Cloves In and Out of the Kitchen

whole clovesMeeting an emperor or a sheikh? Here you have a great herb, with medicinal uses beyond the kitchen! Image via elenadan

Spices are so versatile, if you have a look around your kitchen, you will find many spices have more than a simple culinary use. One of these amazing spices is cloves, and while you might be aware of its versatility in the kitchen, there are some other medical factors, which you might not know about.

Cloves originally came from Asia and it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that they became more widely used in Europe. In Asia, for over two thousand years, they have been used, in fact it is said that in the Chinese court, nobles had to chew cloves to sweeten their breath before approaching the emperor.

There are several other uses for cloves as a result of it having several medical properties including being antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic as well as being a natural anesthetic. This means that there are many ways for you to take advantage of the natural healing capabilities of cloves.

1. To begin with, cloves are an amazing solution to toothache. Instead of swallowing handfuls of painkillers, you can try putting a whole clove directly onto the gum around the affected area. You will find that this will numb the area giving you relief within a few short minutes.

2. Beyond a simple toothache, if you have a teething toddler, cloves can be safely used to relieve their pain as well as yours. All you need to do is crush up a clove or two and using your finger, gently rub their gums on both sides. This is a remedy that you don’t have to be afraid of overusing.

3. As an antibacterial, cloves have other uses. They have a high level of a compound called eugenol, which numbs and kills bacteria, making cloves an excellent way to get rid of a cold. Just heat up (without boiling) some red wine with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey, you will have what is known as mulled wine. This was often used in medieval times to repel the common cold, and lets face it, it is much tastier than the flu medicines we have today.

Even though it is summer here in the Middle East, with air conditioning turned up high indoors and the heat and humidity rising outside, getting a cold becomes more than just a winter annoyance. So keep your cloves handy and next time you get a cold, see what it can do for you.

Read more on versatile plants:
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