Syzygium aromaticum (Plant Family: Myrtaceae)
Type of plant: All parts of this 40-foot evergreen tree are fragrant: the wood, flowers, and leaves.
Part used: Buds
Method of extraction: Steam distillation
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Data: Clove buds are harvested then sun-dried until they turn to the characteristic deep red-brown color before being distilled. Clove was in use in the Levant from 1700 BCE, mentioned in Indian Ayurvedic medicine from 1500 BCE, and known from at least the third century BCE in China, where it continues to be part of Chinese medicine. Clove’s value as a medicine and spice led to it being the cause of spice wars from Asia to the Caribbean, with European nations fighting over access to it. Clove continues to be an important component in cooking and perfumery.
Principal places of production: Madagascar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Caribbean, Philippines
When buying look for: A pale-yellow to pale-brown liquid with a rich, warm, sweet spice aroma. There are also essential oils of clove leaf and of clove stems, and these are avoided because they’re strong skin irritants. Only clove oil distilled from the buds is used in aromatherapy.
Therapeutic properties: Analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti- infectious, antineuralgic, antiseptic, carminative, spasmolytic, stomachic Therapeutic uses: Pain relief, bacterial infection, fungal infection, viral skin infection, warts, verrucas, toothache, gum disease, muscle pain, rheumatism, flu, bronchitis, tired limbs, nausea, flatulence, stomach cramp, abdominal spasm, parasitic infection, scabies, ringworm
Blends well with: Bay (West Indian), benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, chamomile maroc, chamomile roman, cinnamon leaf, cistus, elemi, fennel (sweet), geranium, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender (spike), lemon, lemongrass, linden blossom, mandarin, marjoram (sweet), may chang, myrtle, orange (sweet), oregano, palmarosa, peppermint, ravensara, rose maroc, tangerine, thyme linalol, ylang ylang
Precautionary advice: Avoid prolonged use. Avoid using undiluted on skin; apply a patch test for highly sensitive skins. Avoid during pregnancy and while breast-feeding.