Kingdom : Plantae
Phylum : Angiosperms
(unranked) : Eudicots
(unranked) : Rosids
Order : Myrtales
Family : Myrtaceae
Genus : Syzygium
Species : S. aromaticum
Binomial name : Syzygium aromaticum
Synonyms : Caryophyllus aromaticus L.
Eugenia aromatica (L.) Baill.
Eugenia caryophyllata Thunb.
Eugenia caryophyllus (Spreng.)
Cloves are the unopened flower buds of the clove tree. An evergreen native to Indonesia and India that grows from eight to twelve meters in height, the clove tree produces flower buds in clusters that are pale in color at first, become green, and then bright red, when they are ready for harvesting. Dried cloves are brown, hard, and nail-like in shape. The English name derives from the Latin clavus (nail); the French word for nail is clou.
Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world. Cloves are harvested primarily in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The clove tree is an evergreen tree, having large leaves and sanguine flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters. The flower buds are at first of a pale color and gradually become green, after which they develop into a bright red, when they are ready for collecting. Cloves are harvested when 1.5–2 cm long, and consist of a long calyx, terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals which form a small ball in the center.
Taxonomy and nomenclature
The scientific name of clove is Syzygium aromaticum. It belongs to the genus Syzygium, tribe Syzygieae, and subfamily Myrtoideae of the family Myrtaceae. It is classified in the order of Myrtales, which belong to superorder Rosids, under Eudicots of Dicotyledonae. Clove is an Angiospermic plant and belongs to division of Magnoliophyta in the kingdom Plantae.
The English name derives from Latin clavus 'nail' (also the origin of French clou and Spanish clavo, 'nail') as the buds vaguely resemble small irregular nails in shape.
Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly.As a spice, cloves are used in cuisines all around the world. They are also used as a food preservative. One has to think only of a ham garnished with whole cloves to realize how ubiquitous and versatile the use of the spice has become. The clove scent is common to perfumes, and using cloves in oranges as a decorative pomander is a popular European tradition during the Christmas holiday season. Clove oil has both antiseptic and anesthetic properties; for example, it has been used in treating toothache for centuries. While many Asian countries have developed numerous therapeutic uses for the spice, Western culture has generally underrated its potential as a herbal remedy.
Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian). In North Indian cuisine, it is used in almost all rich or spicy dishes as an ingredient of a mix named garam masala, along with other spices, although it is not an everyday ingredient for home cuisine, nor is it used in summer very often. In the Maharashtra region of India it is used sparingly for sweet or spicy dishes, but rarely in everyday cuisine. In Ayurvedic medicine it is considered to have the effect of increasing heat in system, hence the difference of usage by region and season. In south Indian cuisine, it is used extensively in biryani along with "cloves dish" (similar to pilaf, but with the addition of other spices), and it is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavor of the rice.
Dried cloves are also a key ingredient in Indian masala chai, spiced tea, a special variation of tea popular in some regions, notably Gujarat. In the US, it is often sold under the name of "chai" or "chai tea", as a way of differentiating it from other types of teas sold in the US.
In Mexican cuisine, cloves are best known as clavos de olor, and often used together with cumin and cinnamon.
In Vietnamese cuisine, cloves are often used to season the broth of Phở.
In American cooking, it is often used in sweet breads such as pumpkin or zucchini bread along with other sweet spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.
Due to the Indonesian influence, the use of cloves is widespread in the Netherlands. Cloves are used in cheeses, often in combination with cumin. Cloves are an essential ingredient for making Dutch speculaas. Furthermore, cloves are used in traditional Dutch stews like hachee.
The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia. Kreteks have been smoked throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. In 2009, clove cigarettes (as well as fruit and candy flavored cigarettes) were outlawed in the US. However, they are still sold in similar form, re-labeled as "filtered clove cigars".
Cloves are also an important incense material in Chinese and Japanese culture. And clove essence is commonly used in the production of many perfumes.
During Christmas, it is a tradition in some European countries to make pomanders from cloves and oranges to hang around the house. This spreads a nice scent throughout the house and serves as holiday decorations.
Cloves are often used as incense in the Jewish practice called Havdala.
Clove also works as an ant repeller
Traditional medicinal uses
Cloves are esteem’d healing, drying, cordial, cephalic and Stomatic; being good to stop Vomiting, strengthen a weak Stomach, expel Wind, prevent Fainting and malignant Distemper. The Distill’d Oyl is said to cure the Tooth-Ach, a Bit of Line being dipp’d in it, and put into the Hollow Tooth.
Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies. Cloves are used as a carminative, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen are said to warm the digestive tract. Clove oil, applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, also relieves toothache. It also helps to decrease infection in the teeth due to its antiseptic properties.
In Chinese medicine cloves or ding xiang are considered acrid, warm and aromatic, entering the kidney, spleen and stomach meridians, and are notable in their ability to warm the middle, direct stomach qi downward, to treat hiccough and to fortify the kidney yang. Because the herb is so warming it is contraindicated in any persons with fire symptoms and according to classical sources should not be used for anything except cold from yang deficiency. As such it is used in formulas for impotence or clear vaginal discharge from yang deficiency, for morning sickness together with ginseng and patchouli, or for vomiting and diarrhea due to spleen and stomach coldness. This would translate to hypochlorhydria. Clove oil is used in various skin disorders like acne, pimples etc. It is also used in severe burns, skin irritations and to reduce the sensitivity of skin.
Cloves may be used internally as a tea and topically as an oil for hypotonic muscles, including for multiple sclerosis. This is also found in Tibetan medicine. Some recommend avoiding more than occasional use of cloves internally in the presence of pitta inflammation such as is found in acute flares of autoimmune diseases.
In West Africa, the Yorubas use cloves infused in water as a treatment for stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea. The infusion is called Ogun Jedi-jedi.
Medicinal uses and Pharmaceutical preparations
Western studies have supported the use of cloves and clove oil for dental pain. However, studies to determine its effectiveness for fever reduction, as a mosquito repellent and to prevent premature ejaculation have been inconclusive. Clove may reduce blood sugar levels.
Tellimagrandin II is an ellagitannin found in S. aromaticum with anti-herpesvirus properties.
The buds have anti-oxidant properties.
Clove oil can be used to anesthetize fish, and prolonged exposure to higher doses (the recommended dose is 400mg/l) is considered a humane means of euthanasia.
In addition, Clove oil is used in preparation of some toothpastes, laxative pills and Clovacaine solution which is a local anesthetic and used in oral ulceration and anti-inflammations. Eugenol (or clove oil generally) is mixed with Zinc oxide to be a temporary filling.
According to traditional herbalist cloves are beneficial in the following problems:
Athlete's foot and other fungal infections.
Used in anti-gout
Helpful in insomnia and Curbs the desire for alcohol
Clove Stalks: They are slender stems of the inflorescence axis which show opposite decussate branching. Externally, they are brownish, rough and irregularly wrinkled longitudinally with short fracture and dry, woody texture.
Mother Cloves (Anthophylli): There are the ripe fruits of cloves which are ovoid, brown berries, unilocular and one-seeded. This can be detected by the presence of much starch in the seeds.
Brown Cloves: Expanded flowers from which both corolla and stamens have been detached.
Exhausted Cloves: Cloves from which almost or all of the oil has been removed by distillation. They yield no oil and are darker in color.
Until 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".
Cloves 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.
In Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries, cloves were worth at least their weight in gold, due to the high price of importing them.
How Cloves Are Produced
Cloves are actually the dried flower buds that come from the evergreen clove tree that thrives in tropical climates. It is native to the Spices Islands (Moluccas) of Indonesia, but is grown in many other places today including Sumatra, India, Brazil, Jamaica , the West Indies,the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba (now parts of Tanzania), Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Malayasia . Indonesia leads the world in clove production.
Nearly 80% of the clove of thew world is produced by Indonesia followed by Madagascar and Tanzania. This pyramidal evergreen clove tree, grows up to 15 to 30 feet tall, has smooth grey bark and ovate 5 inches long leaves with small bell-shaped white flowers which grow in terminal clusters. The flower buds are greenish and turns pink at maturity. The seeds are oblong, soft, grooved on one side.
All parts of the clove tree are highly aromatic. Dried flower buds, which gives a sharp and spicy flavor, either whole or ground are used for culinary purposes. Clove oil, obtained by distillation, is widely used in synthetic vanilla and other flavorings as well as in perfumes. It has medicinal properties for digestive complaints, indigestion, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and used to treat cough, infertility, warts, worms, wounds and toothache etc.
The aromatic clove tree loves a tropical climate with rich soil, but it cannot take standing water. So it must be grown in a well drained area. It also prefers partial shade and a well distributed rainfall in a cooler area. The tree is propagated by its seeds which are allowed to drop naturally from the tree. The seeds can be sown directly in the ground, or sometimes are soaked overnight in water and then sown.
The clove tree will not produce flowers until it has been growing for at least 5 years. The cloves are hand picked when the buds are just turning pink, right before the flower opens. These harvested buds are sun dried which turns them a dark brown with light brown heads.
Propagation, Planting and Harvesting
Climate and Soil
Clove is a tropical plant and requires warm humid climate. Although there is a general belief that clove requires proximity to sea for the proper growth and yield, experience in India has shown that the trees do well in the hinterland conditions too. Clove thrives in all situations ranging from seal level upto an altitude of 1000 meters. Deep loam soil with high humus content found in the forest region is best suited for its cultivation. It grows satisfactorily on laterite soil, loam and rich black soil having good drainage.
It grows well in rich loamy soils of the humid tropics and can be grown successfully in the red soils as well as in the hilly terrain of the Western Ghats in India. Since the crop cannot withstand water logged conditions, clove needs good drainage. Clove prefers partial shade and a cooler climate with well distributed rainfall which is ideal for flowering.
Cloves are usually propagated by seeds or by cuttings. Fruits for seed collection are allowed to ripe on the tree itself and drop down naturally. These fruits can be sown directly or soaked in water overnight and the pericarp removed before sowing.
The seeds of the clove can be sown in a loose soil-sand mixture prepared with well rotted organic matter, on raised beds. Seeds are sown at 2-3 cm spacing at a depth of about 2 cm. The seed beds have to be protected from direct sunlight. The seeds will germinate about 10 to 15 days and can be transplanted in polythene bags containing a mixture of soil, sand and well decomposed cow dung. The seeds can also be sown directly in polythene bags filled with soil-sand-cow dung mixture and kept in a shady cool place. The seedlings are ready for transplanting in the field when they are 18-24 months old. The pits for planting the seedlings are partially filled with compost, green leaf or cattle manure and covered with top soil. Clove trees are planted in garden lands together with various other crop plants such as coconut, banana, jack, mango etc.
Under good soil and management condition, flowering begins in about five to seven years. The buds are hand-picked when the heads develop a pink caste or just before they open. At this stage, they are less than 2 cm long. The harvested flower buds are separated from the clusters and are then sun-dried. As they dry, the stems turn very dark brown and the heads become light tan in colour. Well dried cloves will be only about one-third the weight of fresh cloves. A mature tree may yield seven to 40 pounds in one harvest.
A well maintained full grown tree under favourable conditions may give four to eight kg dried buds. The average annual yield at the 15th year may be taken as two kg per tree or 400 kg per hectare.
Cloves have a very warm, pungent, sweet aroma, with a slightly astringent quality. Oil of clove is prized for its antiseptic qualities, and is often used in toothpaste and mouth washes. Both whole and ground forms keep well for years. Cloves are used widely in both sweet and savory dishes. Three essential oils are available from this spice: clove bud oil, clove stem oil and clove leaf oil. Each has different chemical composition and flavour. Clove bud oil, is the most expensive and the best quality product among the oils.
Varieties and Planting Material
Clove plantations in India are reported to have originated from a few seedlings obtained originally from Mauritius. The germplasm collections made from within the country have not therefore given appreciable variability in yield and growth factors.
Clove is propagated through seed obtained from ripened fruit, known, popularly as 'mother of clove'. Fruits are taken, from trees more than 15 years of age and of regular yielding nature. They are allowed to ripe on the trees and to drop down naturally. Such fruits are picked up from the ground and sown directly in the nursery. Otherwise fruits are soaked in water overnight and the seeds obtained after removal of the pericarp are sown. The pericarp is removed by rubbing the fruits with sand or ash. Seeds are good for better and early germination. About 250-300 fruits weigh one kilogram while 450-500 seeds are required to get the same weight. As seeds lose viability within one week after harvest under normal conditions early sowing is practiced. Only fully developed and uniform sized seeds which show signs of germination by the presence of pink radicle are ideal for sowing. Heaping the fruits for one or two days or keeping them in airtight bags leads to the death of seeds.
Raised nursery beds are prepared on fertile soil with high percentage of organic matter. The beds normally measure one metre width and two to three metre length. Seeds should be placed flat at a depth of about 2.5 cm with a spacing of 12 to 15 cm. Care should be taken to prevent leaching of the beds in rain. Germination commences in about 10 to 15 days and completes by about 45 days. The slender and delicate seedlings grow very slowly. Judicious watering is necessary throughout the nursery period to maintain optimum moisture in the soil. Seedlings can be retained in the nursery till they attain a height of 25-30 cm in six months and then grown in pots for another 12-18 months. For potting, seedlings are transferred to bamboo baskets or mud pots or Polythene bags filled with potting Mixture. Seedlings are nurtured under shade. As the root system of clove plant is delicate, potting should be done with utmost care, preferably on a rainy day. Clove can also be propagated vegetatively by grafting on its own root stock. But this type of Propagation is not popular at all.
Site Selection and Planting
The site for cultivation of clove should have good drainage since the crop cannot withstand water logging. It can be grown in coconut gardens of midland. At higher elevations it can be mix cropped with pepper or coffee. Clove requires a location protected from wind. If the site is open, wind breaks must be provided. Eastern and North Eastern hill slopes, well-drained valleys and riverbanks are ideal for clove cultivation. The crop thrives well under open condition at high altitude where there is fair distribution of rainfall.
The area selected for raising clove plantation is cleared off wild growth before monsoon. Pits of size 75 cm cube are dug at a spacing of seven metres accommodating about 200 trees per ha. If grown as an inter-crop, spacing is to be adjusted based on the main crop. Pits are filled with a mixture of compost or cattle manure and loose friable top soil. Seedlings are planted in the centre of the pits in May-June with the onset of monsoon and watered regularly. Banana may be planted to provide cool and humid atmosphere to the tender plants. Watering may be done during summer months.
Diseases of Cloves tree
There can be some problems when growing cloves. Seedling wilt is one of the most serious. This is a disease where the affected seedlings loose their luster, the leaves wilt and the tree dies. It can spread to the other clove trees. So any seedling affected with this needs to be disposed of immediately. Other problems like leaf rot, bud shedding and leaf spots can occur just as in any other plant and should be treated with sprays. There are also insects that feed on the tree which must be controlled.
The foliage of affected trees should be sprayed with carbendazim and prophylatic. The scale insects feed on plant sap and cause yellow spots on leaves and wilting of shoots and the plants present a sickly appearance. They can be controlled by spraying monocrotophos.
There are only a few pests attacking clove. Among them stem borer, scales and mealy bugs are important.
Stem Borer (Sahyadrassus malabaricus):This is the most important pest of clove. The caterpillars bore into the main stem resulting in immediate drying up of the plant above the point of attack and causing the death of the plant ultimately. Regular inspection of the plants and pouring a solution of 0.1% Quinalphos into the bore hole and plugging the opening as soon as the attack is noticed, will check the damage. Clean cultivation and swabbing the surface of the stem with Carbaryl 50% wettable powder as prophylactic measure will control the pest.
Scales (Lecanium psidii) and Mealy Bugs (Planococcus sp. Psuedococus sp.): Damages due to mealy bugs occur by sucking the sap from tender shoots. Affected portions dry up gradually. Infestation of scales is on leaves and tender shoots, and is serious in the nursery. Young seedlings if attacked are killed soon. Spraying with 0.05% Monocrotophs or Dimethoate will control these pests.
Diseases, are more damaging to clove than pests. The, important diseases are seedling wilt, leaf rot, leaf spot, twig blight, die back and sudden death.
Seedling Wilt: Seedling wilt is found mainly in nurseries and causes five to 40% death of seedlings. Leaves of affected seedlings loose natural lustre, tend to droop and ultimately die. The root system and collar region of the seedling show varying degrees of, discolouration and decay. Fungus such as Cylindrocladium sp., Fusarium sp., Colletotrichum sp., Rhizoctonia sp., and Trichoderma sp. have been isolated from infected parts. However, the actual causal agent is yet to be determined. Since the infected seedlings promote spread of the disease they are to be removed and destroyed and the nursery is drenched with any of the copper fungicides.
Leaf rot: It is caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium quinquiseptatum. It is noticed in the nurseries as well as in the main field both at young and mature stages. Infection starts as dark spots at the leaf margin and spreads sometimes with no definite pattern. Rotting may be in the whole leaf or at the tip resulting in defoliation, Seedling and young plants can be sprayed with systemic fungicides like Bavistin @ 2 g/litre of water for controlling the disease.
Last Spot, Twig Blight and Flower Bud shedding: The above diseases are caused by Colletotrichum gleosporioides. Necrotic spots of variable size and shapes are noticed on the leaves. Severely affected leaves wither, droop down and dry up. In nursery seedlings die back symptoms are seen. Twigs are infected as the symptoms extend from the leaves through petioles. The affected branches stand without leaves or only with young leaves at tips. Flower buds are attacked by spreading infection from the twigs. Shedding of flower buds occurs during periods of heavy and continuous rainfall. Spraying 1% Bordeaux Mixture at one to 1½ months interval reduces disease intensity, defoliation and flower bud shedding. Initial spray is given just prior to flower bud formation and continued till the harvest of buds.
Die Back: This disease effects young seedlings and grown up trees alike. The leaves rot and fall leading occasionally to total defoliation. The twigs also rot starting from tips and proceed downwards resulting in drying up of branches. Spraying with 1% Bordeaux mixture is effective in controlling the disease.
Sudden Death: It is a common disease in Zanzibar and Pemba The disease is reported to be caused by a fungus, Valsa eugeniae. The characteristic form of the disease occurs on apparently healthy mature trees. The first symptom is very slight chlorosis. It may persist for several weeks and is followed quite suddenly by a very rapid leaf fall accompanied by a wilt. A considerable proportion of the leaves dry up on the tree, without abscising and becomes bright russet-red within a few days. The cambium around the collar of the tree is stained bright yellow, which later spreads up the trunk and after some months the yellow stain becomes widespread throughout the tree. Sudden death is, closely related with water stress and wilting can be arrested by irrigation.
Manures for clove trees
Organic manures can be applied as a single dose at the beginning of the rainy season in trenches dug around the trees. The fertilizers must be applied in two equal split doses in May-June and in September-October in shallow trenches dug around the plant normally about 1-1½ m away from the base.
Clove trees are to be manured regularly for proper growth and flowering. About 15 kg of rotten cattle manure or compost is applied per plant in the initial years. The quantity is increased gradually so that a well grown tree of 15 years and more gets 40 to 50 kg of organic manure. Inorganic fertilisers are applied, starting with 20 g Nitrogen (N), 18 g Phosphorus (P205) and 50 g Potash (K20) per plant in the first year, 40 g Nitrogen (N), 36 g Phosphorus (P205) and 100 g Potash (K20) per plant in the second year and gradually increased to 300 g Nitrogen (N), 250 g Phosphorus (P205) and 750 g Potash (K20) per plant for trees of 15 years and more.
Organic manure is applied in May-June with the commencement of monsoon. Fertilisers are given in two equal split doses, one in May-June along with the organic manure and the other in September-October. For manuring shallow trench is dug around the tree about 50 to 160 cm away from the base depending upon the age.
No intercultivation is usually done for clove. However, weeds are removed at regular intervals. As the branches of full grown trees have tendency to over crowd, thinning is done occasionally. Dead and diseased shoots should be removed once or twice a year.
Harvesting and Curing
Clove tree begins to yield from the seventh year of planting and full bearing stage is attained after 15 to 20 years. The flowering season is September to October in the plains and December to February at high altitudes.
Flower buds are formed on young flush. It takes about five to six months for the buds to become ready for harvest. The optimum stage for picking clove buds is when the buds are fully developed and the base of the calyx has turned from green to pink colour. Such clove buds are carefully picked by hand. Care should be taken to collect the buds at the correct stage as otherwise the quality of the produce will be poor to a considerable extent. When the trees are tall and the branches are beyond the reach, platform ladders are used for harvesting. Bending the branches or knocking down the bud clusters with sticks is not desirable as these practices will affect the future bearing.
The buds after separation from the stalks are spread evenly to dry, in-the sun on mats or cement floors. During nights buds should be stored undercover, lest they re-absorb moisture. The period of drying depends on the prevailing climatic conditions. Normally, it is possible to dry cloves in four or five days under direct sun and in about four hours when they are heated on zinc trays over a regulated fire. Fully dried buds develop the characteristic dark brown colour and are crisp. Improperly dried and stored cloves have much darker colour and some wheat wrinkled appearance. Such a produce is considered inferior in quality. About 8000 to 10,000 good quality clove buds would weigh one kilogram.
Clove Cultivation in India
Clove was first introduced to India around 1800 AD by the East India company in its 'spice garden' in Courtallam, Tamil Nadu. Induced by the success of its introduction, cultivation of clove was extended during the period after 1850 AD to Nilgiris (Burliar), southern region of the erstwhile Travancore State and the slopes of Western Ghats. The important clove growing districts in India now are Nilgiris, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Nagercoil and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu; Kozhikode, Kottayam, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram Districts of Kerala and South Kanara district of Karnataka. As per the estimates for 1988-89, the total area of 1855 hectares under clove cultivation in India spreads over 951 hectares in Kerala, 660 hectares in Tamil Nadu, 181 hectares in Karnataka and 63 hectares in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Clove is used as an antiseptic, in culinary preparations, in pharmaceuticals manufacture, as an ingredient in cigarettes and even in the manufacture of toothpaste. Its multifarious use has given it a prominent place among spices. The East India company brought clove from its native home in Indonesia to company's spices gardens at Courtallam in Tamil Nadu around 1800 AD. Four of these trees have survived to this day, brining enormous profits to their present owner.
The compound eugenol is responsible for most of the characteristic aroma of cloves.
Eugenol comprises 72-90% of the essential oil extracted from cloves, and is the compound most responsible for the cloves' aroma. Other important essential oil constituents of clove oil include acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophyllene and vanillin; crategolic acid; tannins, gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller); the flavonoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin; triterpenoids like oleanolic acid, stigmasterol and campesterol; and several sesquiterpenes.
Eugenol has pronounced antiseptic and anaesthetic properties. Of the dried buds, 15 - 20 percent is essential oils, and the majority of this is eugenol. A kilogram (2.2 lbs) of dried buds yields approximately 150 ml (1/4 of pint) of eugenol.
Eugenol can be toxic in relatively small quantities—as low as 5 ml.