Also known as Syzygium and Laung.
A native of Indonesia and the Malacca Islands, the Clove is an evergreen tree that grows to about 10 metres tall (30 feet). It has bright green leaves and rose-peach flower buds, which upon drying turn a deep red-brown. These are beaten from the tree and dried. The Latin word for clove, 'Clavus', means nail shaped, referring to the shape of the bud.
Clove was much used by the Greeks, Roman and Chinese for its medicinal value. In ancient history, the Chinese used it to ease toothache and as a breath sweetener – it was used by those who communicated with the Emperor for this reason. Clove also has excellent antiseptic properties and was traditionally used in the prevention of contagious diseases, such as the Plague.
Clove oil is extracted from the leaves, stem and buds. It has a warm, strong and spicy smell, and is colourless to pale yellow with a medium to watery viscosity. The main chemical components of Clove oil are: Eugenol, Furfurol, Caryophyllene, Eugenyl Acetate and Pinene.
The therapeutic benefits of clove oil include analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-neuralgic, carminative and anti-infectious properties. It is often used as a disinfectant or a natural insecticide, and is also useful as a stimulant and general tonic.
Clove leaf oil can be used for bruises, burns, cuts, and infections. As a pain reliever it helps soothe toothache, mouth sores, rheumatism and arthritis. It can be greatly beneficial to the digestive system, and is effective in helping to treat vomiting, diarrhoea, flatulence and spasms, as well as bad breath. Clove oil is also valuable in relieving respiratory problems, like bronchitis, asthma and tuberculosis.