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.
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.