If you’ve spent any time baking (or even if you just enjoy goodies baked by friends!), you’ve probably heard of cloves. The clove spice comes from the dried flower buds of the clove plant, which is native to Indonesia, and is used to add spice and flavor to a variety of dishes—like all of the pumpkin-flavored drinks, dishes, and baked goods of the fall (including the beloved pumpkin spice latte). You can also drink clove tea or clove water for its potential health and wellness benefits. Here I’ll take you through the basics of clove water and how you can make your own at home, as well as a few common-sense precautions.
What Is Clove Water?
Clove water (sometimes called clove tea) is simply regular water that has been steeped in cloves. The flavor by itself isn’t for everyone (it’s pretty strong and spicy!), so some people like to mix in other spices, too, like cinnamon and cumin. Like other teas, you can add sweeteners or milk and drink it hot, chilled, or over ice. Additionally, some people like to use clove water as a hair rinse to promote growth and a healthy scalp.
Clove Water Benefits + Potential Side Effects
I’ll begin with an important disclaimer: While the clove plant is used in traditional and alternative medicine practices, the FDA has not approved it for any medical use. If you’re planning to try clove water, you should know in advance that it is not an appropriate substitute for professional medical care, and it can cause serious side effects.
People who promote clove water say it helps with issues like tooth pain, sore throat, and gastrointestinal distress, but there is little scientific evidence to support these claims. Because it’s not approved for medical use, research on its effects is somewhat scarce, so you should exercise caution with it. Some people may experience an allergic reaction after consuming cloves or applying them to the skin. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience a rash or hives, skin irritation, or any of the other potential side effects of drinking clove water.
As always, before beginning any new supplement regimen, you should consult your doctor and make sure what you’re taking is safe for you. If you’re pregnant, you should wait until after you’ve delivered your baby and finished breastfeeding before using cloves as a supplement. Additionally, cloves may interact with medications for managing diabetes, which could cause your blood glucose level to drop too low.
I don’t mean to be a downer here! If you think you’d enjoy the taste of clove water and have nothing in your personal health history that would raise any red flags, give it a try. Although cloves have no scientifically proven medical uses at this time, they can be part of a balanced and nutritious diet. Additionally, if you love clove water or tea, you may find it helps you to meet your daily hydration needs. Personally, I don’t find it easy to sip my way through the recommended eight glasses of plain water a day—I do better with something lightly flavored.
You can also try rinsing your hair with clove water for hair and scalp health—although, again, the jury’s still out on whether it’s truly effective. It’s probably a good idea for you to do a patch test on a small area of your skin before applying it to your entire head. When you’re sure the clove water won’t cause any irritation or other reaction, you can use it as a rinse in your shower or over your bathroom sink. If nothing else, your bathroom will smell great afterward!
Benefits and DANGERS of Using Cloves for Hair Growth – DiscoveringNatural
How to Make Clove Water at Home
Making your own clove water at home is easy! Add a cup of water to a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and add whole cloves. You may want to begin with just two whole cloves, as they’re pretty pungent and spicy; you can always add more to your next batch if you want it stronger. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for fifteen minutes. Strain the water, discard the cloves, and use as desired. If you don’t like the taste of straight cloves, you can try combining them with ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, or black pepper. If you’d like to sweeten your drink, you can add a teaspoon of sugar, maple syrup, or honey and allow it to dissolve in the tea.
Do you like drinking infused water? Try combining orange slices, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice in a mason jar with water and let it sit overnight. The following day, strain the ingredients and enjoy your flavored water for a flavorful beverage that hydrates without any caffeine or added sugar.
If clove water truly isn’t for you, there are other (more subtle!) ways to incorporate cloves into your diet and enjoy their nutritional benefits. You can add them to your coffee for a fall-weather drink that doesn’t pack nearly as many calories and grams of fat as a traditional pumpkin spice latte. You can use cloves in a marinade for chicken or a glaze for ham. Or you can give this quick and easy clove cookie recipe a try for a sweet and spicy dessert.
Be a Smart Consumer
Whenever you read something that makes amazing claims about the health benefits of an herb or spice, be sure to do your due diligence before you give it a try. Just as you and your doctor should have a discussion about your health history before trying new medicine, it’s wise to review all the facts before you dive in. What works for one person may not be appropriate for the next, as everyone responds to foods, drugs, and supplements differently. If you’re interested in trying clove water for any of its purported benefits, be sure it’s safe for you to consume. Ultimately, the right diet and supplement regimen for you is the one that makes you feel healthy, happy, and ready to be your best self.