Home > Ayurveda > Indian Spices > Clove





HEADLINES:  
+  Text  -



CLOVE

Introduction
Clove is a narrowed steamy evergreen myrtaceous tree attaining height up to 14m, that is around 45 ft. The trunk is gray, the leaves of the shoot are shiny dark green in color, oval in shape and has a very strong smell. Little cherry color flowers grow in triple clusters at the end of the stem. The fruit is purple in color, about 2.5 cm in length. Cloves grow up in the tropics and grows best near the sea. Rainfall must be at least more than sixty inches per year and a parched season is needed while harvesting and curing. The clove clusters are pulled out by hand before the buds release and is dried on palm mats. Unopened flower buds, leaves and stalks can be used to obtain essential oil.


Common Names
Syzygium aromaticum is the scientific botanical name for clove. In various common languages of India, ie.,in Hindi it is called as Laung; in Bengali it is called as Lawang; in Gujarati it is called as Lavang; in Kannada it is called as Lavanga; in Malayalam it is called as Grambu; in Marathi it is called as Luvang; in Oriya it is called as Labang; in Punjabi it is called as Laung; in Sanskrit it is called as Lavanga; in Tamil it is called as Kirambu, Lavangam;in Telugu it is called as Lavangalu; in Urdu it is called as Laung.

History
Until recent times, cloves were cultivated only on a a small number of islands in the Maluku Islands which was historically called the Spice Islands which included Bacan, Makian, Moti, Ternate, and Tidore of today's world. In fact, it is understood that the oldest clove tree on earth, named "Afo," originated in Ternate. The tree is considered to be between 350 and 400 years of age. Sprouts from this Afo tree was looted by a Frenchman named Poivre in 1770 and was transferred to France, and then later on to Zanzibar which is today the world's major producer of cloves. In anticipation of cloves being grown in the outer areas of the Maluku Islands, they were traded like oil, with an enforced limit on exportation. As the Dutch East India Company strengthened its control of the spice trade in the 17th century they wanted to gain a monopoly in cloves as they had it like nutmeg.

However, contrasting to nutmeg and mace, which were restricted to the small Bandas, clove trees grew throughout the Moluccas, and the trade of cloves was way away from the restricted policing power of the corporation. In the Great Britain, in 17th and 18th centuries, cloves were valued at least their weight in gold, due to the soaring cost of importing them. Around the 3rd century BC, a Chinese head in the Han Dynasty, requested those who addressed them, to chew up cloves so as to refresh their breath. Cloves were mostly traded by Muslim sailors and merchants at some point of the Middle Ages in the commercial Indian Ocean trade. The Clove trade is also talked about in Ibn Battuta and is even mentioned in the famous 'One Thousand and One Night's characters' such as Sinbad the Sailor who is known to have traded Cloves around the world for making money. In a recent discovery, archeologists discovered cloves inside a pottery vessel in Syria along with proof dating the find to be within a few years of 1721 BC. The plant which is indigenous to North Molucca Islands of Indonesia is also grown in Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Malaysia and India. The tree fancies well sapped rich soil with adequate soil moisture all through the year. High atmospheric temperature from 25 to 35 degree C is needed with heavy sunlight, good and well-distributed rainfall of above 150 cm and high moisture of above 70% are the preferred conditions.

Uses
Cooking
Cloves can be used easily to overwhelm a dish, predominantly when ground, so only a few need to be used. Complete cloves are regularly used to stud hams and animal protein, pushing the pointed end into the meat like a nail. A studded onion is commonly used to pass on an elusive nature to courts-bouillons, stocks and soups. Cloves are frequently used to improve the flavor of the game, particularly venison, wild boar and hare. They are used in a number of spice combination including ras el hanout, curry powders, ponder spices and pickling spices. Cloves also outline the flavor of Worcestershire sauce. They take pleasure in so much reputation in North Africa and the Middle East where they are usually used for meat dishes, although rice is regularly scented with a few cloves.

Medicine
Folklore has it that sucking in two full Cloves without chewing or swallowing them helps to control the desire for consuming alcohol. Conventional Chinese physicians have used cloves to take care of indigestion, diarrhea, hernia and ringworm, as well as athlete's foot and further fungal infections long ago. India's long-established Ayurvedic healers have used cloves ever since ancient times to take care of respiratory and digestive disorders. The middle age German herbalists used cloves as an ingredient of anti-gout mixture. Premature American miscellaneous physicians used cloves to take care of digestive complaints, and they added it to bitter herbal medicines to formulate them more appetizing.

They were also the earliest to extort clove oil from the herbal buds, which they applied on the gums to alleviate toothache.A small number of drops of the oil in the water will prevent vomiting, and a mixture will ease nausea. Essential oil of clove is efficient against strep, staph and pneumomocci bacterias. Modern-day herbalists advise cloves for digestive complaints and its essential oil for toothache. Cloves are believed to have a constructive effect on stomach ulcers, vomiting, flatulence, and to encourage the digestive system. It has influential local antiseptic and meek anesthetic actions. Japanese researchers have revealed that like many spices, clove also contains antioxidants. Antioxidants help avoid the cell harm that scientists think finally causes cancer. On the other hand, in laboratory tests, the chemical eugenol, has been instituted to be a feeble tumor promoter, making clove one of many therapeutic herbs with both pro-effects and anti-cancer effects.

Clove Cultivation in India