Are cloves edible?

In this brief article we will answer the question.”Are cloves edible?” We will explain what cloves are and look at their nutritional benefits. We will also discuss some potential health benefits of eating cloves. We will finally briefly explain how you can consume cloves.

Are cloves edible?

Sure, cloves are edible and can be consumed whole. They pack a lot of nutritional and medicinal benefits and add good textures and visual embellishments when you create dishes.

What are cloves?

Cloves are aromatic flower buds which come from an evergreen clove tree known as Syzygium aromaticum. They originated from Indonesia but have spread out to many regions such as Europe, Africa and Asia as a popular spice.

They can be used to spice up foods such as stews, soups, sauces, rice dishes and meat.

What is the nutritional profile of cloves?

Cloves are packed with lots of nutrients and also have compounds which have several health benefits such as regulation of blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy liver.

They are choking full with dietary fiber, essential vitamins and minerals and still add flavor to your food while at it. One teaspoon which is equivalent to 2 grams of ground cloves can typically provide the below nutritional content:

  • Calories: 5.8
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram 1% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
  • Total fat: 0.3 grams 0% of the RDI
  • Dietary fiber: 1 gram 2% of the RDI
  • Protein: 0.1 grams 0% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 55% of the RDI
  • Calcium 13 mg 1% of the RDI
  • Iron 0.3mg 2% of the RDI
  • Potassium 21mg 0% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 2% of the RDI
  • Vitamin D: 0 mcg 0% of the RDI

What are the health benefits of cloves?

They contain antioxidants

Cloves are touted as one of the best sources of potent polyphenols. 100 grams of cloves pack more than 15,000 mg of polyphenols. A gram of cloves which can have around 12 to 15 pieces of cloves as a serving size contains 152 mg of polyphenols which for context is the same amount in 100 grams of apple!

Polyphenols are organic compounds which have antioxidant properties and potential health benefits. They are the most abundant form of antioxidants in human diets. Consumption of a diet rich in polyphenols can help fight free radicals and protect against cell damage preventing certain types of cancers.

They have antimicrobial properties

Research has shown cloves to have antimicrobial properties which can curb the growth of harmful bacteria. One study showed clove oil capable of killing strains of common microbes such as E.coli which causes food infections.

The antibacterial characteristics present in cloves can help promote and maintain good oral health. Studies have shown that they halt the growth of 2 bacterias that contribute to gum disease. That is why they are widely used in herbal mouthwashes formulations.

They can improve liver health

Research has shown that cloves have important compounds that assist in promoting a healthy liver. This is because they contain a compound known as eugenol. 

Studies have shown that eugenol can promote liver function, reduce inflammation and lower the levels of oxidative stress. Cloves are choking full of antioxidants which can reduce the risk of liver disease by reducing oxidative stress.

They can promote bone health

Data shows that in the United States about 43 million of adults have low bone mass. This condition can result in the development of osteoporosis which can further the risks of bone fractures.

Some compounds present in cloves have been shown to maintain bone mass. Cloves are also high in manganese providing abou 30 percent of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) in 2 grams equivalent in just a teaspoon.

Manganese is an essential mineral in the development of bones and general bone health.

How do you eat cloves?

Cloves can be consumed whole as earlier mentioned or in powdered form as a spice. If you intend to eat whole cloves it is essential that you first soak them or cook them in water. You can add them to your smoothie to reap the power of their antioxidants.

To do this, soak about ten to twenty cloves in some water and use that water with the now softened cloves in your smoothie. You can also add whole cloves in your soup and stew to infuse flavor and reap some health benefits as highlighted above.

Other FAQs about Spices that you may be interested in.

What spice is similar to coriander?

Is garam masala the same as five-spice?

Does garam masala have turmeric?

What is a substitute for cardamom?


In this brief article we have answered the question.”Are cloves edible?” We have explained what cloves are and looked at their nutritional benefits. We have also discussed the health benefits of eating cloves. We have finally briefly explained how you can consume cloves.