Cloves are considered a staple spice in kitchens around the world, but they offer much more than an aromatic flavor. The active compounds of cloves have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
Cloves are among the most notable vegetable sources of phenolic acids, which are powerful antioxidants with a potential protective role against degenerative diseases, and have proven useful for the treatment of memory deficits caused by oxidative stress.
The most abundant phenolic compound present in cloves’ essential oil is eugenol, which is the main active ingredient behind their antimicrobial, antifungal, and analgesic properties.
Eugenol has been shown to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, S. aureus, L. monocytogenes, and B. cereus, as well as to disintegrate the cellular walls of a variety of fungus.
Often used as a general anesthetic, clove oil is applied topically to relieve toothache, and clove infusions help reduce the joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.