Clove

Clove (Ding Xiang)Clove (Ding Xiang)

Botanical Name: Syzygium aromaticum

Cloves are aromatic flower buds commonly used as a spice in cooking, but they can also be used medicinally. They have been used in Indian Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Western herbalism. It is popular as a seasoning with apples, pumpkin pie, rhubarb, meats, curries, and marinades. Cloves are often used in warm fall and winter seasonal drinks for their flavor and warming qualities. In Mexican cuisine, they are known as “clavos de olor,” and are often combined with cumin and cinnamon. Only a small amount of cloves are needed as its flavor is strong and pungent. It is associated with love and protection.

Below is an overview of Clove (Ding Xiang), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Clove (Ding Xiang).

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Western

Western Name: Clove

Also Known As: Flos Caryophylli

Organs/Systems: Digestion, Mouth, Joints

Key Actions: Anodyne, Stomachic, Analgesic, Antimicrobial, Antihistamine, Anti-inflammatory, Expectorant, Antioxidant, Anti-fungal, Antiseptic, Carminative, Antispasmodic

Medicinal Uses: Eases dental pain, diarrhea, suppresses appetite, nausea, vomiting, bloating, reduces coughing, externally for muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, reduces fever, mosquito repellent, rheumatism, arthritis.

Eastern

Pin Yin: Ding Xiang

Also Known As: Gong Ding Xiang

Meridians: Kidney, Spleen, Stomach, Lung

Key Actions: Warms the Interior, Expels Cold, Warms and Fortifies Yang

Medicinal Uses: Relieves nausea, aids digestion, hiccups, vomiting, white vaginal discharge, morning sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, cold belly, premature ejaculation.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Clove trees are small evergreen trees in the family Myrtaceae. They have large leaves and pink flowers that grow in clusters. The flower buds initially are a pale hue that gradually turn green then a bright red as they mature and approach the best time for their harvest. Cloves have a long calyx that terminates in four spreading sepals, with four unopened petals that form a small central ball.

They are native to Indonesia. They are commercially harvested in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Dried flower Bud, Leaf, Stem

Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Warm, Aromatic

Caution: Clove oil is very potent, only small amounts are needed, and care needs to be taken when applying to the skin as it can be irritating if too much is used.

History/Folklore: Cloves have been found in vessels in Syria dating back to 1721 BC. The Chinese have records showing that cloves were required as a breath freshener and as purifiers dating back to the Han Dynasty in 300 BC. Cloves have been traded between cultures for many hundreds of years. At the peak of the clove trade, the spice rivaled the value of oil.

The oldest living clove tree is found in the Spice Islands and is named “Afo.” It is between 350 and 400 years old.

Clove oil is used to treat diarrhea, hernias, nausea, vomiting and bad breath. It is distilled from clove bud, root, bark, twig and fruit. Clove oil is considered one of the top ten essential oils because of its medicinal properties.

The buds are picked by hand and dried, sometimes being used to make a highly fragrant and medicinal essential oil. Typical dosage is between 1 to 3 grams in decoction. Powdered cloves are taken internally to treat nausea and diarrhea. Clove oil is often used to treat tooth pain and as a mouthwash. Undiluted essential oil is used in dentistry.

In dentistry, cloves are used as a home remedy to help kill pain in dental emergencies by applying the cloves to the area in pain. Clove oil, which contains eugenol, the chemical constituent responsible for cloves pain killing attributes, is mixed with zinc oxide to form temporary tooth cavity fillings.

Traditionally they have been planted to mark the birth of a child. If the tree failed to thrive, it was considered a bad sign. It is associate with love and protection. Magically cloves are used in spells to win friendships or attract the positive attention of co-workers. Lighting a candle studded with cloves will prevent slander and destructive gossip and lies.

Cloves are also popular in Peruvian cuisine. They are popularly paired in all cuisines with cinnamon, nutmeg, red wine, basil, onions, citrus, star anise, pepper, vanilla, turmeric, ginger and cumin.

In the garden, cloves are famous ornamental plants due to their unique fragrance and elegant and extraordinary color.

Cloves are used in toothpaste, soaps, perfumes and cosmetics.

Key Constituents:

Eugenol (75-90% of clove essential oil), Vanilla, Crategolic acid, Tannins, Flavonoids eugenin, Kaempferol, Triterpenoids (Oleanolic acid and Campersterol), Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber.
Did you know?

Clove Cigarettes

In Indonesia, cloves are used in a type of cigarette, know as “kretek” or clove cigarettes. They are classified in the U.S. as a kind of cigar.
Facts

Ant Repellent

Cloves can be successfully used as an ant repellent.
Fun fact!

Dried Flower Buds?

Cloves are actually dried flower buds.

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