Used by many cultures as a spice, cloves have also had a place in traditional medicine around the world for centuries. People have traditionally used it for digestive issues, intestinal worms, respiratory illnesses and even as an aphrodisiac. Modern science has approved the use of cloves for diabetes and cancer prevention and has recognized its anti-fungal properties and role in oral health. Both the leaves of the clove plant and the clove buds commonly used as spices have been found to have significant benefits.
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In a 2012 study published in the "Journal of Natural Medicines," scientists found that cloves had a hypoglycemic effect in mice. In the lab, they introduced glucose to mice with type-2 diabetes. Then they gave some mice a placebo and others clove bud extract. Those given clove extract suppressed the increase in blood glucose level, whereas the placebo mice experienced high rises in glucose levels. The scientists concluded that clove buds have the potential to aid in the prevention of type-2 diabetes.
In a 2013 study published in "International Journal of Green Pharmacy," scientists found that clove leaves are high in antioxidants. They concluded that by eliminating free radicals, clove leaf extract was able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells when studied in isolation in the lab. They suggest cloves have a use in pharmacy for the prevention of cancer. Taking a clove leaf supplement hasn't been proved to treat cancer, but it may aid in cancer prevention efforts due to the high antioxidant content.
In a 2009 study published in the "Journal of Medical Microbiology," scientists looked at the effect of clove bud oil on fungi that can live inside the human body, including candida and aspergillus. They found that clove oil, when isolated in the lab, significantly reduced the fungal cell membrane. Clove almost completely inhibited all growth of candida in particular. In a 2005 study on mice published in the "Japanese Journal of Medical Mycology," clove leaves administered directly to the stomach reduced the number of candida (fungi) cells. Taking ground clove supplements will have an anti-fungal effect in your body and can help prevent infections.
In the same study, when scientists introduced clove leaves to the mouths of candida-infected mice, the oral health of the mice improved. This means that chewing clove leaves rather than taking them in capsules will help you if you're having problems with dental cavities. When the clove leaves were introduced to the mice into the stomachs, their oral cavities were not improved. Besides candida infections, cloves can also fight other bacteria and fungi, according to a study published in 1996 in the "Journal of Natural Products."