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Herbs - Clove

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Clove is the dried unopened flower bud obtained from a handsome, middle-sized, evergreen tree. The tree has a straight trunk and grows upto a height of 10 to 12 metres.

The clove has been used in India and China, for over 2,000 years as a spice to check both tooth decay and counter halitosis, that is bad bream. In Persia and China, it was considered to have aphrodisiac properties.

The clove tree is a native of the Molucca islands. The Chinese obtained this spice by the 3rd century BC.Cloves were imported into Alexandria as early as 176 AD. By the fourth AD it was well known in the Meduerranean and by the 8th century, throughout Europe. Today Zanzibar is the leading producer of cloves.

An analysis of clove shows it to consist of carbohydrates moisture, protein, volatile oil, non-volatile ether extract (fat), and crude fibre besides mineral matter, ash insoluble in hydrocloric acid, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins C and A. Its calorific value is 430.

The clove buds, stem and leaves, on steam distillation, yield a substantial amount of essential oil. The clove bud oil, derived from the dried buds by steam distillation, contains free eugenol, eugenol acetate and caryophyllene. The stem oil contains more free eugenal than the bud oil, besides eugenol acetate, in small quantity. The leaf oil contains much less of total eugenol than the bud oil and a very small quantity of eugenol acetate.

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Cloves have many medicinal virtues.They are stimulant. They are useful in counteracting spasmodic disorders and in relieving flatulence. They help stimulate sluggish circulation and thereby promote digestion and metabolism. In the Indian system of medicine, cloves are used in various conditions either in the form of a powder or a decoction made from them. Clove oil contains ingredients that help stabilize blood circulation and regulate body temperature. Clove oil, applied outwardly, has stimulating effects on the skin, producing heat and redness.

Digestive Disorders

Cloves promote enzymatic flow and boost digestive functioning. They are used in various forms of gastric irritability and dyspepsia. Licking the powder of fried cloves mixed with honey is effective in controlling vomiting. The anaesthetic action of clove numbs the gullet and stomach and stops vomiting. Cholera

Cloves are very useful for treating cholera. About 4 grams of doves are boiled in 3 litres of water until half the water has evaporated. This water, taken in draughts, will check severe symptoms of the disease.

Coughs

Chewing a clove with a crystal of common salt eases expectoration, relieves the irritation in the throat and stops cough in the pharyngitis-that is, inflammation of the pharynx. Chewing a burnt dove is also an effective medicine for coughs caused by congested throat and pharyngitis.

Three to five drops of clove oil mixed with honey and a clove of garlic helps alleviate the painful spasmodic coughs in tuberculosis , asthma and bronchitis. It should be taken once before going to bed.

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