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since it is so hard to get the required daily 3,700 mg of potassium, I have been considering adding cloves to my diet. I found it easy to swallow powdered cloves in the morning, however I'd like to know if eating them raw would affect the absorption of nutrients.

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  • Two teaspoons show 42.84 mg of potassium. whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=69 Two teaspoons of clove and your mouth would probably be numb if you chewed it with food! See this, publish.csiro.au/HC/pdf/HC15163 generally recognized as safe in food amounts. Wouldn't a sensible food amount be 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. with the meal, considering it is an intense spice? – Gordon Jul 26 '19 at 7:24
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    This question sorely lacks prior research. Cloves contain only a trivial amount of potassium. You'd have to eat massive quantities to get substantially more potassium. Meanwhile, there are many common foods that contain far more potassium and are perfectly normal and healthy to eat in abundance. – Carey Gregory Jul 26 '19 at 14:25
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The revised Adequate Intake values for potassium are 2.6 g/day for adult women and 3.4 g/day for men (National Academic Press, 2019). The old value was 4.7 g/day for all adults (National Academies, 2014).

I always believed they were exaggerating before and they are probably still exaggerating now. Note, that they themselves do not say these amounts are "required" but "adequate."

Recommended Dietary Allowance and Adequate Intake explained (NIH.gov - Office of Dietary Supplements):

  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%-98%) healthy people.
  • Adequate Intake (AI): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.

For potassium, they set only Adequate Intake and not Recommended Dietary Allowance, so they openly say they are not sure about the actual needs.

Recommended Dietary Allowance is a value that meets the needs of nearly all people in a certain age and sex group, including the ones with the greatest needs, such as athletes and heavy physical workers who lose potassium with sweat (National Academies). If you are not very physically active and you do not sweat a lot, you do not need so much potassium as RDA suggests. I don't know what is a minimal or optimal requirement for you, but it probably does not need to be 3.4 g/day, if you are not very physically active.

US Department of Agriculture has a list of nutrients high in potassium and cloves do not rank high.

  • A large potato with skin, baked (300 g) = 1.6 g
  • Breadfruit, raw (220 g) = 1.1 g
  • Grapefruit juice (6 fl oz; 207 g) = 1 g
  • Cowpeas, boiled (165 g) = 0.7 g
  • Cloves, ground (2 tsp) = 0.042 g, which is ~1% of adequate intake (3.4 g).

For someone on a low-carb diet, good sources of potassium include most nuts and seeds, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, etc. (see the USDA source above).


Cloves may slow down blood clotting and may enhance the effect of anticoagulants, such as aspirin, heparin, etc. (RxList).

I didn't find any information about the effect of cloves on absorption of nutrients. Drugs.com has a list of 41 nutrients/drugs, absorption of which could be potentially affected by cloves, but it is not. Few teaspoons of cloves would quite likely cause upset stomach or diarrhea, though.


In conclusion, cloves are a spice and not food and exaggerating with spices may not be good for your stomach. Cloves are a very poor source of potassium and other nutrients.

The idea that regularly consuming small amounts of cloves, pepper, turmeric, ginger and other spices would add to general amount of minerals in the diet does not work in the same sense like few drops of water does not add much to your hydration when you need at least a liter or more water per day. You constantly lose minerals from your body, so you need to constantly replace them in the appropriate amounts; it's not that minerals gradually build up in your body.

MedlinePlus has a comprehensive database of herbs and supplements. If any herb inhibits the absorption of any nutrient, it would be likely mentioned there under "interactions." It would be also mentioned if there is any difference between a raw or cooked herb. I haven't found anything significant about cloves in this regard.

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  • I agree cloves would not cover potassium daily requirements, but they may add to them. According to my data, cloves have 1020 mg for every 100 gr, not much but not negligible either. Also, albeit I do not follow such diets, certain foods like potatoes, beans, and fruits are not allowed on low carbs or ketogenic regimens. Hence the need for other sources. – black-clover Jul 27 '19 at 1:38
  • At any rate, as welcome as opinionsn about potassium are to me, the question is specifically on the absorption of the nutrients in raw cloves. – black-clover Jul 27 '19 at 1:41
  • @black-clover, I added some information. – Jan Jul 27 '19 at 9:44
  • Jan: thanks for expanding on your answer and the links. I agree cloves are spices and not food and should be used with moderation. My interest is toward how spices like cloves, tumeric, pepper, saffron, gunger, etc, used in small amounts but constantly, would add a bit to the general amount of minerals in a diet which, for instance, are almost nonexistent in the water we drink nowadays. However, like all foods, there might be differences between eating them raw and cooked.That is the gist of my inquiry. – black-clover Jul 27 '19 at 17:23
  • @black-clover, I added two paragraphs at the end. – Jan Jul 29 '19 at 9:25

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