Christmas Flavours – Clove

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Tis the season for eating delicious treats. One of the flavours of the season is Clove.  It is used to flavour everything from cookies to mulled wine.  Did you know that it also has a history? 

Cloves in Magic

Cloves are used in some magic rituals.  One of the traditional uses for cloves are as an aphrodisiac which are worn to attract members of the opposite sex.  Cloves are also carried to strengthen the memory and eyesight. 

Clove History

Cloves are actually a flower bud from an aromatic tropical evergreen tree.  

After cloves were introduced into Europe the Portuguese cornered the control of the clove trade by signing treaties with Sultans from the islands where the trees were grown. 

In the Han dynasty in China Officers were made to keep cloves in their mouths when talking to the king!  It was thought that this ensured their breath would be good. 

Clove Medicine

 The tradition of cloves for oral issues continues to modern times.  As children when we had a toothache we were given a cotton ball with clove oil which took away the pain.  Clove oil is still used for temporary relief of toothache and for dry socket.  The effective ingredient for this pain relief is eugenol. 

Cloves are: 

  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral

 Cloves are excellent carminatives, meaning that they are used to reduce and prevent gas and bloating.  The oil is also used to stimulate the flow of gastric juices and increase motility of the intestines. 

Cloves are also used as an expectorant.  This means that it allows you to cough up phlegm much more easily.  This is great in the treatment of colds and chest issues.  In modern times many people have begun to smoke clove cigarettes which is not a good idea.  Smoking cloves can lead to many different lung problems including lung infections. 

Premature Ejaculation

 Perhaps one of cloves more interesting uses is in the treatment of premature ejaculation.  This DOES NOT mean that you would apply clove oil directly to the penis!  That would be entirely the wrong way to use it.

 Research has shown that a cream made from a number of ingredients including toad venom has been successful in treating premature ejaculation. MedlinePlus is a publication of the National Institute of Health and has more information on this here.

 Edible Cloves

 The flower buds themselves are not edible unless you are fond of chewing wood, however who can forget the lovely images of the ham covered in clove buds.  

Ground cloves can be used in curries, puddings and cookies.  They decorate hams and make lovely decorations when pressed into oranges.  The additional benefit of using cloves and oranges as decorations is the amazing scent they give to the air.  Last but certainly not least, cloves are one of the ingredients in gingerbread. 

Anyway you look at it, cloves are more than they seem.