Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllus) has as rich a history in the spice trade as Cinnamon Bark and Black Pepper. It is native to the Islands of Indonesia, specifically, Java. Today it is also grown in India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Pakistan.
Its use dates as far back as 200 years before the birth of Christ.
Like the spice cinnamon and black pepper, clove was very expensive and highly sought after. In the early 19th century the Dutch set fire to most of the clove crops in efforts to drive the price up. This led to a war known as the Java war that lasted for years and eventually changed the landscape of agriculture. (1)
About Clove Bud
Clove is a tree in the Myrtaceae family of trees. It is an evergreen tree that grows up to 40 feet tall and its flowering bud yields the exotic and spicy essential oil. Its bud has a long stem with a small round head. The shape resembles that of a small nail.
It takes approximately 5 years to harvest the first crop of buds and each tree may yield about 75 pounds of dries clove buds annually. Buds are picked and spread out in the sun to dry. Typically, it takes about 5 or 6 days to dry. The quicker they dry the better.
Clove essential oil has a strong, pungent, and somewhat sweet odor. It is used in flavorings, perfumes, as a sweetener enhancer, and medicinally. Clove is one of the most used plants medicinally because of the pharmacological effects of this family of plants.
Plants in the Myrtaceae family typically exhibit carminative properties as well as antioxidant, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, and local anesthetic properties. (2) (3)
The buds contain up to 20% essential oil. The primary component is Eugenol (~80%). Eugenol is also a minor component in spices such as nutmeg, basil, cinnamon, and bay leaf. It is this component that gives clove its claim to fame as a healing essential oil. Ancient cultures prized this oil for its ability to ease dental pain, intestinal pain, alleviate halitosis, and assist in relief from respiratory issue such as asthma.
How to Use Clove Oils
Here are a few good ways to incorporate Clove Bud oil into your life:
Diffuse – 3 to 5 drops in water of candle warmer, 5 to 10 drops in potpourri (keep out of reach of children), 5 to 10 drops in an vapor diffuser
Inhale – Direct from bottle or lid 2 to 3 times a day. Place 2 drops on a cotton ball and inhale. Rub 1 to 2 drops on hand, hold near face (avoid touching face), and inhale.
Rub on – Place 1 to 2 drops in one ounce (2 TBS) of massage cream or oil. Apply to areas of concern. Place one drop on tip of finger and rub on aching tooth or canker sore.
Note: Most experts agree that that there are some risks involved in using essential oils. Most risk comes from overuse. Please use this and all essential oils with caution. Consult your doctor before use and check for any and all drug interactions.