Syzygium aromaticum (Clove), belonging to family Myrtaceae, is one of the oldest aromatic spices of the world, having many therapeutic virtues. It is a moderately sized, conical, evergreen tree that attains a height up to 10-12 m. The dried flower bud of the clove tree and its oil is used for medicinal purpose. S. aromaticum is commonly known as Lavang, Laung (Hindi), Shriisanjnan, Lavanga (Sanskrit), Clove (English). It is grown as a spice crop in western coasts and southern states of India (Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu).
Cloves have long been considered a home remedy in India for toothaches, joint pains, indigestion, asthma, cough, skin disorders, headache, etc. These health benefits of clove can be attributed to its antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, germicidal, rubefacient, stomachic and stimulant properties. Presented here are some of the home remedies, collected from Indian kitchens where use of spices and condiments is not limited only to preparing meals, but also for treating common disorders.
The health benefits of clove oil can be attributed to its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac and stimulating properties. The oil is used for treating a variety of health disorders including toothaches, indigestion, cough, asthma, headache, stress and blood impurities.
Clove is an evergreen tree, which produces a flower bud that has numerous medicinal properties. It is often referred as clove bud. Clove bud has a shaft and a head and hence it has the Latin name clavus meaning nail. Clove was extensively used in the ancient Indian and Chinese civilizations and it spread to other parts of the world, including Europe, during the seventh and eight centuries.
Clove is rich in minerals such as calcium, hydrochloric acid, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and vitamin A and vitamin C. The health benefits of clove oil include the following:
• Dental Care: The most prominent use of clove oil is in dental care. The germicidal properties of the oil make it very effective for relieving dental pain, tooth ache, sore gums and mouth ulcers. Clove oil contains the compound eugenol, which has been used in dentistry since numerous years. Gargles with diluted clove oil help in easing the throat. The characteristic smell of clove oil helps removing bad breath. As a result, clove oil is added to numerous dental products and medications, including, mouth washes, and tooth pastes. Dentists also mix clove oil with zinc oxide and prepare a white filling material as a temporary alternative to root canal.
• Infections: Due to its antiseptic properties, clove oil is useful for wound, cuts, scabies, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, bruises, prickly heat, scabies, etc. It can also be used insect bites and stings. Clove oil is very strong in nature and hence should be used in diluted form. Further, it should not be used on sensitive skin.
• Skin Care: Clove oil is often recommended for skin care, especially to acne patients.
• Stress: Clove oil is aphrodisiac in nature and hence serves as an excellent stress reliever. It has a stimulating effect on the mind and removes mental exhaustion and fatigue. When taken internally, in appropriate amounts, it refreshes the mind. Clove oil also induces sleep and is helpful to insomnia patients. It is useful for treating mental problems such as loss of memory, depression and anxiety.
• Headache: Clove oil when mixed with salt, and applied on the forehead, gives a cooling effect and helps in getting relief from headache.
• Respiratory Problems: Clove oil has a cooling and anti inflammatory effect, and thereby clears the nasal passage. This expectorant is useful in various respiratory disorders including coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, and tuberculosis. Chewing a clove bud eases sore throats.
• Earache: A mixture of warm clove oil and sesame oil is a good remedy for earaches.
• Indigestion: Clove oil is effective in stomach related problems such as hiccups, indigestion, motion sickness, and flatulence. Hence, clove one of the important spices added in Indian dishes.
• Nausea: Clove oil is helpful in case of nausea and vomiting and is often used for pregnancy related vomiting.
• Blood Circulation: Clove oil is increases your body metabolism by increasing blood circulation and reducing body temperature.
• Blood Purification: Clove oil also helps in purifying the blood.
• Diabetes: Along with blood purification, clove oil also helps in controlling the blood sugar levels and hence is useful to diabetics.
• Immune System: Both clove and clove oil are useful for boosting the immune system. Its antiviral properties and ability to purify blood increases your resistance to diseases.
• Premature Ejaculation: Research has indicated that clove can be useful for treating premature ejaculation. Further research needs to be carried out to confirm these results.
• Cholera: It is believed that clove oil is useful for treating cholera.
• Sty: Clove and clove oil is a very effective home remedy for treating sty. Sty is an inflammation on the eyelash and is a very irritating condition. Sty is not only painful, but also causes difficulty in the proper functioning of the eye.
Other benefits of clove oil include the following:
• Cosmetics: Clove oil is often added in cosmetic creams and lotions. It is a good massage oil providing relief from pain and stress.
• Clove Cigarettes: Usage of clove in making cigarettes is a new trend all over the world. Traditionally, clove was added in cigarettes in Indonesia. Smokers (wrongly) feel that the numerous health benefits of clove would nullify the ill effects of smoking. Flavoring Agent: Along with its digestive properties, clove oil is added in food items due to its flavor. It is added in many Indian dishes, pickles, sauce, spice cakes, etc.
• Soaps: Due to the characteristic aroma, soothing effect and antiseptic properties, clove oil is added in making soaps.
• Perfumes: Clove oil is also used in making perfumes.
•The use of cloves in toothache is a common home remedy. Pressing a clove bud between the jaws, at the site of aching tooth eases the pain.
•Apply clove oil in the cavity of decayed tooth. This would reduce the pain and help to ameliorate infection.
•To remove bad breath, chew Cloves.
•Prepare a decoction by boiling 5-6 cloves in 30 ml of water. Take this decoction with honey thrice a day as an expectorant. Chewing a clove with common salt also relieves coughing.
•If you have cough or throat is congested, try chewing roasted clove. It is also a wonderful medicine in cases of inflammation in the pharynx (condition termed as pharyngitis).
•For treating asthma, soak 2 cloves, 12-15 basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves, 10 black pepper (Piper nigrum) in water and boil for 15 minutes. Filter the same. To this, add two tsp honey and drink with milk.
•Those who suffer from acidity can suck a clove to relieve the uneasiness.
•Clove oil taken with sugar is known to cure stomach ache.
•Prepare a paste of clove with common salt. Drink it with milk to treat headache.
•Application of a paste of clove also relives headache.
•In cases of nausea and vomiting, prepare a paste by mixing clove powder in honey. Licking the same would ease the problem.
•Clove bud boiled in water and given to a pregnant lady eases vomiting sensation.
•Application of a few drops of clove oil mixed with mustard (Brassica juncea) oil is effective in joint pain and muscular cramps.
•For treating spasmodic coughs during tuberculosis, bronchitis and asthma, mix a few drops of clove oil and garlic in honey. Take this formulation before going to bed.
•In cases of earache, mix clove oil and sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil. Warm the mixture and put 2-3 drops in the ear.
•To treat acne, apply a paste of clove powder in honey over the affected area.
•Mix a few drops of clove oil in jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) or coconut (Cocos nucifera) oil and apply over acne. This home remedy not only removes acne but also leftover spots.
•For treating sty (inflammation on the eyelash), rub a clove stub in water and apply the same over the affected area.
•Clove oil works as an effective insect repellent when diluted with water in 1:10 ratio. Spray this solution to keep the insects at bay.
•Boil 6-7 clove buds along with 15 g aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) in half a liter of water till it remains one-fourth. Drinking the same with sugar is beneficial in the treatment of coryza (inflammation of the mucous membrane).
•Eating a clove in betel (Piper betel) leaf is best remedy for treating catarrh.
Note: The above mentioned home remedies are for information purposes only. Take advice from your doctor before following any of the above mentioned remedies.
In ancient China, courtiers at the Han court held cloves in their mouths to freshen their breath before they had an audience with the emperor. Today, cloves are still used to sweeten breath. Modern dental preparations numb tooth and gum pain and quell infection with clove essential oil or its main constituent, eugenol. Simply inhaling the fragrance was once said to improve eyesight and fend off the plague.
Clove’s scent developed a reputation, now backed by science, for being stimulating. The fragrance was also believed to be an aphrodisiac. Cloves were so valuable that a Frenchman risked his life to steal a clove tree from the Dutch colonies in Indonesia and plant it in French ground.
Once established, the slender evergreen trees bear buds for at least a century. The familiar clove buds used to poke hams and flavor mulled wine are picked while still unripe and dried before being shipped or distilled into essential oil.
Clove oil blends well with many essential oils including basil essential oil, rosemary essential oil, rose oil, cinnamon essential oil, grapefruit essential oil, lemon essential oil, nutmeg essential oil, peppermint essential oil, orange essential oil, lavender essential oil, geranium essential oil, etc.