4 Clever Uses for Cloves
Break out this winter spice to clear up colds, mold, and skin problems, too.
Believe it or not, a tea that contains cloves can help you kick a respiratory infection. "Cloves work as an expectorant, loosening mucus in the throat and esophagus so you can cough it up," explains Neil Schachter, MD, a professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
After seeing your own doc (to rule out a bacterial infection), try Dr. Schachter’s healing brew: Combine 2 cloves, a stick of cinnamon, and 2 crushed cardamom seeds in an infuser; place in a large mug with a black tea bag. Add boiling water and let steep for 1 to 2 minutes.
Then sip away your symptoms.
To give your clothes an intoxicating aroma (and sweeten up musty spots like the basement), toss a few whole cloves in the bottom of an old clean sock and tie with a ribbon.
The spicy scent covers up odors and keeps your stuff smelling fresh, notes Summer Rayne Oakes, an eco-activist and author of Style, Naturally.
Swap out the cloves every 2 to 4 weeks so the scent stays at its sweet and spicy peak.
Hello, cloves—bye-bye, blemishes: The spice helps clear acne, thanks to eugenol, a natural antiseptic that balances the skin, stopping future breakouts, says Cornelia Zicu, global chief creative officer for Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas.
Try her complexion-perfecting mask: Combine 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 3 drops of fresh lemon juice in a small bowl.
Apply to your entire face and leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water for clear skin.
Got mold? Skip harsh chemicals and eliminate it with cloves.
"Because it works as a natural antiseptic, clove oil can reduce existing outbreaks and prevent future ones in affected spots," says Sara Snow, eco-expert and author of Sara Snow’s Fresh Living.
Her mold-slashing solution: Add a dash of clove oil (about 1/2 teaspoon) to 2 cups of water and pour it into an empty spray bottle. Scrub the susceptible spot (shower walls, outdoor cushions), spritz on, and let sit to deter further growth. Then sit back and breathe easy.