. Preventive effect of eugenol on PAF and ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damage – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  11. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) ingredients affect lymphocyte subtypes expansion and cytokine profile responses: An in vitro evaluation – ScienceDirect 
  12. A comprehensive and systematic review on potential anticancer activities of eugenol: From pre-clinical evidence to molecular mechanisms of action – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  13. Syzygium aromaticum water extract attenuates ethanol‑induced gastric injury through antioxidant effects in rats – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  14. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum Linn) extract rich in eugenol and eugenol derivatives shows bone-preserving efficacy – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  15. Manganese supplementation improves mineral density of the spine and femur and serum osteocalcin in rats – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  16. 2012-39-2_28-36.pdf (mahidol.ac.th) 
  17. New insights into acne pathogenesis: Exploring the role of acne-associated microbial populations – ScienceDirect 
  18. Synthesis of eugenol derivatives and its anti-inflammatory activity against skin inflammation – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  19. Near fatal ingestion of oil of cloves – PubMed (nih.gov) 

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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