Cloves

Updated on November 15, 2020

Scientific: Syzygium aromaticum [WikiPedia]

Composition: Cloves contain – among other compounds – gallotannins, triterpenes, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Oil derived from Cloves contains additional compounds including b-caryophyllene, eugenol, and eugenol acetate.

Appearance: Clove is a small evergreen tree with smooth gray bark and large, bright green, aromatic and lanceolate shaped leaves. The flowers grow in yellow to bright red clusters at the end of branches. It is in the Myrtaceae family, with relatives ranging from guava to allspice to eucalyptus. The clove of commerce is the pink or reddish flower bud that turns dark brown when dried. The entire tree is highly aromatic and its Latin specific name aromaticum, refers to this intense aroma.

Parts Used: Dried flower buds whole or powdered as a culinary spice, as part of a tea blend, or as an essential oil. Occasionally dried leaf is used as well.

Common Uses: An extensively utilized culinary spice since ancient times, clove rivals other well-known spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg for popularity. Clove is used in liqueurs and mulled wine, perfumes and even love potions. More recently, clove oil has been employed for its analgesic effects in dentistry. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, clove is considered a warming herb that breaks up stagnant energy by encouraging chi (energy) flow, and is used to support the kidney, spleen, and stomach meridians. The main component in the volatile oil is eugenol (cinnamon also contains high levels of this constituent) thought to be responsible for clove’s analgesic effects. In addition to their sweet, aromatic flavor, cloves are known for their potent medicinal properties. Cloves contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, so using whole or ground cloves to add flavor to your food can provide some important nutrients. As well as containing several important vitamins and minerals, cloves are rich in antioxidants. Studies show that cloves may promote oral health, thanks to their antimicrobial properties, which may help kill harmful bacteria. Some studies also show that cloves and the compounds they contain may help reduce oxidative stress and protect the liver.

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific References:

  • Anti-inflammatory activity of clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) essential oil in human dermal fibroblasts [PubMED]
  • Clove Extract Inhibits Tumor Growth and Promotes Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis [PubMED]
  • Anti-inflammatory activity of clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) essential oil in human dermal fibroblasts [PubMED]
  • Clove extract inhibits tumor growth and promotes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis [PubMED]

Used In:

PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.

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