Cloves is a term that designates an evergreen tree with the scientific name Eugenia caryophyllata but especially the pink flower buds of the plant, which are harvested before they open. The tree is native to Madagascar and Indonesia.
The flower buds are harvested by hand and then dried. Once they turn brown, the buds are ground into a powder. Clove powder is a cooking ingredient or can be processed further to extract clove essential oil, which has several medicinal applications.
Eugenia caryophyllata is an evergreen tree that reaches a height between 4 and 9 meters. It produces pink, red or white flowers that must be carefully picked at the right time of the tear. Large amounts are needed for a pound of cloves, between 4000 and 7000 individual buds.
The spicy flavour of clove oil is very familiar to everyone since it is associated with the winter holidays. It is produced through the steam distillation of the flower buds and the plant stem. The result is a very concentrated oil that has a content of eugenol. It is this compound that gives clove oil its strength and most of its medical properties. The clove oil is a prized ingredient in cosmetic care products and massage oils.
Due to its very attractive smell, clove oil is also a very popular aromatic oil. It combines very well with other pleasant smells, such as nutmeg oil, cinnamon bark, orange peel or grapefruit.
Cloves has been known and used in China for thousands of years, mainly as a spice in food and for its pleasant fragrance. Much later, it was discovered by European traders and exported worldwide. It is today an important ingredient in the food and cosmetic industries.
The clove essential oil is extremely important in various schools of alternative medicine, such as homeopathy and aromatherapy. It is considered powerful due to the very high content of eugenol. This bioactive compound was found to have many benefits for human health and continues to be studied. It is considered a potential replacement for the conventional treatment of many conditions.
The tree's flower buds must be harvested by hand and then the oil is extracted by distillation. It has antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as a natural tonic effect. The clove oil is rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron and sodium.
When applied on the skin, clove oil is a well-known counter for acne. This skin infection can be treated with many commercial products in form of lotions or creams. These are effective but are usually based on very aggressive chemicals with unwanted side effects. Due to its content of eugenol, clove oil is a strong antibacterial agent. It will kill pathogens, cure infections and reduce inflammation without any side effects.
The easiest way to use the clove oil's properties is to add a few drops of the concentrated product to the cream or lotion that you use daily. It can reduce and cure acne in a few days but be careful not to add more than 2 or 3 drops of oil in the product, since it is very powerful.
Clove oil can also be applied on the skin to cure many other issues and imperfections, such as wrinkles, acne, warts or saggy skin. It is also effective when applied on wounds, cuts or areas attacked by a fungus. Athlete's foot is a fungal disease that can be easily treated with this oil.
Since it has both an attractive fragrance and excellent qualities as an antiseptic and relaxing agent, clove oil is a great ingredient in soaps. It is also part of many lotions and creams for skin care, as well as massage oils. It is an ingredient in perfumes and can be found in many other types of cosmetic products, where it is easily detected due to its trademark aroma.
This essential oil is a natural skin peeling agent. It is as effective as a chemical peel and will remove the top layer of dead and damaged skin, exposing a healthy layer with a youthful look. However, this is a delicate procedure that should only be attempted by a professional.
Clove oil's benefits also work on the scalp. A small amount of it will increase the rate of hair growth and prevent baldness. This is because the oil boosts circulation at scalp level, allowing the remaining hair follicles to stay healthy. It will restore the shine of your hair and hide bald patches. You can also use it as a natural conditioner. To prepare a natural conditioning mix, add one drop of clove oil to some quality olive oil. When your hair is wet, apply the mixture on it, then wrap your head in a towel and let it work for about 15-20 minutes. It will make your hair stronger, from the roots to the tip.
The best know health benefit of clove oil is its antiseptic effect. It can be applied on cuts, wounds, insect bites, nettle stings, athlete's foot, prickly heat or other fungal infections. However, the clove oil is a very strong peeling agent so it must be used with care. Only use a few drops and mix them in coconut oil, almond oil or other carrier oils.
You can also chew a raw clove bud if you want to benefit from its antiviral effects. Due to some compounds in its composition, it can provide you with an instant immune system boost and disease resistance. It is also rich in antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that can damage your tissues, so it acts as a blood purifier.
A particular infection that can be treated with clove oil is eye sty. This looks like a bump on the eyelid or close to it and it starts if the eyelid glands are blocked for some reason. It prevents normal vision and can cause serious pain and irritation.
Since it is widely found in kitchens, clove oil is a powerful antibacterial agent that is always available. If you suffer from eye sty or any other infection and you don't have other treatments on hand, clove oil can be a very effective natural cure for a wide range of infections.
The strong aroma of clove oil also acts as a strong bug repellent. Many insects will simply die if they smell it. It used to be sprayed over bed sheets to repulse bed bugs and it is also effective against mosquitoes.