An evergreen tropical tree growing up to 9 m. The flower buds are collected before they open for distillation.

There are 400-500 species of evergreen, aromatic trees and shrubs in this genus, which occurs through tropical regions. The dried flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum are known as "cloves". They are pink when fresh, turning brown as they dry and exuding oil when squeezed. The volatile oil contains eugenol, which gives the characteristic aroma, and methyl salicylate. According to ancient texts, cloves reached China, India, and the Roman Empire about 2000 years ago. In China, it was customary to hold a clove in the mouth as a breath-sweetener while addressing the Emperor; medicinal uses of cloves were recorded in Chinese medicine c.CE600. Cloves were a major item in the spice trade that sparked competition between colonial nations during the 16th century. Main producing countries today include Madagascar, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Indonesia, and Comoro Islands. A number of Syzygium species have edible fruits that are enjoyed in the countries of origin. One or two others are used for flavoring. These include: S. luehmannii (riberry, clove lilli pilly), an Australian species that is popular in the bushfoods industry for its clove-flavored fruits; and S. polyanthum (Indonesian bay, daun salam), which has aromatic leaves, used in soups, sauces, and marinades. Syzygium cumini is one of the main herbal remedies for the early stages of diabetes. Syzygium comes from the Greek syzygos, "joined", and refers to the paired foliage of a Jamaican species.

The clove, the sweet, spicy flower bud of the clove tree, has been used for some 2,400 years in China, when courtiers began tucking it inside their cheeks to avoid offending the emperor with their bad breath. When applied directly to an aching tooth, clove oil is a strong antiseptic that can bring immediate relief. Clove is also used to treat indigestion, dyspepsia, and nausea.

Small, bushy, evergreen tree with ascending branches and shiny, leathery, aromatic, ovate-lanceolate leaves, 8-13cm (3-5in) long, which are salmon-pink when young. Fragrant pink-white flowers, to 2cm (¾in) long, with petals that fall on opening, and a tuft of yellow stamens, are produced in late summer, followed by aromatic, purple berries, 8mm (⅜in) long.

Common Name:
Other Names:
Caryophylli, Clous de Girolfe, Clove Flower, Clove Tree, Lavanga, Zanzibar Red Head
Botanical Name:
Eugenia caryophyllata, Syzygium aromaticum
Native Location:
Indonesia, Moluccas (Spice Islands)
Well-drained, fertile soil in sun.
By seed sown when ripe or in spring at 27°C (81°F); by greenwood cuttings in early summer; by semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
Unopened flower buds (S. aromaticum) are picked as they develop and sun-dried for use in infusions and powders, and for oil extraction. Bark (S. cumini) is removed from prunings as required and dried for decoctions. Fruits (S. cumini) are collected when ripe and dried whole, or seeds are removed and dried separately for decoctions and tinctures.
Min. 15-18°C (59-64°F)
15-20m (50-70ft)
3-5m (10-15ft)
Practitioners of traditional Chinese herbal medicine have used cloves (called ding xiang) as a kidney tonic for almost 2,500 years. And at least one Chinese pundit recommended chewing cloves to freshen the breath before meeting the emperor. Since the first century CE, when the Roman scholar Pliny extolled the virtues of this exotic-smelling herbs—which he called caryophyllon—Western herbalists have used cloves to treat anxiety, depression, nausea, and pain. And Western cooks have used the tiny buds famously to decorate holiday hams and make Christmas potpourri.
Steam Distillation
Parts Used:
Leaves, Flower Buds (ding xiang), oil.
Color and Odor:
The essential oil is amber in color and has a strong, hot, spicy and penetrating aroma.
The cultivation of clove was controlled by the Portuguese until the seventeenth century, when it was taken over by the Dutch. Later the French introduced clove trees to their colonies including Zanzibar, Reunion, Madagascar and a few islands in the Caribbean. Clove is well known as an excellent remedy for soothing toothache and for tooth and gum infections where a strong antiseptic action is required. It is also traditional to use oranges studded with cloves as insect repellents.
A spicy, warming, stimulant herb that relieves pain, controls nausea and vomiting, improves digestion, protects against intestinal parasites, and causes uterine contractions. It is strongly antiseptic. Regarded mainly as a kidney tonic in Chinese medicine.
Magickal Influences:
Healing, Memory, Protection, Courage
This oil is best used in lower concentrations as it may cause irritation in sensitive people.
  • Respiratory System—A powerful antiseptic, useful for colds and flu. Clove is an especially good preventative during the winter months. It is a good expectorant, helping to clear mucus and blocked sinuses. Also helpful for coughs and bronchitis.
  • Reproductive System—Tonic and strengthening in cases of mild impotence.
  • Emotions—For mental fatigue, anxiety states and lack of concentration due to emotional clutter. It also encourages the mind to recall long-forgotten memories.
Medicinal Uses:
Internally for gastroenteritis and intestinal parasites. Externally for toothache and insect bites. In Chinese medicine, internally for nausea, vomiting, hiccups, stomach chills, and impotence.
To treat headaches, colds, stomach ulcers, eye disease, toothaches, colic, inflammation, and flatulence. Germany's Commission E has approved the use of clove to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat and as a dental analgesic.
Cloves have antidepressant, antinausea, antiseptic, antispasmodic, circulatory-stimulating, digestive, pain-relieving, sedating, sleep-promoting, and uterine-stimulating properties. Cloves also inhibit the growth of intestinal parasites. They are taken internally as a tonic and to treat anxiety, colic, fatigue, indigestion, mild depression, muscle aches and spasms, nausea, pain, stress, and vomiting. Mashed clove buds or clove oil are used externally for gum pain, minor skin ailments, and toothaches.
Cloves are available as whole dried buds and powdered buds, and in capsules, teas, and oils. To make a decoction for fatigue or mild anxiety, add ½ teaspoon of dried buds to 1 cup of water; bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink up to 1 cup a day. To make a decoction for insomnia, add ½ teaspoon of dried buds to 1 cup of milk and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes. Drink warm about 30 minutes before bedtime.
Typical Dose:
A typical dose of clove may range from 1 to 5 percent essential oil in an aqueous solution as a mouthwash; 5 to 30 drops (1:3 dilution) of a tincture; or 1 to 5 drops of essential oil applied topically.
Do not take cloves medicinally if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. Consult your practitioner before taking cloves medicinally if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or stomach ulcers. Mild side effects may include skin rash or stomach upset. Overconsumption or prolonged use of cloves or clove oil may irritate gums or damage nerves in the teeth. Do not use clove oil internally.
Possible Side Effects:
Irritation of the throat or skin, spasms of the bronchial tubes.
Drug Interactions:
Taking clove internally with these drugs may increase the risk of bleeding and bruising:
Alteplase,(Activase, Cathflo Activase)
Antithrombin III,(Thrombate III)
Aspirin,(Bufferin, Ecotrin)
Aspirin and Dipyridamole,(Aggrenox)
Dipyridamole,(Novo-Dipiradol, Persantine)
Etodolac,(Lodine, Utradol)
Heparin,(Hepalean, Hep-Lock)
Ibuprofen,(Advil, Motrin)
Indomethacin,(Indocin, Novo-Methacin)
Ketoprofen,(Orudis, Rhodis)
Ketorolac,(Acular, Toradol)
Ticlopidine,(Alti-Ticlopidine, Ticlid)
Warfarin,(Coumadin, Jantoven)
Lab Test Alterations:
May cause false increase in phenytoin levels.
Disease Interactions:
Clove oil may worsen cases of platelet abnormalities.
Supplement Interactions:
Increased risk of bleeding when used with herbs and supplements that might affect platelet aggregation, such as Angelica, Danshen, Garlic, Ginger, Gingko Biloba, Red Clover, Turmeric, White Willow, and others.
Culinary Uses:
Whole or ground cloves are used to flavor pickles, preserves, ham, cooked apples, mincemeat, and cakes.
Economic Uses:
Whole or ground cloves, and oil, are used as flavorings in the food and drink industries, especially in vermouth; also as a flavoring in Indian and Indonesian cigarettes. Oil is used in perfumery and toothpaste. Whole cloves are used in potpourris and pomanders.
Clove 4 Clove 4 Clove 4
Benzoin 3 Rose 4 Orange 4
Pine 3 Lavender 3 Sandalwood 4
Aromatherapy Blends and recipes by Franzesca Watson Copyright © 1995 Thorsons, Harper Parker Publishing Inc. Pp 92-93
Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cunningham Copyright © 1988 Llewellyn Publications, Inc. pp76-77
The Encyclopedia of Herbs by Deni Bown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited pg. 378
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by Geo. T. Grossberg,MD and Barry Fox,PhD Copyright ©2007 Barry Fox,PhD. Pp.153-154
The Modern Herbal Primer by Nancy Burke Copyright©2000 Yankee Publishing, Inc. pp. 138-139