Thursday, December 04, 2014

Herb of the Week: Cloves

Ah, cloves. The sweet, spicy aroma mixing with the citrus of oranges and pine can bring anyone back to their grandma’s house during the holidays. I remember when I was little sticking cloves into lemons, limes, oranges, or clementines to give our home that complex and inviting fragrance that seemed to be the jump start to our festivities.

Recently, I’ve found that cloves can be used for more than just pomanders, though.  Often used in mulling spices, teas, and cooking, cloves are can be found in many family recipes. Cloves can be used medicinally as well. Clove oil has been used for centuries to relieve pain, especially pain associated with cavities, toothaches, and root canals.

Clove oil is analgesic, anti-aging, antibacterial, anticlotting, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, carminative, expectorant, insecticide, stimulant. It contains eugenol, which is used in countless toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other dental hygienic products. Eugenol has been known to ease toothaches and sore throats but may also help keep your mouth clean and bacteria free.

Some use clove oil in their own body care and cosmetics. Because it is warming, clove can encourage circulation to the skin giving it a more youthful look. By improving circulation it can also soothe sore muscles. Adding it into your moisturizer or massage oil could be just the pick-me-up you need in the winter.

One of my favorite uses for them however is when cloves mixed into licorice tea. When the two react to the warm water the aroma is intoxicating and the warming energetics of both the herbs can bring anyone with a sore throat or stuffy nose relief.

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