Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are well known in culinary circles. These days, however, its popularity is growing among a different crowd as more and more fitness enthusiasts swear by the many clove benefits for men.
Being the discerning fitness buff that you are though, you don’t just buy into the hype. Like us here, you need actual science before believing in something touted as health-giving.
Boosting Testosterone Levels
So, what does research have to say about cloves? In an animal study, it’s been found to give a noticeable testosterone boost, but only when taken in minimal amounts.
Doses exceeding 15 milligrams per kilogram bodyweight had a negative effect on the hormone’s levels. In fact, it was even observed to cause damage to the testes, which in turn affected sperm production.
Other studies do seem to support these findings, further highlighting the spice’s potential toxicity. And there’s growing belief that this stems from a chemical called eugenol.
If you’re wondering why they don’t simply remove the problem compound, well, it’s also what provides clove’s benefits. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the spice though—you’ll just have to be careful with dosing.
Besides, there are ways to maximize its T-boosting perk while reducing the risk involved, such as by taking green tea with it. And yes, green tea is both widely available and inexpensive.
Managing Sexual Dysfunction
Premature ejaculation, or PE for short, is among the most common male sexual dysfunctions and is often observed in men with low testosterone. It’s a problem that creates lots of stress and may even spark relationship woes.
To make things worse, stress itself can cause PE. Your body releases a hormone called cortisol when you’re stressed, with the goal of making your mind sharper and your body capable of engaging in quick, sudden action.
You’re essentially being prepared for a fight-or-flight situation. Given the focus on what’s immediate, however, non-essential bodily processes take a back seat—and one of those processes is testosterone production.
That might not be the only way cortisol hinders testosterone though. The former’s presence (and eventual abundance) may end up blocking the latter’s influence on behavior.
As you probably know, things like dominance are fueled by the male hormone. Putting a halt on these makes sense if you need to run away from danger, but stress in modern life is barely about real threatening situations.
Growing Desire and Intimacy
Low libido is another type of male sexual dysfunction. While it can be caused by various things, like drinking too much alcohol, it’s usually linked to low testosterone.
Remember, as we’ve mentioned, the male hormone influences behavior. And to no one’s surprise, that influence also covers thoughts and actions revolving around sex.
Animal studies seem to reflect clove’s potential in treating low libido, particularly the kind that stems from low testosterone levels. In one study involving rats, improvements were seen within a period of seven days.
In a similar study but with a much shorter time frame (just overnight), two male rats managed to mate with four females each. Three other male rats mated with a slightly fewer number of two females each.
Although it would, of course, be great if we were looking at actual clinical studies, these findings are nonetheless impressive. They showcase the spice’s potential as a libido enhancer quite well.
In a way, these preliminary studies already show that giving cloves to those having trouble maintaining their sex drive—a fairly common practice in various systems of traditional medicine—isn’t mere superstition.
Soothing Sore, Aching Muscle
No matter how important testosterone is, keeping it in check isn’t the only thing that matters to your wellbeing. Getting enough exercise, for one, is arguably as important as achieving hormonal balance.
Staying active and achieving your desired level of fitness, after all, benefits your body and mind. But as you probably know firsthand, that’s something easier said than done, especially with pain constantly looming over you.
Muscle soreness, or delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) to be specific, pertains to injury that manifests beyond what can be seen with the common microscope. While not serious in any way, it does limit your movement.
Pain, weakness, stiffness, and swelling are all common symptoms of DOMS. While these aren’t bad enough to require bedrest and exercising should still be possible, they do make things a lot more difficult.
Not wanting to rely on lab-made analgesics, some begin to consider quitting their fitness routines altogether. Well, that doesn’t have to be their only choice—clove, with its eugenol content, can be just as good against pain.
In fact, the spice has been found to be as effective as benzocaine—a topical analgesic that’s used for toothache and even surgical procedures. What’s more, clove supports healing while fighting off infection.
Improving Overall Bone Health
Although we often spend hours talking about how to build muscle and achieve a leaner physique, we never overlook the importance of maintaining good bone health.
Not caring about things like bone mass and strength, or in other words allowing osteoporosis to eventually set in, puts you at greater risk of suffering from injury.
Getting fractures may mean that you would end up losing the progress you’ve made so far. After all, you wouldn’t be able to spend time in the gym while you’re healing up.
There’s also the possibility of getting so badly injured that it would be impossible for you to continue your current fitness journey. So, what can you do to better protect your bones?
Once again, cloves may prove useful as eugenol has been observed to have a positive effect on bone strength and density. Manganese, a mineral found abundantly in the spice, supports bone formation too.
To be clear, that isn’t some newly discovered information. It’s been established that in cases of manganese deficiency, the enzymes involved in bone and cartilage formation don’t get produced enough, leading to bone disorders.
Keeping Blood Glucose in Check
Staying healthy means keeping your blood sugar levels in check, as even something as healthy as exercise can cause spikes. These sudden surges may make you feel weak as well as hungry.
What’s more worrisome, however, is that allowing your blood glucose to remain elevated for long periods makes you susceptible to diabetes. This disease, in turn, puts you at risk of other health problems.
Heart disease, kidney, eye, and nerve damage, and a slower healing process are just a few examples of these diabetes-linked complications. And so you know, erectile dysfunction (ED) can stem from diabetes.
With those in mind, you’ll be glad that clove has shown promise in managing blood glucose levels and in preventing the onset of diabetes, as observed in an animal study.
Another scientific inquiry, this time involving actual human muscle cells, put emphasis on the perks that come with a fascinating clove-derived compound—nigricin.
Nigricin has been found to aid in boosting insulin production, which in turn improves the transport of glucose from the bloodstream and into the cells that need energy. This, of course, results in better blood sugar levels.
Providing Loads of Antioxidants
Whether you’re a fitness buff who’s continuously trying to build muscle or someone who’s more than satisfied with staying healthy and in shape, having a good supply of antioxidants will prove beneficial.
After all, whatever you may be doing, there’s probably an abundance of free radicals waiting to cause harm. Exercising, for example, results in the production of free radicals, which in turn may lead to oxidative stress.
This phenomenon may also occur due to environmental factors. Exposure to pollutants or even taking certain medications is enough to trigger an influx of free radicals.
What does this mean for your health? Well, cellular damage as well as conditions like cancer become more likely as you fail to fight off free radicals with your own supply of antioxidants.
As it turns out though, clove’s eugenol functions quite well as an antioxidant. In fact, it’s several times more potent than one of the most popular antioxidants on the market today, namely vitamin E.
Eugenol isn’t the only antioxidant in the spice, however. This means that cloves are probably much more effective against free radicals in actual use than what these studies would have you believe.
Definitely an Intriguing Choice
Despite the limited number of actual clinical tests, we’re confident that cloves do have a lot of to offer health-wise. It’s not like they’ve only been discovered recently, with them being used in traditional medicine worldwide.
These human trials will mainly serve as confirmation for the many clove benefits for men, though more insights on safety will likely be gained too. So, do you reap the perks now, or wait it out just to be perfectly sure?