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Clove bud, Eugenia canophyllata, Syzygium aromaticum

Clove bud, Eugenia carophyllata, Syzygium aromaticum

History: The use of cloves dates back to the Han dynasty (207 B.C to 220 A.D.) It was initially used to hide bad breath. Anyone approaching the Chinese emperor was required to hold a clove in their mouth for this purpose. Traditional Chinese medicine has used cloves to treat indigestion, diarrhea, hernia, ringworm, athletes foot, and other fungal infections.

In the 4th to 7th) Century A.D. cloves arrived in Europe. It was considered to be a luxury and used to treat gout. Once more readily available they were used in similar ways as in Chinese medicine – indigestion, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, infertility, warts, worms, wounds and toothaches.

It then reached America and it is said that the Americans were the first to extract the oil from the cloves and use it to treat gums and relieve toothaches.

Name: Having a shaft and a head, the name comes from the Latin word clavus meaning nail.

Family: Myrtaceae

Description: The clove tree is an 8-10m (25-33ft), tropical evergreen tree. The clove flower buds change over 5-6 months from green to pinkish-red, then are picked by hand and sun dried for 4-5 days. The buds are quite waxy and both the flowers and leaves are very similar to an Australian gum tree, showing their Myrtaceae connection.

Preparation: They are used whole or ground to a powder. They are also distilled into an essential oil or infused in a carrier oil.

Medicinal properties:  

Cooking with Cloves: Cloves are an ingredient in a variety of Indian and Chinese dishes, thus offering an enticing aroma, taste and health benefits. And it aids digestion.

Clove is a potent antioxidant, with an ORAC value of 290,283 units. That is 30 times greater than blueberries and nearly 3 times greater than Rose. Antioxidants reverse free radical damage (cell death and cancer), slow aging and degeneration and protect the body against bad bacteria and viruses.

Preliminary studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of Clove on lung, skin and digestive cancers.

Clove’s eugenol content is approximately 90% making it a powerful anti-inflammatory capable of protecting the liver against disease, as well as contributing to slowing aging.

For all of its powerful effects as an antioxidant and eugenol levels it was chosen by the grave robbers as a main protective oil during the days of the Bubonic Plague in Europe.  Today we still find “Thieves’ Blends” marketed. It is an excellent disinfectant blend for diffusing during flu season or used diluted as a throat or room spray.

Anti-parasitic properties protect the health by way of caring for the gut.

Anti-microbial effect on E.coli, acne, and pneumonia.

Nutrient composition:

Cloves are rich in a variety of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, hydrochloric acid, and vitamins A and C.

Toothache: documented in 1640 in the French “Practice of Physic.” It is likely that the Chinese have used it for over 2,000 years. Today it is an accepted remedy for dry-socket.

The Indian Department of Health Dentistry has studied clove’s ability to slow tooth decalcification and found it to actually mineralize teeth.

CAUTION: Clove essential oil is a harsh oil and should be used only in small amounts and with a carrier oil; or in the case of acne other ingredients can be blended to be effective for even the most severe cases.

As for the gut it should be used only short term and realize that the gut, as the skin actually responds to balance rather than harsh treatment.

Diabetes: Cloves help to control blood sugar levels.

Mental Health: Clove is a natural aphrodisiac and stress reliever.  It has a stimulating effect on the mind and alleviates mental exhaustion and fatigue.  It has been found to be effective for treating memory loss, depression and anxiety.

Anti-inflammatory benefits:

Relieves headaches by increasing circulation which increases metabolism to relieve blood vessel tension,

Also effective for:

respiratory problems – coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma and stys, earaches, nausea, pain and as an Insect repellant.

Emotional Benefits:

Energetically, mentally and emotionally clove is said to promote healthy boundaries, helping a person to feel empowered and stand strong, breaking patterns of being victimized by honoring their needs and speaking for themselves. It may also help a person struggling with codependency, or those who are too dominating or not respecting others’ boundaries learn to stand independent of others.


During Pregnancy and if using anti-coagulants or aspirin.

Use in moderation and test for allergic or irritant reactions.

Immune System:

Thieves Blend:

45 drops clove essential oil

35 drops lemon essential oil

25 drops eucalyptus essential oil

20 drops cinnamon essential oil

10 drops rosemary essential oil

Combine and store in a dark 15 ml glass bottle

Cooking Spice:

Select a combination that draws you.  Vary according to dish or season.

 You can develop your own signature blend.

 IndianGaram Masala:

1 Tbs. cumin

1 ½ tsp coriander

1 ½ tsp. cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp clove

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp fennel

1 tsp turmeric

 1 tsp mustard seed

1 ½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp chili peppers

Mix together – When use sautee to ‘bloom’ the spices


Simple Infusion of Clove Bud Oil:  for DIY products

1/8 c. clove buds - ground

½ c. olive oil

Cover jar and put it in a warm place e.g. refrigerator top or sunny window sill

Every 2 days or so, shake it

After 2 weeks strain the cloves from the oil.


Can last 4-5 years. Color may darken with time.


Author, Eve Stahl, is a Health Consultant, Herbalist and Skin Care expert. She specializes in using nature's plants to enhance the health of people and to protect the health of our planet. To achieve this purpose she has created Garden of Eve Skin Care products for sensitive skin and all skin types. You can visit her company at: www.gardenofeve.com Prospective Affiliates visit: www.gardenofeveskincare.com/affiliate-application 

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