Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet: How Clove Soothes Colds, Clears Skin, Protects the Liver & More
Clove, also known as Lavang, is an aromatic, pungent spice in Ayurvedic cooking and medicine. In addition to adding deep, powerful flavor to dishes and herbal teas, clove has also been used for hundreds of years as a wellness salve for treating colds and coughs, boosting liver function, combating bacteria and more. Clove can be used either ground or whole, and it is lauded for its impressive range of health and wellness benefits. Although it is pungent, spicy and warming, it is also believed to be a cooling agent in Ayurveda, making it a tri-doshic herb that is effective for remedying imbalance in all doshas. (However, it can still increase Pitta when taken in significant amounts, so those with Pitta dominance or a Pitta imbalance should consume it in moderation.)
Especially as we enter into spring allergy season, clove serves as an excellent remedy for symptoms like sore throat and cough. For instant sinus and throat relief, you can simply suck on 2 or 3 clove buds, spitting them out when they lose their flavor. (For more information on how to combat allergies based on your dosha, check out our blog here). However, its benefits extend far beyond its usage as a treatment of cold, flu and allergy symptoms. Read on to learn more about the surprising and wide-ranging benefits of clove.
Benefits of Clove
It’s high in antioxidants
Research has demonstrated that clove is an effective ingredient for combating free radical damage. Clove’s healing and detoxifying power comes in part from a compound called eugenol, which endows clove with potent antioxidant properties. As a result, clove is effective in reducing oxidative stress, which can lead to undesirable conditions such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and even chronic disease.
It fights off bacteria
As research has demonstrated, clove also contains potent antimicrobial properties, which enable it to fight off bacterial infections. This antibacterial effect also means that clove is effective in detoxifying bacteria that accumulates in the mouth and promoting improved oral health. Given that Ayurveda views our oral health to be indicative of underlying conditions in the body, it’s vital to establish a strong oral hygiene routine—through practices like oil pulling and tongue scraping—that can effectively rid the mouth of ama, or toxins. Clove is an excellent detoxifying source for this purpose, which is why we use it in our UMA Pure Detox Oil Pulling Treatment.
It protects the liver
Due to the antioxidant powers of eugenol, clove also boosts liver health, improving liver function, combating inflammation and reducing oxidative stress. Several studies have demonstrated clove’s potential to heal liver damage and promote overall liver health and functioning. (However, it’s important to note that eugenol can be toxic when consumed in high amounts, so always consult a medical professional before incorporating clove into your diet.)
It clears & brightens the skin
Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, clove also serves as an excellent anti-aging tool: not only does it combat the free radical damage that causes wrinkles and unevenness, but it also detoxifies and soothes the skin, combating acne and imbuing it with radiance. Our Deeply Clarifying line incorporates clove for this very reason, integrating it into formulas that brighten, clarify and clear the skin.
It combats stomach ulcers
Studies have indicated that clove can also alleviate stomach ulcers, which are painful sores induced by a thinned stomach lining. Clove helps to strengthen this lining by increasing the production of gastric mucus.
It relieves menstrual cramps
Clove’s antioxidant properties and its capacity to boost liver health also enable it to reduce inflammation and treat hormonal imbalances that are linked to menstrual pain. Such imbalances can be remedied by a healthy liver. As a result, clove can serve as a useful ingredient for relieving menstrual cramps