Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum), or in Indonesia is called Cengkih/Cengkeh are the dried, unopened flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen tree related to Myrtaceae family. Cloves is a flower originated from Indonesia and grown primarily in Indonesia, Zanzibar and the West Indies. Cloves are about a half inch long with a knob at one end with unopened pedals.
Cloves grow best in cool, moist air like that found in the hills not far from the sea in southern Java, Sulawesi. Clove trees reach heights of up to 45 feet. The leaves are shiny, dark green and very fragrant. Small red flowers grow in clusters of three at the end of the branches. Cloves need a rain fall of ay least 60 inches and a dry season for harvesting and curing, The bulbs are first pale in color, and then turn green. They are harvested by hand when they are bright red, before the buds open. They are dried on palm mats and are dark brown when they dry. Indonesia is the world's largest producers of cloves. Nearly all the cloves produced there are purchased domestically to produce kreteks (clove cigarettes).
World Cloves Production
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization Statistic, Indonesia is the world's biggest cloves producer. As shown in the chart and the maps below, we can clearly see that Indonesia tops all countries in cloves production.
Cloves Nutrition Facts and Uses
Cloves are one of the highly prized spices, widely recognized all over the world for their medicinal and culinary qualities. The spice buds are actually the "flower buds" from an evergreen rain forest tree native to Indonesian "spice islands".
Because of the warm characteristic of cloves, it makes cloves as the best mixture for beverages in a cold weather. Aside from its ability to make the body warm cloves is also known for its good nutritions and several health benefits.
Some of the health benefits by consuming cloves includes:
Medicinal properties and health benefits of cloves
1. Make the heart healthier, Eugenol contained in cloves are very good to take care of the heart's health. Eugenol is known to prevent the blood from freezing so it will help speed up the blood stream. A good blood flow in the body will help the heart of getting any heart disease and prevent heart from stroke.
2. Anti Bacteria and Fungus, Eugenol is known as a natural antiseptic. The Eugenol contained in cloves is also good for the skin healthiness. The anti bacteria and fungus from the Eugenol is able to prevent any skin diseases caused by fungus. The steps are pretty easy, you only need to boil some cloves with water. Take some of the liquid and rub gently to the infected skin, after that rinse it with a clean water.
3. The active principles in the cloves increase the gut motility and digestion power through improved gastrointestinal enzyme secretions. Thus, it helps relieve indigestion and constipation problems.
4. The spice also contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium. Potassium is an essential electrolyte of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. The human body uses manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
5. Further, the spice buds contain very good amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene levels. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. The body also requires vitamin-A for maintaining healthy mucosa, skin and for healthy vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
6. Additionally, this spice is a good source of vitamin-K, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), vitamin-C and riboflavin. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
1. The essential oil, eugenol in this spice has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum.
2. Eugenol also has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, but further detailed studies required to establish its benefits.
3. Its decoction is sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion in traditional medicine preparations.
4. It is also thought to have a natural anti-parasite (kills intestinal worms) function.
5. 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.
6. Clove oil is also used in aromatherapy.
1. This popular spice has been used in the preparation of many regular dishes in Asian and Chinese cuisine since ancient times. Along with other spices like pepper, turmeric, ginger, etc. is being used in marinating chicken, fish, and meat.
2. Some of Indian vegetarian, chicken and rice dishes (biryani) contain cloves, and in the Middle East, it is used in meat and rice dishes.
3. The spicy buds also feature in the preparation of soups, barbecue sauces, pickling and as one of the ingredients in curry powders.