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Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia, commonly employed as spice. Cloves are harvested primarily in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka- and the largest producer, Pemba Island, just off the coast of Tanzania.

Cloves are a versatile spice that can be used in drinks and in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Cloves are used in the cuisine of Asian, African, and the Near and Middle East, lending flavour to meats, curries, and marinades, as well as compliment to fruit such as apples, pears, or rhubarb. 85% of cloves' powerful taste is imparted by the chemical eugenol; the quantity of the spice required is consequently typically relatively small. It pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine and basil, as well as onion, citrus peel, star anise or peppercorns.

Health Benefits of Cloves

1. Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies.

2. Cloves are used as a carminative, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen are said to warm the digestive tract. Applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, it also relieves toothache.

3. You can temporarily alleviate the pain by dabbing a little clove oil on a cotton ball and placing it on the sore tooth or on your gums. An added benefit is that it will also pull out any infection.

4. Ayurveda suggests making a tea to lessen, or prevent, colds and flu. It is also used as an expectorant, making it easier to cough up phlegm. Cloves are a natural painkiller and also attack germs, so they'll help you get rid of that sore throat.

5. Use clove oil to massage sore muscles; some also use it for arthritis and rheumatism.

6. Cloves are pretty strong and can sting, so the best bet is to probably make a poultice with a little olive oil.

7. Cloves help relax the smooth lining of the GI tract, so they help alleviate vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal gas and stomachaches. Just be careful; since they're strong, they can also irritate the stomach.

8. Sometimes used as an aphrodisiac, cloves can also help men from reaching orgasm too early.

Read More at Wikipedia.
Recipes Using Cloves, and also see Here.

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