Clove - Pharmacognosy & Medicinal Uses

By: Pharma Tips | Views: 18264 | Date: 31-Dec-2011

The word ‘clove’ is from the Latin word for ‘nail’ – clavus. The clove is native to the North Moluccas, the Spice Islands of Indonesia. It is cultivated in Brazil, the West Indies, Mauritius, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Pemba. The Chinese wrote of cloves as early as 400 BC. and there is a record from 200 BC of courtiers keeping cloves in their mouths to avoid offending the emperor while addressing him. Arab traders delivered cloves to the Romans.


Clove - Pharmacognosy & Medicinal Uses

Cloves are the dried, flower bud of the evergreen tree, Eugenia aromatica. While the tree is indigenous to the Maluka Islands of Indonesia, cloves also grow naturally in India, the West Indies, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Madagascar. For over 2,000 years, Indian and Chinese traditional medicine has made extensive use of cloves and clove oil. Arabic traders brought the buds to Europe in the 4th century. During the 7th and 8th centuries in Europe, cloves became popular as a food preservative. Today, cloves are in the spice rack of most homes and evidence supporting their use as a therapeutic remedy against harmful organisms continues to grow.

Cloves

Eugenia caryophyllus

syn: E. caryophyllata, E . aromatica,

Caryophyllus aromaticus, Syzgium aromaticum

Family: Myrtaceae

Clove

The word ‘clove’ is from the Latin word for ‘nail’ – clavus. The clove is native to the North Moluccas, the Spice Islands of Indonesia. It is cultivated in Brazil, the West Indies, Mauritius, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Pemba. The Chinese wrote of cloves as early as 400 BC. and there is a record from 200 BC of courtiers keeping cloves in their mouths to avoid offending the emperor while addressing him. Arab traders delivered cloves to the Romans.


Spice Description
Cloves are the immature unopened flower buds of a tropical tree. When fresh, they are pink, dried, they turn to a rust-brown colour. Measuring 12-16 mm (1/2”-5/8”) long, they resemble small nails, with a tapered stem. The large end of the clove is the four-pointed flower bud.
Bouquet: Warm, pungent and aromatic
Flavour: Sweetly pungent, astringent and strongly aromatic.
Hotness Scale: 5

Preparation and Storage
Cloves are best bought whole. As a powder flavour quickly deteriorates. Being extremely hard, it is difficult to grind cloves with a mortar and pestle so an electric grinder such as a coffee grinder is recommended. Store in an airtight container out of direct light.

Culinary Uses
Cloves can easily overpower a dish, particularly when ground, so only a few need be used. Whole cloves are often used to “stud” hams and pork, pushing the tapered end into the meat like a nail. A studded onion is frequently used to impart an elusive character to courts-bouillons, stocks and soups. Cloves are often used to enhance the flavour of game, especially venison, wild boar and hare. They are used in a number of spice mixtures including ras el hanout, curry powders, mulling spices and pickling spices. Cloves also figure in the flavour of Worcestershire sauce. They enjoy much popularity in North Africa and the Middle East where they are generally used for meat dishes, though rice is often aromatized with a few cloves.

Attributed Medicinal Properties
Folklore says that sucking on two whole Cloves without chewing or swallowing them helps to curb the desire for alcohol. Traditional Chinese physicians have long used cloves to treat indigestion, diarrhea, hernia, and ringworm, as well as athlete's foot and other fungal infections. India's traditional Ayurvedic healers have used Cloves since ancient times to treat respiratory and digestive ailments. The medieval German herbalists used cloves as part of anti-gout mixture. Early American Eclectic physicians used cloves to treat digestive complaints, and they added it to bitter herbal medicines to make them more palatable. They were also the first to extract clove oil from the herbal buds, which they used on the gums to relieve toothache. A few drops of the oil in water will stop vomiting, and an infusion will relieve nausea. Essential oil of clove is effective against strep, staph and pneumomocci bacterias. Contemporary herbalists recommend vloves for digestive complaints and its oil for toothache. The primary chemical constituents include eugenol, caryophyllene, and tannins. Cloves are said to have a positive effect on stomach ulcers, vomiting, flatulence, and to stimulate the digestive system. It has powerful local antiseptic and mild anesthetic actions. Japanese researchers have discovered that like many spices, clove contains antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent the cell damage that scientists believe eventually causes cancer. On the other hand, in laboratory tests, the chemical eugenol, has been found to be a weak tumor promoter, making clove one of many healing herbs with both pro- and anti-cancer effects. At this point, scientists aren't sure which way the balance tilts. Until they are, anyone with a history of cancer should not use medicinal amounts of clove. For otherwise healthy non-pregnant, non-nursing adults, powdered clove is considered nontoxic. Additionally, dentists have used clove oil as an oral anesthetic. They also used it to disinfect root canals. Clove oil still is an active ingredient in several mouthwash products and a number of over-the-counter toothache pain-relief preparations. Cloves kill intestinal parasites and exhibits broad anti-microbial properties against fungi and bacteria, thus supporting its traditional use as a treatment for diarrhea, intestinal worms, and other digestive ailments. Like many culinary spices, Cloves helps relax the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract. And finally, eating cloves is said to be aphrodisiac.
Buy clove oil and supplements here

Plant Description and Cultivation
A conical tropical evergreen myrtaceous tree reaching heights of up to 14m (45 ft). The bark is gray, the leaves are a shiny dark green, elliptical in shape and very fragrant. Small crimson flowers grow in triple clusters at the ends of branches. The fruit is a purple drupe, about 2.5 cm (1”) long. Cloves grow in the tropics and best near the sea. Rainfall must be at least sixty inches per year and a dry season is needed for harvesting and curing. The clove clusters are picked by hand before the buds open and dried on palm mats.

Other Names
French: clou de girofle
German: Gewuzenelke
Italian: chiodo di garofano
Spanish: clavo de especia
Burmese: ley-nyin-bwint
Chinese: ding heung
Indian: lao(o)ng, laung lavang, lavungam
Thai: gahn plu

Recipes using clove
Clove is quite prominent in Vindaloo and is also used in this Murgh Korma.

Health Benefits of Cloves

Cloves are the dried, flower bud of the evergreen tree, Eugenia aromatica. While the tree is indigenous to the Maluka Islands of Indonesia, cloves also grow naturally in India, the West Indies, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Madagascar. For over 2,000 years, Indian and Chinese traditional medicine has made extensive use of cloves and clove oil. Arabic traders brought the buds to Europe in the 4th century. During the 7th and 8th centuries in Europe, cloves became popular as a food preservative. Today, cloves are in the spice rack of most homes and evidence supporting their use as a therapeutic remedy against harmful organisms continues to grow.

What Makes Cloves Effective?

Cloves are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.  However, the component responsible for clove’s powerful effects and odor is a substance called eugenol. Eugenol is toxic against harmful organisms, including fungus, and may even relieve discomfort. [1] [2]

Cloves and Harmful Organisms

Research has repeatedly shown that cloves and eugenol are effective at establishing an environment that is not friendly to harmful organisms. When Portuguese researchers evaluated eugenol against giardia, they observed it inhibited giardia growth and may offer potential as a natural therapy against giardiasis. 

Clove, wintergreen, cinnamon, and peppermint are just some of the many essential oils that have demonstrated action against bacteria, fungus, and yeast, including candida. An interesting practical application for this has been evaluated in Japan where researchers believe that spices like clove may offer seafood a level of protection against certain harmful organisms. 

More than just an annoyance, insects like mosquitoes can be carriers of diseases. Many bug repellant sprays contain chemical toxins, such as DEET. According to Duke University School of Nursing, clove oil can be a natural insect repellant for persons who want to avoid conventional, toxic options. Research conducted by Thailand’s Mahidol University also found clove oil to be extremely effective at repelling mosquitoes. 

Other Benefits of Cloves

Many diseases are caused by free radicals and oxidative damage. Antioxidants defend against oxidative damage and plants are often among the best sources of antioxidants. Along with sage and oregano, cloves contain highly beneficial, health-promoting antioxidants. 

Clove oil offers a powerful action against gas and bloating. It reduces gas pressure in the stomach, aiding in the proper elimination of food and toxins. It also relieves the discomfort of peptic ulcers and is effective against nausea, hiccups, motion sickness and vomiting.

Clove oil, which encourages healthy teeth and gums, is a traditional remedy for relieving toothache, sore gums and oral ulcers. 

In Asia, the incidence of some diseases is lower than in western nations. The culinary styles in Asia also use a heavy amount of spices such as turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and clove. Why does this matter? According to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, these spices, which are resistant to swelling, may provide hope against brain diseases which are, at least partially, attributable to chronic redness. 

Supplementing With Cloves

Cloves have a strong flavor and tough texture that doesn’t really make them the best stand alone snack food, which can make it tough to consume cloves on a daily basis. There are a few ways around this though. Ground cloves, or oil, can be inserted into empty capsules and swallowed with ease. Some people also like to add clove (and cinnamon) to smoothies. Aside from the health benefits, this can add a real flavor punch.

When you’re looking to herbs, spices, and foods for health benefits (which should be always), it’s important to always choose organic whenever possible; because cloves are so appreciated, they are widely available in organic form.




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