Habitat & Cultivation : Cloves, originally from the Molucca Islands in Indonesia and the southern Philippines, are now extensively cultivated in Tanzania and Madagascar, with lesser cultivation in the West Indies and Brazil. The clove tree is typically grown from seed in spring or from semi-ripe cuttings in summer. The harvesting process involves picking the unopened flower buds twice a year as they develop, followed by sun-drying to produce the cloves. This aromatic spice is widely used in cooking, traditional medicine, and for various other applications.
- Volatile oil containing eugenol (up to 85%), acetyl eugenol, methyl salicylate, pinene, vanillin
- Prevents vomiting
- Eliminates parasites
- Volatile oil : Argentinian research conducted in 1994 revealed that the volatile oil of cloves possesses strong antibacterial properties. Eugenol, a phenol, is the predominant and most significant component of the volatile oil. Eugenol exhibits strong anaesthetic and antiseptic qualities, making it valuable for pain relief in conditions like toothache and serving as an antiseptic for various purposes. Cloves, with their high eugenol content, have been traditionally used for their medicinal properties, and this research provides scientific support for their antibacterial efficacy.
- Acetyl eugenol : Acetyl eugenol, another component of the volatile oil, has been shown to be strongly antispasmodic.
Traditional & Current Uses
- Ancient all-purpose remedy : Cloves have been used in South-East Asia for thousands of years and were regarded as a panacea for almost all ills.
- Antiseptic : The antiseptic properties of cloves extend their usefulness to the treatment of certain viral conditions. In tropical Asia, cloves have been traditionally administered to address infections such as malaria, cholera, and tuberculosis, as well as parasitic infestations like scabies. The historical use of cloves in various cultures for their antimicrobial properties reflects their potential role in supporting the treatment of infectious diseases. It’s important to note that while cloves may have some beneficial properties, consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable for the treatment of specific medical conditions.
- Antispasmodic : Cloves are known to provide relief from digestive discomfort, including issues like gas, colic, and abdominal bloating, owing to their antispasmodic properties. Additionally, their antispasmodic nature can be beneficial in easing coughs. When applied topically, cloves have been found to relieve muscle spasms. These properties contribute to the versatility of cloves in addressing various health concerns, both internally and externally. However, it’s recommended to use cloves in moderation, and consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable for persistent or severe symptoms.
- Mind & body stimulant : Cloves are recognized as a stimulant, exerting an influence both on the mind, enhancing memory, and on the body as a whole. In various traditions, cloves have been employed as an aphrodisiac, including in India and the Western world. Additionally, cloves have historical use in preparing for childbirth. The herb is believed to stimulate and strengthen uterine muscle contractions during labor. While these traditional uses exist, it’s important to note that individual responses to herbs can vary, and caution and consultation with healthcare professionals are advised, especially during pregnancy and labor.
- Additional uses : In addition to their culinary and medicinal uses, cloves have diverse applications. They can be utilized to treat acne, skin ulcers, sores, and styes. Moreover, cloves serve as a potent repellent for mosquitoes and clothes moths. Historical practices in the Moluccas involved using oranges studded with cloves as insect repellents, showcasing the versatility of cloves in various practical and natural applications beyond their well-known culinary role.
- Western herbalism : Despite the diverse therapeutic uses of cloves, they are often underrated in the West, where their utilization is primarily limited to mouthwashes. Cloves are more commonly acknowledged for their local anesthetic effect, particularly in providing relief from toothaches. While their culinary applications are well-known, exploring the broader range of therapeutic benefits that cloves offer may provide additional insights into their potential health-promoting properties.