Nope, I don’t mean cloves of garlic. When I think of cloves, three things come to mind. How strange they look, chicken and chai tea. When I was growing up, there were a few times that my Ouma stuck a few cloves into the chicken that she was cooking. I remember not quite liking the way the chicken tasted with this flavour. Having said that, the flavour of the actual spice itself isn’t bad at all. As you know by now, I love chai. Chai tastes great and this wonderful spice is one of the reasons it tastes so good. Let’s take a look at some of the awesome health benefits of cloves:
- Helps soothe stomach upsets like nausea, gas and needing to run to the loo all the time.
- Cloves have anti-inflammatory properties, they can be used to help ease toothaches, sore throats, and mouths, although more evidence is needed to fully prove this for sure.
- No more bad breath!
- If you have some phlegm on your chest, cloves can help loosen it so that you can get rid of it. I cringed too as I wrote that sentence! More motivation for getting better quicker.
- They boost your immune system, this is always welcome, especially in winter and when the seasons change. Say no to flu!
- They can also help men who experience problems in the bedroom, check out WebMD for details, the link is in the sources at the bottom.
- They contain lots of good vitamins and minerals: Magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, and vitamin C.
Time for the nitty gritty. Cloves do have some side effects that you need to be aware of. If you are on any medication to help with bleeding disorders or if you have had surgery recently or are scheduled to have surgery in the next few weeks, first check with your doctor before using cloves. They can slow down blood clotting and so can interfere with those types of medications or if you already struggle with your blood clotting it could make the problem worse. Cloves should be safe to eat if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, but if you want to use it for medicinal purposes it’s definitely best to consult your doctor. I didn’t know this before today, but you can get clove cigarettes. As with normal cigarettes, these are not healthy. That’s it for the downside of things.
Back to the happy side of things. Once again, we have a versatile spice that can be used in a lot of different dishes. Cloves can be used in savoury dishes as mentioned with my Ouma’s chicken. It’s used in a lot of Indian cooking, both in meat dishes and vegetable dishes and can add that special flavour to dishes you feel need some spicing up. I will admit that I am having some trouble describing the taste of cloves, but sweetish definitely comes to mind, balanced with a little bitterness. You will just need to try it for yourself. There are also yummy puddings that contain this spice, as well as drinks, such as a delicious chai latte or chai tea. Google clove recipes for lots of new ideas and recipes.
Next week I’ll post the final spice in my chai latte/tea spice series, so don’t miss it. I’ll add in a recipe for chai tea too. Enjoy cooking with cloves and getting healthier every day!