What Are Cloves Used For?


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Cloves have both medicinal and culinary uses. Oil of cloves has long been used topically in the mouth to soothe inflammation and numb toothache. There is evidence that cloves have anti-bacterial, anti-septic and anti-viral properties as well as functioning as a gentle anaesthetic used by dentists. There is evidence that the Chinese used clove for a number of healing purposes in the 3rd century BC. In the kitchen clove are associated with the rich foods of Christmas. Clove studded baked hams are a traditional item as are rich fruit puddings and cakes flavoured with clove. Cloves do act as preservatives for meat but their use now is limited to a few tradition such as the Christmas ham, the use of a clove studded onion in some boiled meat dishes and their introduction into pickles and marinades. Cloves are an important part of many traditional Indian and Chinese spice mixtures and may be present in many Garam Marsala, a traditional Indian ground mix of spices.

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