Clove of Commerce is the dried aromatic fully-grown but unopened flower buds of the clove tree. It is an evergreen tree grown in India, Indonesia,
At their initial stages of development, flower buds are pale in color which gradually turn to green, and, finally, develop into bright-red clove buds by the time of harvesting. The buds are generally picked up when they reach 1.5 to 2 cm in length.
The sweet aroma of cloves is due to eugenol, an essential oil in them.
As a spice, in whole or powder form clove is used in cuisines all around the world. In order to keep the fragrance and flavor intact, clove is generally grounded just before preparing dishes and added at the last moment in the cooking recipes. This is because prolonged cooking results in evaporation of it’s essential oils.
This popular spice is being used for marinating chicken, fish, and meat.
The spice also features in the preparation of soups, barbecue sauces, pickling and as one of the ingredients in curry powders.
Cloves are used as food preservative.
The essential oil, eugenol in this spice has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum. Clove oil has both antiseptic and anesthetic properties and it has been used for treating toothache for centuries.
Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Its decoction is sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion traditional medicinal preparations.
It is also thought to have the natural anti-parasite(kills intestinal worms) function.
The essential volatile oils function as a 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.