Condimantra Cloves Spices
April 23, 2017
Condimantra Cloves Spices
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Condimantra Cloves Spices

Eugenol is the essential oil extracted from cloves (72–90% by weight) and is most responsible for clove aroma.
Other important essential oil constituents of clove include acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophyllene and vanillin, crategolic acid, tannins, gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller), the flavonoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, eugenitin, oleanolic acid, stigmasterol, campesterol and several sesquiterpenes.

  1. Archaeologists have found cloves in a ceramic vessel in Syria, with evidence that dates the find to within a few years of 1721 BC
  2. Native to the Malucca Islands, cloves were once a treasured commodity prized by the Ancient Romans
  3. The Chinese were said to use them as far back as 226 BC. They chewed the flowerets prior to having an audience with the Emperor so that their breath would not smell bad
  4. From the 8th century, cloves became increasingly popular in Europe, and along with nutmeg, the importation of this coveted spice helped the enterprising Venetians become extraordinarily wealthy
  5. The lure of cloves and nutmeg attracted the Portuguese to the Spice Islands in 1514; they were followed by the Dutch in 1605
  6. In fact, the Dutch wanted a monopoly on cloves, so they went about destroying clove trees that sprouted up anywhere outside of their control. This ended up causing quite an uprising because native tradition was to plant a clove tree upon the birth of a child and the life of the tree was psychologically tied directly to that of the child
  7. The Dutch retained control over the trade until late in the 18th century, at which time the exotic spices of the Moluccas were starting to be grown elsewhere in the world
  8. Until modern times, cloves grew only on a few islands in the Moluccas (historically called the Spice Islands), including Bacan, Makian, Moti, Ternate, and Tidore
  9. In fact, the clove tree that experts believe is the oldest in the world, named Afo, is on Ternate. The tree is between 350 and 400 years old
  10. Seedlings from this very tree were stolen by a Frenchman named Poivre in 1770, transferred to France, and then later to Zanzibar, which was once the world’s largest producer of cloves

Scientific Name: Syzygium aromaticum

Other Names: laung (India)


  1. Clove are small, reddish-brown flower buds of the tropical evergreen tree Syzygium aromaticum of the family Myrtaceae
  2. The English name derives from the Spanish clavo, Latin clavus or the French “clou“ meaning ‘nail‘
  3. Cloves are harvested primarily in Zanzibar, Indonesia and Madagascar; it is also grown in India, and Sri Lanka
  4. Clove was important in the earliest spice trade and believed in indigenous to the Moluccas or ‘Spice Islands’ (now Maluka), of Indonesia
  5. The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia

Health benefits:

  1. Cloves have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic properties. They are also a natural anaesthetic (due to the eugenol oil) which is why they were often used for dental procedures since centuries
  2. Topical application of Eugenol oil helps in blood circulation and relieve muscle spams
  3. Cloves are a great spice to heal ailments of the digestive system. They are well known for relieving flatulence and can actually help promote good digestion as well as metabolism

Common uses in Indian cuisine:

  1. Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian)
  2. In North Indian cuisine, it is used in almost all rich or spicy dishes as an ingredient of garam masala
  3. In the south Indian cuisine, it finds extensive use in the biryani dish (similar to the pilaf, but with the addition of local spice taste), and is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavour of the rice
  4. Whole cloves are frequently used to flavour cooking liquids for simmering fish, poultry, game and meat
  5. Dried cloves are also a key ingredient in Indian masala chai, spiced tea, a special variation of tea popular in some regions, notably Gujarat
  6. They are also used in sweet, hot drinks and desserts as their ‘warm’ flavour goes well with sugar


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