Cloves are high on vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, the main component responsible for clove’s power packed performance and odor is eugenol. Eugenol is toxic against harmful organisms, including fungus, and may even relieve discomfort.
Often touted as a potent dental pain reliever. Its composition is 70-85% eugenol, 15% eugenic acetate and 5-10% B-caryophyllene. Eugenol has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory & anesthetic properties due to its ability to inhibit sodium ions in peripheral nerves.
The sweet aroma of clove is partly influenced by eugenol but minor compounds such as 2-heptanone and methyl salicylate. Interesting fact is that methyl salicylate is also the compound secreted by honeybees in self defense and has anesthetic effect.
High level of phenolic compounds are the boon for clove. They are known to play important roles from tooth pain relief right upto cancer prevention and cure. Bioactivities of phenolic compounds are responsible for their chemo-preventive properties.
Professor Juana Fernández-López, from Spain's Miguel Hernández University, said cloves were a versatile spice. "Out of the five antioxidant properties tested, cloves had the highest capacity to give off hydrogen, reduced lipid peroxidation well, and was the best iron reducer”.
The research study, published in the latest issue of the Flavour and Fragrance Journal, ranked the spice as the best natural antioxidant.