Used in moderation, extracts of clove can raise your testosterone level. But if you take too much, the extracts can cause damage to the testes and they will lower your testosterone production, write researchers from Banaras Hindu University in an article published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
In their article the researchers describe experiments they performed on mice, which were intended to test the safety of high amounts of clove. Many men in Asian countries use large amounts of clove or Syzygium aromaticum to enhance their sexual potency.
A growing number of animal studies have confirmed that clove does increase sexual interest. But an even larger number of toxicological studies show that certain ingredients in clove are dangerous even in small quantities. Researchers are concerned about eugenol in particular.
The Indian researchers decided therefore to do an experiment in which they gave mice equivalent amounts of clove to those given to men by traditional healers. Men are generally given about two grams of clove per day. The mice were given nothing [the control group] or extracts of the fat-soluble compounds found in clove, which the researchers extracted from dried clove powder. The mice were given daily doses of 15, 30 or 60 milligrams of extract per kilogram body weight for a period of five weeks.
The table below shows the effect of the extracts on the testosterone level in the blood of the mice and on the enzymes delta-5/3-beta-HSD en 17-beta-HSD in the testes. These enzymes are involved in the biosynthesis of testosterone.
Group I = control group; Group II = 15 milligram group; Group III = 30 milligram group; Group IV = 60 milligram group.
Doses higher than 15 milligrams of clove extract had a negative effect on the testosterone level. But the doses tested were only damaging to the testes and not to other organs, according to the study. The researchers did not detect any increase in levels of liver enzymes or of creatinine.
Microscopic analysis showed that the high doses of extract caused damage to the the testes. This is therefore another reason to be careful if you intend to experiment with cloves to raise your testosterone level.
“The lower dose increased testosterone production, while higher doses caused reduction in testosterone production thereby perturbation in spermatogenesis of mice”, the researchers summarise. “Hence, data of the present study advocate the cautious use of this flower bud as an aphrodisiac in indigenous systems of medicine in Asian countries.”
Safety assessment of Syzygium aromaticum flower bud (clove) extract with respect to testicular function in mice.
The flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum (clove), a common food flavor, have been used as indigenous medicine for the treatment of male sexual disorders in Asian countries. However, the possible mechanism(s) by which it acts at testicular level remain obscure. Therefore, to investigate its effect on testicular function, chronic oral exposure of hexane extract of flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum in three doses (15 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg/kg BW) were evaluated for a single spermatogenic cycle (35 days) in Parkes (P) strain mice. The treatment did not induce systemic toxicity at the doses tested. Lower dose (15 mg) of the extract increased the activities of Delta(5) 3 beta-HSD and 17 beta-HSD, and serum level of testosterone. The higher doses (30 and 60 mg) of extract inhibited these parameters and induced non-uniform degenerative changes in the seminiferous tubules associated with decrease in daily sperm production and depletion of 1C (round and elongated spermatids) population. Taken together these results suggest biphasic action of hexane extract of Syzygium aromaticum flower bud on testicular function, thereby advocating a cautious use of the flower bud as an aphrodisiac in indigenous systems of medicine in Asian countries.
PMID: 18765266 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]