Cloves (Syzigium aromaticum)
Cloves (Syzigium aromaticum)
Avoid excessive doses.
May cause mild skin reactions in sensitive individuals when applied topically.
Part used: Dried flower buds
Habitat: The clove tree is an evergreen native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia, it grows to 12m and has terminal clusters of flowers which turn crimson before opening. These buds, harvested usually twice a year, turn from red to deep brown-black when dried. This hard aromatic bud is used in many culinary and medicinal traditions around the world, including in some temporary fillings in mainstream dentistry.
Constituents: Volatile oil (essential oil) including eugenol, eugenol acetate and beta-caryophyllene, sesquiterpenes, gallotannins
Actions: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, carminative, local anaesthetic, analgesic, cooling (refridgerant), digestive, stomachic, anti-spasmodic, antioxidant, rubefacient, anti-parasitic
Someone just came into the dispensary looking for clove oil for a toothache. This, and the decorative clove-studded oranges are perhaps the most familiar presences clove has for many of us. The strong scent of clove certainly reminds me of both toothache and Christmas! But how much do you really know about the broader uses of this powerful medicinal plant? Firstly, spiky woody cloves are in fact the soft crimson flower buds of this evergreen tropical tree. This spice was another highly prized commodity in the bloody Spice Wars of the 17th century.
Cloves are used in cuisine around the world, especially to flavour meat. When aromatic plants, especially tropical spices where pathogens are particularly plentiful, are traditionally used alongside meat, there is a clue towards an antiseptic quality of a plant. Clove is very powerfully antimicrobial and antiparasitic, making it a fantastic traditional remedy for not just toothache but many other issues such as gastric infections, colds and flu. The smell we know and love is also another indication of the action; volatile oils (strong smelling plants) are often calming to the digestive tract, and the slight bitterness of cloves is thought to stimulate digestion. We use it in our Immune-Aid, alongside wormwood for bespoke anti-parasitic mixes and for it's well studied local anaesthetic qualities, which are attributed to the eugenol content in cloves.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for educational use only, and is not intended as a replacement for the services of a qualified medical herbalist, doctor or licensed health practitioner. The information contained herein is not diagnostic, always consult a medical health professional before embarking on a treatment programme. Urban Fringe Dispensary disclaims any liability, loss, injury or damage incurred as a consequence of the use and application of the advice given herein.
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