EUGENIA CARYOPHYLLUS =
The myrtaceae family includes more than 1000 species of trees and shrubs from tropical and warm regions.
The clove is a small to medium-sized tree, evergreen, native to the small volcanic islands of the Moluccas archipelago in Indonesia.
The clove has been known for a very long time in China (you had to bite a clove when approaching the emperor) and in the Mediterranean basin.
Imported into Europe in the Middle Ages, it was a very expensive spice, its geographical origin was hidden and as with cinnamon and nutmeg, it was not until Portuguese and then Dutch colonization that this spice was harvested and exported in significant quantities to Europe.
Clove is currently grown industrially in Indonesia, Sri-lanka and Africa (Tanzania, Madagascar, Comoros).
The flower buds are harvested by hand, before opening, then dried, these are the real cloves.
The flower stalks and leaves are also harvested and dried and usually distilled to obtain the essential oil of clove and the essential oil of leaves of clove.
The medicinal parts are the cloves (flower bud) and to a lesser extent the leaves and floral peduncles of cloves.CLOVE TREE
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
CLOVE contains a significant amount of essential oil (15 to 20%), 16% of water, tannins, a little starch and fibrous cellulosic materials.
The FLOWER PEDONCULE contains 5 to 6% essential oil.
The LEAVES contain 3 to 4% essential oil.
All these essential oils are characterized by their significant content in EUGENOL.
Its percentage varies between 70 and 85%, or up to 90% if one takes into account some acetylated derivatives of eugenol.
The second important component of these essential oils is Beta-caryophyllene (around 10%).
EUGENOL is a "phenol":
- Powerfully ANTIBACTERIAL (= antiseptic), antiviral, antifungal.
- But which can damage healthy tissue if applied pure: risk of chemical burns, small localized necrosis.
But it has other interesting properties:
- IMMUNOSTIMULANT = strengthening of the immune defense in particular against viruses.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY and inhibitor of the aggregation of blood platelets,
- ANTI-NEVRALGIC and locally ANTALGIC .
- Possible protection of the gastric mucosa against Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Effects on the central nervous system (depressant effect) and the neurovegetative system: slight sedation but tonic on the digestive and sexual level and possibility of increasing blood pressure.
- Antiparasitic (digestive) and against lice.
Eugenol is fairly quickly transformed (metabolized) and excreted, it does not accumulate in the body or cells of the nervous system.
At therapeutic doses it is not carcinogenic (mutagenic), but can become so in large doses.
It is tolerated in food up to a concentration of 1500 ppm.
CLOVE AS A SPICE
Cloves are widely used as a culinary spice; it is used in the composition of curry, flavoring sauces, cold meats and certain pastries.
In Indonesia, it is mixed with tobacco (60% tobacco, 40% cloves) in "kretek" cigarettes, which are no less dangerous than 100% tobacco cigarettes, since inhaled eugenol cuts the cough reflex due to smoke, thus prolonging the contact between toxic or carcinogenic combustion products and the bronchial mucosa.
In the Middle Ages, cloves (as well as pepper) were used to preserve cooked dishes (especially meat) or certain cured meats in the absence of cold.
CLOVE AS A MEDICINAL PLANT
Around the world, it is chewed to improve breath and prevent DENTAL INFECTIONS.
For a long time, EUGENOL and the eugenate dressing were used by dentists for intraductal medication and temporary obliteration, but since then other more effective products have replaced them.
The clove infusion is carminative (expulsion of intestinal gas) and useful in case of diarrhea due to significant fermentation in the large intestine.
CLOVE ESSENTIAL OIL
In Aromatherapy, clove essential oil alone or combined with other essential oils is antibacterial, especially in urinary tract infections (cystitis, kidney stones), of the digestive tract (colitis).
It is a good analgesic and anti-inflammatory: dental pain, gingivitis, sore throat.
Example: 30 drops of clove essential oil in 125 ml of 60 degree ethanol , 30 to 50 drops per day.
You can also use this alcohol-based preparation to clean a small wound, an abrasion.
DO NOT USE PURE CLOVE ESSENTIAL OIL ON THE SKIN: it must be diluted approximately 1 / 1O in alcohol, cologne or a fatty substance (vegetable oil): 2 drops of oil essential in 20 drops of oil.
DENTAL PROBLEMS: cavities, dental pulp infections.
In the absence of a dentist or appropriate medication, PAIN and infection can be REDUCED by applying a drop of PURE essential oil (undiluted) on the painful tooth using a cotton swab, cotton wick or matchstick one to three times per 24 hours.
The essential oil is diluted with saliva and does not act caustically on the oral mucosa.
2 drops of clove essential oil in a little warm water, mix quickly (the essential oil is in suspension in the water), to be used in mouthwash or gargle in case of dental pain, gingivitis , stomatitis, canker sore, angina, pharyngitis.
WARTS of the skin: careful application on the wart, avoiding putting it on the surrounding skin.
BE CAREFUL also of "plastic" coverings and utensils which can be damaged by this very "reactive and caustic" essential oil.
CLOVE TREE CULTIVATION
The clove tree is usually small but can grow up to 20 meters in hot, tropico-equatorial regions with a short dry season.
It does not tolerate low temperatures (below 3 to 5 ° C) and prolonged dry periods, it prefers hot regions with a rainfall of at least 1500 mm well distributed throughout the year.
It prefers shaded or semi-shaded areas, with moist but well-drained soil and tropical temperatures.
It can grow in coastal areas.
Its growth is slow, it takes several years to get the first flower buds, but it can live a long time (maybe up to 100 years).
The propagation is done by the seeds which have a very short lifespan (10 to 15 days in general) but a quick enough germination, or by cuttings of small branches.
Two other trees of the Myrtaceae family are potentially interesting in phytotherapy.
PIMENTA RACEMOSA, native to the Antilles, west Indian bay tree or"BAY RUM TREE".
PIMENTA DIOICA, native to the Antilles and Central America, Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or pimento or "ALL SPICES ".
The west Indian bay tree leaves are distilled in the presence of rum, thus obtaining "Bay Rum", it is a calming, antiseptic especially used in perfumery.
Myrtle pepper, pimenta, or pimento is also a culinary spice (fish dishes); the infusion of leaves is digestive, carminative and soothing.
The "all spices", Pimenta dioica which combines the aromas of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, has mainly a food use but has digestive and carminative stimulating properties.
The extracted oil is used in perfumery.
The essential oils of these two plants contain a lot of Eugenol (80% for P. dioica, 50% for P. racemosa) and other compounds: chavicol, octenol, cineole, which give them their aromatic specificity, so we can use them for the same indications as cloves.
CLOVE an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial SPICE
The clove is the dried flower bud of a tree native to Indonesia.
It contains a lot of essential oil useful to fight against many infections: urinary, digestive, skin.
It contains a powerful antiseptic but can also be used to relieve dental pain. Always remember to keep cloves when you have fragile teeth.
Copyright 2020 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel