MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF CLOVES
CLOVE AS A MEDICINAL PLANT
History of clove
The use of clove is very old. It is known that in the year 266 BC the Chinese army officers used this spice to combat halitosis or bad odor, especially prior to the interviews with the emperor. Probably clove had already been used some 2500 years ago in the Han dynasty.
In fact, this tree had very little importance to the inhabitants of the Moluccas until some Chinese ships came to the island and transported some plants to China, including this tree. Then China was the country that began shipping the species in other parts of Asia, including Persia, India and Arabia.
The Egyptians must have known it quite well since there have been found necklaces made with cloves in some sarcophagi. It is known that the Greeks and Romans did not use it too much, but it seems that if they knew it as this spice is mentioned in the descriptions of Aegineta Paulus, a Greek physician of the seventh century, as food and medicine. It also had to be brought the Arab merchants. Serapion and Avicenna, two Arab physicists, mentioned it as Carunfel and Charumfel bellum, respectively.
When was clove used in Europe?
However, in Europe its use was quite late and it appears that only began to be used in the V century AD. It was at the beginning of 1511 when the Portuguese discovered the Moluccas, when clove began to be used as a popular spice in Europe. The first scientific descriptions of this tree were made by the Italian historian Pigafetta who was in the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan.
Later the Dutch expelled the Portuguese from these islands (See "Spice trade") and gained a monopoly on this and other spices. To have the exclusive monopoly they burned trees throughout the islands, except Ambon and other small ones and forced the natives to have commerce with them only. This decision led to a revolt of the natives, which would lead to the future expulsion of the Dutch from these colonies.
In the year 1769 M Poivre, mayor of the islands, ordered a couple of ships to go to the island of Mauritius and Bourbon (now Reunion) with seeds of cloves and other spices, which have adapted very well. From this island it was extended to Martinique, Trinidad, and from these islands, to most of places where it currently grows.
William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865), professor of botany at the University of Glasgow, speaks at the Curtis Botanical Magazine about this tree:
Traditional uses of clove in East
Clove has been and continues to have a capital importance as a natural remedy in oriental medicine. Since immemorial times it has been used in Southeast Asia as a natural remedy to combat many diseases and as an anesthetic to remove the pain.
Its antiseptic properties have become a major antiseptic and it is used widely in the area today as one of the major natural resources to combat infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and cholera. It is also used to eliminate many internal and external parasites such as intestinal worms or scabies. Other skin diseases caused by fungi or injuries are treated with this spice.
It is also very important for these people using clove in the treatment of intestinal problems such as vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal bloating and other bowel problems that are very common in these regions.
Other times, it has given great aphrodisiac properties or has been used to facilitate delivery.
A woman showing some dry cloves in a Skri Lanca market
Most important medicinal uses today
At present, there is evidence that the medicinal properties of cloves come from its essential oil. The essential oil comes from the distillation of flower buds in water. This provides the essential oil, mainly rich in eugenol, a phenolic derivative with formula C 10 H 12 O 2 that appears on cloves at a rate of 60 to 90%. Clove essential oil is a yellow liquid and a strong odor, spicy, commonly known as "the smell of clove." It is said that the taste is hot, intense, fresh, with a peppery taste and a touch of oriental fragrance. Not soluble in water but if that can be dissolved in alcohol.
Eugenol is not exclusive of this plant, although it is the one with the greatest concentration. Other very rich plants in this component are by order of importance: allspice (Pimienta dioica), the Indian pepper or betel nut (Piper betel), basil (Ocimum basilicum), the seeds of carrot (Daucus carota), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), laurel (Laurus nobilis), marjoram (Origanum majorana), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) or lavender (Lavandula latifolia)
Among the many properties of this component we can say that it is antiplatelet, anti-edemas, anti-vomiting, carminative, antacid, antioxidant, gastroprotective, gastroregenerative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, herbicide, pesticide, insecticide, insect-repellent, vermifuge, anesthetic, sedative, fragrant and flavoring properties.
In natural medicine, many of these properties have been used to remedy many diseases. Among the main virtues there is its ability to eliminate pain and inflammation, which occurs because this component inhibits nerve transmission between cells and the synthesis of prostaglandins. Among all we can mention the following:
INTERNAL USE PREPARATIONS WITH CLOVE
Clove to treat digestive diseases
Digestive system: The digestive properties of this spice are used to treat the following diseases of the digestive system:
Clove for respiratory diseases
- Respiratory Diseases: Clove has expectorant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, reason why it constitutes a good remedy in the treatment of the more common respiratory anomalies. Among all of them we can mention:
- Tobacco addiction?: Clove is used to make cigarettes to help quit smoking. In Indonesia, the world's largest producer of this spice, clove is not used practically in the kitchen but as a herb to enhance the aroma of tobacco, which gives it a very particular aroma. Most public places in this country have the aroma of cloves constantly.
Nevertheless, as the American Lung Association warns, smoking cigarettes made from this plant is even more harmful than smoking tobacco, as the smoke from clove is more carcinogenic. In addition, this spice dries in excess the throat of smokers, forcing them to inhale more strongly.
Other medicinal uses of clove: