Eugenia caryophyllus, Myrtaceae. The dried flowers and oil are the parts of the plant used.

The flower buds are collected from this tree when their lower parts turn from green to purple. It grows all around the Indian ocean. The buds are dried until they turn brown.

Cloves are widely used in cooking to season meat, vegetable dishes, soups and some cakes and cookies.

Functions of cloves

Cloves have a number of uses. They:

  • are a powerful antiseptic and have a mild anesthetic action and its oil can be rubbed onto sore gums or applied, via a cotton wad, to an aching tooth. It can also be used as a mouth wash for a bad breath. They are frequently used as a part of an air freshener.
  • can be used to allay nausea, vomiting and flatulence and to stimulate the digestive system.
  • have been recommended for curbing the cravings for alcohol. In this application the person sucks one or two cloves.
  • can be used externally as an essential oil for weak contractions in childbirth. The oil can also be used for bronchitis, cold, flu, arthritis and rheumatism.

Notes on cloves

  • Do not use the essential oil during pregnancy.
  • Do not use the essential oil in sensitive skin.


Cloves may be used as a spice in foods or teas by putting some cloves in a cup of boiling water and infusing them for 10 minutes.

For a toothache rub some oil onto the gum near the tooth or place some cloves near the tooth and keep them in the mouth.


Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.




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