Indian spices are well-known for the authentic flavours and taste they add to our dishes. Not only do they make our food delicious but also their consumption supports our health system. One can find cloves easily in any Indian kitchen, as they have been in use for years in different traditional manners.
Cloves are rich in antioxidants and are extracted from the flower buds of the evergreen tree, which is native to the North Moluccas Islands in Indonesia.
Clove trees grow about 20-40 feet in height. After 6 years, little flower buds appear and in about 20 years the tree becomes fully matured, which further bears fruits for more than 80 years. Flowers are ready to pluck and collect when they turn into bright red colour. These buds are handpicked during summer and also in winter which are sun-dried, which contain 14-12 per cent of essential oils.
The oldest clove tree was found in ternate named 'Afo', it is believed to be 350-400 years old. During 200 BC, ministers from Java to the Han-dynasty court of China used to bring cloves and use them to perfume their breath with its help while encountering the emperor.
In the Middle Ages, cloves were used to garnish food, preserve and flavour food in the 18th century. French people also smuggled the clove tree seedlings to the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. To sell cloves at higher rates, dutch people eradicated the clove trees from all the islands except Amboina and Ternate to create its scarcity.
Benefits of clove:
Cloves help in controlling diabetes, using cloves in everyday meals can really help in maintaining blood sugar levels, it enhances the sensitivity of insulin and helps it to work properly for efficient working.
If you are suffering from a toothache, a clove is helpful in releasing pain. According to the American Dental Association, clove oil is proven to improve oral issues like toothaches, dental pain, mouth ulcers and sore gums.
Eugenol, in cloves, helps to keep harmful bacteria, viruses and fungus away and boost the immune system. Science also states consuming cloves in small amounts helps in improving bone health and promoting the digestive system.
They are best to release gastric problems, irritation and nausea. To stay away from cancer you should consume more cloves. One of the amazing facts about clove is that you can add it in both spicy and sweet food to moderate its flavour and give it uniqueness. You can add a powder form of clove to your tea while boiling it.
Adding cloves in sweet dishes like gajar ka halwa gives it an authentic taste and balances the flavour if sweetness increases in the dish. You can also add a powder form of clove in garam masala, which is almost part of every Indian dish. Adding cloves in warm beverages in winters gives a unique taste and protects you from cold. You can also add it in dal, sabzi and biryani.