Botanical name: Syzygium aromaticum L (family: Myrtaceae)

clovesUntil modern times, cloves grew only on a few islands in the Maluku Islands (historically called the Spice Islands), including Bacan, Makian, Moti, Ternate, and Tidore. Nevertheless, they found their way west to the Middle East and Europe well before the 1st century AD. Archeologists found cloves within a ceramic vessel in Syria along with evidence dating the find to within a few years of 1721 BC.

In the 3rd century BC, a Chinese leader in the Han Dynasty required those who addressed them to chew cloves so as to freshen their breath.Cloves, along with nutmeg and pepper, were highly prized in Roman times, and Pliny the Elder once famously complained that “there is no year in which India does not drain the Roman Empire of fifty million sesterces”.

cloveCloves were traded by Muslim sailors and merchants during the Middle Ages in the profitable Indian Ocean trade, the Clove trade is also mentioned by Ibn Battuta and even famous One Thousand and One Nights characters such Sinbad the Sailor is known to have bought and sold Cloves.In the late 15th century, Portugal took over the Indian Ocean trade, including cloves, due to the Treaty of Tordesillas with Spain and a separate treaty with the sultan of Ternate. The Portuguese brought large quantities of cloves to Europe, mainly from the Maluku Islands. Clove was then one of the most valuable spices, a kg costing around 7 g of gold.

The high value of cloves and other spices drove Spain to seek new routes to the Maluku Islands, which would not be seen as trespassing on the Portuguese domain in the Indian Ocean. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain sponsored the unsuccessful voyages of Christopher Columbus, and their grandson Charles V sponsored the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan. The fleet led by Magellan reached the Maluku Islands after his death, and the Spanish were successful in briefly capturing this trade from the Portuguese. The trade later became dominated by the Dutch in the 17th century. With great difficulty the French succeeded in introducing the clove tree into Mauritius in the year 1770. Subsequently, their cultivation was introduced into Guiana, Brazil, most of the West Indies, and Zanzibar.

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Recipe

Lima Beans Clove Pulao

clovericeIngredients:
Basmathi rice-1 cup
Frozen Lima beans-1/2 cup
Onions thinly sliced-1/2 cup
Green chilli(slit)-1
Finely minced garlic-3 pods
Oil-2 tbsp
Coriander leaves-to garnish
Cinnamon : 1″ stick
Salt
Cloves-3
Cinnamon-2 inch stick
Bay leaf-1
Cardamom-2
Star Anise-1
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Kitchen King Masala/Garam Masala-1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Rinse the rice and soak it in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add whole spices. After a few seconds, add onions, garlic and green chilli. Fry till onions turn brown.
  • Add spice powders, salt, and lima beans. Saute for 15 seconds.
  • Transfer this mixture and rice(along with water) to rice cooker and cook till done.
  • Check for salt.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with yogurt/raitha and chips.
Home Remedies

clovehome

  • The use of cloves in toothache is a common home remedy. Pressing a clove bud between the jaws, at the site of aching tooth eases the pain.
  • Apply clove oil in the cavity of decayed tooth. This would reduce the pain and help to ameliorate infection.
  • To remove bad breath, chew Cloves.
  • Those who suffer from acidity can suck a clove to relieve the uneasiness.
  • Clove oil taken with sugar is known to cure stomach ache.
  • Prepare a paste of clove with common salt. Drink it with milk to treat headache.
  • Application of a paste of clove also relives headache.
  • In cases of nausea and vomiting, prepare a paste by mixing clove powder in honey. Licking the same would ease the problem.
  • Clove oil works as an effective insect repellent when diluted with water in 1:10 ratio. Spray this solution to keep the insects at bay.
Medicinal Value

clove2The active principles in the clove are known to have antioxidant, anti-septic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative and anti-flatulent properties.

The spice contains many health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, a phenyl-propanoids class of chemical compound, which gives pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrances to the clove-bud. Eugenol has local anesthetic and antiseptic properties, hence; useful in dental treatment procedures.

The active principles in the clove may increase the motility of the gastro-intestinal tract as well as improve the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. Thus, helps relieve indigestion and constipation problems.

The essential oil, eugenol in this spice has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum.

Eugenol also has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, but further detailed studies required to establish its benefits.

The decoction is sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion in traditional medicine preparations.

It is also believed to have natural anti-parasite (kills intestinal worms) function.

The essential volatile oils functions as rubefacient, meaning that it irritates the skin and expands the blood vessels, increasing the flow of blood to make the skin feel warmer, making it a popular home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles, used either as a poultice or in hot baths.

clove oil is also used in aromatherapy.