Clove: Overview of Potential Health Benefits

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Abstract

Whole cloves are prepared from the dried, unopened flower buds of the tropical evergreen tree Eugenia caryophyllata L. Merr and Perry (Myrtaceae), also known as Syzygium aromaticum. Culinary uses for clove include as a flavoring addition to meats, especially ham, stewed fruits, pickles, curries, pies, salads, and spiced alcoholic beverages. It also finds application in perfumes, oral products, and soaps. In Indonesia, cloves are added to tobacco in kreteks, aromatic high-tar cigarettes. Clove owes its value to the aromatic essential oil, obtained from the steam distillation of powdered clove buds or leaves. A predominant bioactive phytochemical present is eugenol [2-methoxy-4-(2-propenyl)phenol]. Numerous research studies have attempted to characterize the potential health benefits attributed to clove and eugenol. These include antimicrobial effects, management of diabetes, and amelioration of neurological problems. This review provides a summary of some of the potential health benefits of clove and the variety of scientific research on this topic.

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