Known to numb a toothache and dress up a ham, cloves are the dried flowers of the evergreen tree. Rich in numbing essential oils, cloves make a bold appearance around the fall season. One of the many tastes in a pumpkin spice mix, or warm apple cider, cloves are commonly paired with sweet tasting foods, here in the United States. In countries within South Asia, cloves are also used in savory dishes, from rich curries, garam masala blends and to perfume grains. From savory to sweet, these aromatic, pungent and slightly bitter tasting dried flowers are intense in flavor as they are in their medicinal value.
Through the lens of Ayurveda, cloves are known to stimulate sluggish digestion, boosting the digestive fire like black pepper. They also relieve gas, bloating and flatulence with their carminative properties. While cloves serve as a digestive aid, they are also a powerful anti-spasmodic and analgesic. Alleviating spasms, and relieving pain. Known to be helpful in suppressing coughs and expelling phlegm, cloves also support the respiratory channels. A powerful antiseptic and anti-fungal, cloves may feel warm, but according to Bhavaprakasa, a key textbook of Ayurveda, cloves have a cooling potency. Thus, they can increase the digestive fire, or agni, without aggravating pitta dosha.
THE BENEFITS OF CLOVES
- Increases the digestive fire
- Stimulates the appetite
- Reduces congestion, cough, and phlegm
- Relieves spasms in the digestive and respiratory channels
- Aids with relieving toothaches
- Pacifies kapha, pitta and vata dosha
HOW TO SPICE UP YOUR LIFE WITH CLOVES
Bake: add clove powder to spiced cookies, starchy fruit muffin, cake or pies like sweet potato, yams, banana, and pumpkin. Blends well with cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, fennel, and ginger.
Infusion/Stock: add a few cloves to boiling water when making rice, grains, pasta etc.. It will bring a wonderful aroma and a gentle flavor to the grains. The touch of essential oils, the slight bitterness, also helps balance the sweetness from the starch (addition add-ons black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon sticks and/or bay leaves)
Stews: add a clove or two to infuse into a rich, creamy stew using cumin, coriander for a subtle flavor and an aromatic boost.