The Magic Box of Spices and Condiments – Cloves

Anagha Arkatkar

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magic spice box

Spices and Condiments

The components which make Indian food special and popular all over the world are Spices and Condiments.  Spices give a very special aroma, palatability,  taste, and texture to the food. We, Indians make use of all our sensory organs while eating food. We make sure the use of spices should be such that all senses should get satisfaction.Eg

  • Food presentation should please our eyes
  • Aroma of food should satisfy our nose
  • Food should have a perfect texture
  • Finally, the taste of food should be perfect
spices and condiments

In the Indian kitchen, spices have been used for hundreds of years. They not only enhance the taste of food but also contain medicinal values.


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The aroma of Clove can be attributed to the Eugenol present in it. Clove also has acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophyllene, crategolic acid, tannins and kaempferol among other compounds. 

Cloves are well-known spices for their spicy and tangy taste. Their use can be dated back to 1721 BCE. It has been suggested that many wars have been fought in ancient times over the trade of clove. The first evidence of clove has been found in the Moluccas, where the parents planted a clove tree for every child that was born.


  1. Cloves are a rich source of antioxidants which help in reducing toxicity.
  2. Cloves give relief from a toothache.
  3. They release nasal congestion.
  4. Sucking of Cloves reduces lethargy and depression.
  5. Chewing of Cloves also reduces the desire for alcohol.
  6. Clove oil is used as an antidepressant in aromatherapy.
  7. Cloves may also alleviate nausea.
  8. They are used as a mouth freshener by some people too.
  9. Cloves increase the acid secretion in the stomach, thus aiding digestion. They also enhance the peristalsis.
  10. Chinese medicine uses cloves for treating various conditions like morning sickness, impotence, and diseases of spleen and stomach.

How to use

  1. Cloves can be chewed raw.
  2. They can be used in various vegetable, soups, rasam and also in some sweets.
  3. It can be used in tea masala.
  4. They can be wrapped in cotton or placed directly between teeth to relieve a toothache.
  5. In some cultures, cloves are burnt to ward off infections and are used as a fumigant.
  6. Cloves can also be adulterated. Some cloves available in the market have already been distilled and their oil removed- these are dark brown or black in color.

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