A cup of hot clove tea with oranges, nuts, and cinnamon sticks.

What is Clove Tea?

A cup of tea with cinnamon and star anise, infused with subtle notes of clove.
Name of Tea:
Clove tea
Scientific Name:
Syzygium aromaticum
Flavor Profile:
The flavor of clove tea is warm, spicy, and slightly sweet with a hint of earthiness.

Clove tea is a comforting and aromatic beverage that has been consumed around the world for centuries. Made from the dried flower buds of the clove tree, this tea is known for its numerous health benefits and invigorating taste and aroma.

A Brief History of Clove Tea

A cup of clove tea on a wooden table.

The use of cloves dates back over 2000 years to Han Dynasty China, where they were considered a luxury spice. Chinese traditional medicine embraced cloves for their medicinal properties. Over the centuries, cloves made their way along trading routes to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

Cloves became an important spice in India and were later introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. By the 17th century, the Dutch dominated the clove trade, gaining control over the valuable Spice Islands of Indonesia.

The popularity of clove tea grew across different cultures as people discovered its digestive and antiseptic properties. The tea became a traditional remedy for toothaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sailors would drink clove tea to prevent scurvy during long sea voyages.

These days, clove tea is beloved worldwide as an after-meal digestif and immune-boosting drink. The rich, warm flavor of clove tea continues to comfort and heal people as it has throughout history.

7 Amazing Health Benefits of Clove Tea

Cloves contain key nutrients and antioxidants that impart an array of health benefits:

1. Boosts Immunity

Cloves are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These antioxidants help strengthen the immune system and ward off diseases. Drinking clove tea can help fight viral infections like the flu or common cold.

2. Eases Digestion

Cloves may relax the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract. This can help reduce bloating, gas, and indigestion issues.

Cloves also boost the secretion of digestive enzymes and gastric juices for better digestion.
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3. Fights Cancer Cells

Research indicates that cloves may help inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells, especially in the case of lung and skin cancers.

The antioxidants in cloves mediate this anti-carcinogenic activity. In one study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, researchers found that clove extract administered orally significantly suppressed tumor growth and induced apoptosis in non-small cell lung cancer cells implanted in mice (1).

The clove extract demonstrated anti-proliferative effects and was able to inhibit lung carcinogenesis. This provides evidence that cloves contain bioactive compounds that may be beneficial in lung cancer treatment.

4. Supports Respiratory Health

Clove tea can clear up congestion and provide relief from coughs, colds, sore throats, and bronchitis. The expectorant properties of cloves help loosen phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tract.

5. Enhances Oral Health

The antiseptic and analgesic effects of cloves can reduce oral inflammation and relieve toothaches. Cloves contain eugenol, which limits the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. This helps prevent cavities and gingivitis.

6. Regulates Blood Sugar

The polyphenols in cloves help modulate insulin secretion from the pancreas. This influences blood glucose metabolism and keeps blood sugar levels stable. Cloves also improve insulin sensitivity.

7. Liver Protection

Research shows that cloves can shield the liver from toxicity and prevent hepatic injury. Cloves also stimulate bile production for improved liver function and healthy digestion.

Potential Side Effects of Clove Tea

Red chile and clove tea in a bowl on a wooden table.

Clove tea is generally safe when consumed in moderation but just be aware that it can cause side effects in some people:

  • Since cloves may lower blood sugar levels, combining clove tea with diabetes medication can increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Eugenol overdose from excessive clove intake may cause liver toxicity.
  • Topical use of clove oil can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals.
  • Oral numbing from cloves may interfere with proper mastication and swallowing in children.

To avoid issues, start with small amounts of clove tea and consult a doctor before use if you have any medical conditions or take prescribed medications.

How Much Caffeine is in Clove Tea?

Clove tea is naturally caffeine-free. The cloves, buds, leaves, stems, and flowers used to make clove tea do not contain any caffeine. This makes clove tea an ideal beverage to enjoy in the evenings when you want to steer clear of stimulants.

Some commercial clove teas may include added black tea, which does contain caffeine. Check the ingredient labels to confirm that your clove tea is caffeine-free if you want to avoid caffeine.

Cloves in Pumpkin Spice

Just as an interesting aside, did you know that cloves are an integral part of what make pumpkin spice so good?

Along with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, ground cloves are an essential component of pumpkin spice blends. Cloves add a distinctly warm, sweet and aromatic flavor to pumpkin spice, which evokes thoughts of the fall season.

The spicy kick from cloves balances out the other flavors and gives pumpkin spice its signature taste.

Cloves have been used in baking and cooking pumpkin dishes since ancient times.
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Their rich, mellow flavor melds perfectly with the hearty and sweet profile of pumpkin. Whether used in pumpkin pie, cookies, lattes, or other pumpkin-based foods and beverages, cloves are integral to creating the beloved pumpkin spice profile that so many enjoy each autumn.

Cloves in Christmas Tea

Pumpkin spice is not the only flavor that benefits from cloves. Come the holiday season, there’s nothing more festive than curling up with a steaming mug of Christmas tea. This aromatic blend fills your home with the smells of the season – think bright orange citrus, sweet vanilla, tart cranberry, and warm, woodsy spices.

But pay close attention when you take that first sip of cheer, because it’s the cloves that provide that special Christmas magic. Their sweet heat dances across your tongue, lingering like the final notes of a Christmas carol.

The unmistakable clove flavor conjures up nostalgic memories – hanging stockings by the fire and leaving out cookies for Santa. And yes I live in Sydney where Christmas Day is generally above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), but it doesn’t matter, because when I sip on clove tea it gives me the feeling of an authentic white Christmas in all its glory.

With bold, spicy cloves, I think Christmas tea truly tastes like Christmas spirit in a cup.
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Making a Cup of Clove Tea

Clove tea is easy to make at home with a few simple ingredients:


  • 2 cups water
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar (optional)


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the cloves, cinnamon, and ginger to the water. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
  3. Allow the cloves and spices to steep for 8-10 minutes. The longer the tea steeps, the stronger the flavor.
  4. Strain out the solid ingredients and pour the clove tea into your favorite mug.
  5. Stir in honey or sugar to taste if desired.

You can also make a large batch of clove tea and store it in the refrigerator to enjoy chilled. Simply steep the cloves in hot water for 10 minutes, strain, and refrigerate.

Drinking Tea with Cloves

A woman holding a tea mug in front of a window.

Along with brewing straight clove tea, you can add whole cloves or ground clove powder to other types of tea for extra flavor and health benefits:

  • Chai tea – Add 2-3 cloves along with the other spices when brewing masala chai for rich aroma and taste. The cloves will amplify the sweet, spicy flavor.
  • Black tea – Lightly crush 2-3 whole cloves and add to your morning black tea. Allow to steep for a couple of minutes before drinking.
  • Green tea – For a refreshing twist, put 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves into your green tea for a hint of warmth.
  • Herbal tea – Complementary spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg can be combined with 1-2 ground cloves in herbal blends.
  • Iced tea – Steep cloves in hot tea as normal, but cool it down over ice for a chilled clove iced tea drink.

Experiment with the clove amounts to suit your taste preferences. Keep in mind that using too many cloves can make the tea quite strong and pungent.

Sip and Enjoy Clove Tea for Its Healing Properties

Clove tea is an ancient remedy that still remains a popular beverage today thanks to its many health benefits and distinctly spicy, floral flavor. Beyond just a comforting hot drink, clove tea can truly enhance your wellbeing and quality of life.


1. Banerjee, S., Das, S. Anticarcinogenic Effects of an Aqueous Infusion of Cloves on Skin Carcinogenesis. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2005

Photo of author
A self-proclaimed tea explorer, Jess began her journey with tea as a hobby and it quickly blossomed into an enchanting love affair. From the rich, historical tapestries of traditional Chinese blends, to the modern twists of herbal infusions, there’s no leaf unturned.

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