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Cloves (Eugenia caryophyllus)

According to legend, there was only one tree in the world that bore cloves, found in the middle of the Island of Mafia. All the other trees had to bow down to it to pay homage.

The name 'clove' comes from the Latin word 'clavus,' meaning nail, as the buds were thought to look like them.

The familiar clove buds are the dried, aromatic flowers of the tree. They are picked before the blossoms open and dried for 48 hours in the sun, becoming brown in the process.

Clove trees are believed to have originated in Indonesia and Moluccas, then known as the Spice Islands. They were traded from there to China as early as 100-200 BC. They were cultivated by the Dutch and smuggled to the West Indies and Mauritius by pirates of various nationalities. There was a centuries-old struggle for a monopoly on cloves, which is a very valuable spice. It takes 5-7,000 dried cloves to make a pound of spice.

The clove is a tropical evergreen tree of the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family. The tree can grow to be 90 years old and may yield 800lbs to 1,000lbs of cloves per year.

Clove is a spicy, warming and stimulating herb and can boost circulation. It has an anaesthetic and analgesic effect. It is also anti-fungal and antiseptic, which makes it useful in products for the feet.

Cloves are used in foods, potpourri and pomanders. The main producers today include Madagascar, Tanzania and Indonesia. A major proportion of the world's clove production goes to Indonesia for use in a particular type of cigarette.

Cloves are used in herbal medicine, including medicine in China. They were first mentioned in Chinese medicine in about AD600. Clove is known in Europe particularly for its soothing effect on toothache. The ancient Chinese used to hold a clove in the mouth to perfume the breath when speaking to the emperor.

Clove bud oil (Eugenia caryophyllus)

The essential oil is extracted from the flower buds by steam distillation; it is yellow to dark brown with a warm, rich, spicy and sweet aroma. It is often used to freshen breath in toothpastes, mouthwash and lozenges.

The main constituent of the oil is eugenol. Clove bud oil possesses analgesic (pain relieving) properties and it is still used to fight toothache, mouth ulcers and infections today. It is antiseptic, stimulating and boosts circulation.

In India, clove is an ingredient in love potions. Clove bud and its oil is used to stimulate the blood circulation to the hair follicles for hair growth.

Clove is an antiseptic and has germicidal properties that help fight infection. Boost the immune system and purifies the blood to help ward off various diseases.

Cloves contain some of the same phenols as Oil of Oregano, which are highly anti-fungal in nature, as well as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. This oil has been prized for centuries for its anti-fungal properties.


Cloves are a highly prized medicinal spice that have been used for centuries in treating digestive and respiratory ailments.

Cloves contain good amounts of vitamins A, C, K, and B-complex as well as minerals such as manganese, iron, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. They also contain powerful antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties making them tremendously useful in helping to heal a wide variety of illnesses and health conditions.

Cloves are particularly beneficial for the digestive tract and are great for indigestion, gas, constipation, bloating, nausea, and countering the effects of heavy, rich food. They are excellent for relieving muscle spasms, headaches, and nerve pain. They are also often used to disinfect gums, teeth, kidneys, liver, skin, and bronchi.

Clove oil contains eugenol which is a powerful anesthetic and natural pain reliever and is commonly used to help relieve toothaches and to numb gums in dentistry.

Clove oil is also beneficial for the circulatory system and is a potent platelet inhibitor which prevents blood clots.

Clove oil is also excellent for athletes foot and for healing cuts, bruises, burns, rashes, and psoriasis.

Essential oil of Clove is an effective decongestant and should be used in a vaporizer, humidifier, or aromatherapy machine to help disinfect the air and to help benefit respiratory conditions such as sinusitis, tuberculosis, bronchitis, asthma, colds & coughs.

Cloves are often combined with other herbs to create seasonings such as Curry Powder and Garam Masala in India, Chinese Five Spice in China, and Worcester Sauce in Great Britain. They are also the ideal addition to deserts, fruit salads, smoothies, and savory dishes alike.

Clove tea is helpful for strengthening the immune system and detoxifying the body. Steep 2 tsp of whole cloves in two cups of hot water for at least 10 minutes, sweeten with honey if desired.

Cloves can be found whole or powdered in you local supermarket or health food store. Capsules, extract, tincture, tea, and topical oils & creams can all be found online or at your local health food store.

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  • Danielle Lasit