Clove is a flower bud of a tropical ever green tree. The flower buds are collected from this tree when the lower parts of the flower turn green to purple. These cloves buds are laid out to dry as soon as they are picked to avoid fermenting. This sun dried clove is the spice.
The dried bud has a tact like shape that led the French to call it ‘Clou de Girofle’ meaning ‘nail’. Though the first term came from Latin ‘Clavus’ also meaning ‘nail’. The old Greek word for clove was ‘Karyoplyllon’ based on the Arabic word for clove ‘Karanful’, while the Sanskrit word for clove was ‘Katukaphalah’, all these describing it as “the strong-scented”
Species name: Syzygium Aromaticum
French: Clou de Girofle
Origins of clove: Moluccas Islands, formerly known as the Spice Islands of Indonesia
Cultivation: Muluccas Islands, Penang/Malaysia, Zanzibar in Eastern Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, India, Tanzania, Pemba and Brazil.
Clove is a spice for which many explorers traveled the globe and spice wars were fought.
Uses: Clove has aromatic, pungent and heating properties. They are used as spice in food specially curries, meat marinades, chili, soups, ‘garam masala’ spice mix, baked goods like ginger bread and pumpkin pies and teas; as flavoring and sweetener in flavored drinks like apple cider, liqueurs, betel/Pan, breath fresheners, toothpaste, clove flavored cigarettes/Kretek; as a deodorizer in incense, air fresheners, and potpourris.
Cloves have been known to have many natural remedies. It functions as an analgesic, expectorant, stimulant, carminative, antifungal, antiseptic, and anesthetic.
Cloves are an excellent source of manganese, good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Clove apparently also contains a variety of flavonoids, including ‘kaempferol’ and ‘rhamnetin’, which also contribute to clove’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties.
Clove is recommended for
- Laryngitis, Pharyngitis,
- Indigestion, Stimulate Digestive System,
- Nausea, Vomiting,
- Low Blood Pressure,
- Athletes foot,
For Tooth Ache: Put a clove near the tooth which is painful or put a dab of clove oil on a cotton wool and put it on painful teeth or dip a q-tip in clove oil and apply to painful tooth. It works as an anesthetic and reduces the pain. The main component in clove oil is “Eugenol’ which is used in tooth anesthetics and perfumes and even in making synthetic vanilla spice! But some people can be allergic to eugenol, hence use with precaution.
Nausea/motion Sickness: When feeling nauseated during pregnancy or due to motion sickness and you feel like throwing up in a driving car or airplane, quickly pop a clove in your mouth, this calms and allays your feeling.
For Coughs/ Colds: when you have constant cough, keeping a clove in the mouth can give relief. The warming juices of the clove helps reduce cough and cold. A tea made from dropping some cloves in boiling water and infusing them for 10 minutes is good for cold and cough.
For Digestive problems: Cloves is said to improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. They are use in reducing flatulence, gastric irritability, dyspepsia and nausea. To reduce gastric disorders, few roasted cloves can be powdered, and mixed with a spoon of honey for relief.
(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, or aurvedic or therapeutic medicine consultant. I am not qualified to prescribe anything or advice anybody. I personally practice a lot of alternative medicine at home, but cannot vouch for cures.)
How to buy and store cloves: Buy cloves in limited quality so that they are fresh and potent. Preferably buy only whole cloves instead of clove powder, since the powder loses its flavors quickly. To accentuate flavors of the cloves, dry roasting is an option before using them in cooking or before powdering them. Keep cloves in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dark dry place like your pantry.