Syzygium Aromaticum was once the subject of feuds among most European states, as they all sought to control this precious product. Syzygium Aromaticum’s place of origin is traced back to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia.
Today, the commodity has spread all over the continent for cultivation to areas like Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, and some parts of the Caribbean. This clove growing culture is slowly being adopted by the Brazilian state of Bahia. They are considered one of the first spices to sell out and are widely used for cooking purposes. Also known as cloves, they are small and are used while dry for that desired purposes.
Cloves are a main ingredient in lots of essential oils. A large percentage of it is eugenol, which makes up about 90% of the oil produced by the product. Eugenol has numerous medicinal and commercial benefits.
Its mode of extraction is manual, which involves obtaining the oil from the clove buds or leaves of the tree plant itself. Other sources of this oil include allspice, though it produces a smaller quantity.
Favorable Conditions For Growing Syzygium Aromaticum
Cloves do well in areas with tropical mountain slopes. Generally, the place should either be humid tropical or sub tropical; a place with an average temperature of 90 F. The soil should be well drained and fertile.
About The Tree
The tree grows to a height of 8-20 meters tall. It is bushy with dark green numerous leaves that bear the Syzygium Aromaticum. The tree is wholly aromatic leaves, bark, and flower buds, but the main area of interest lies in the buds. They are even occasionally plucked by hands.
The simple leaves are bright green and shiny. The lower part of the leaf secretes the oily substance from the oil glands. Its flowers grow out in small groups. As it matures, the flower turns from being shiny and glossy to being green and later to bright red as it goes through the whole stage of flowering. Once it reaches 4 years old, harvesting can commence. It is then dried up for use.
Although cloves aren’t allowed to reach the fruit stage, its fruits start to show up nine months after its blooming stage. The flower’s ovary turns to a fruit which is reddish purple in color and grows to the size of an olive. The sepals take up the position of the flowers. Each fruit has no more than 2 seeds and is dubbed the ‘mother of cloves’.
Though it has not been declared a worrying issue, the number of clove trees is soon to depreciate. The main areas to be affected are those that the commercial crop spread out to. This is because the quantity of samples that was dispersed to several countries is limited.
Moreover, the clove tree is said to self pollinate, which deters diversification. Should any crop improvement project come up, clove should definitely fall in that category. This way, variety is enhanced and a new mechanism is adopted to avoid depletion of the species by pests and diseases.
Uses And Benefits
In cooking, clove has gained wide recognition for the great impact it has on food. When used as a spice, your taste buds tingle at the hot mix of flavors. They add more aromas to your food.
They can be used on various types of food like pumpkin pie, stews, ginger bread, and many more. It is also used in drinks like wine for a savory taste. It is a good preservative agent, since it prevents the food from going stale. Most Europeans use this product in their red meat before cooking.
The use of cloves in food helps in digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes and is a great preventative food against cancer. It is an immune booster as well as a protective for the liver.
It controls the sugar levels in the body and is a remedy for nausea. Cloves also restrict production of human pathogens that act against the body and revive appetite for those with eating disorders or illnesses that make eating difficult. Clove tea also relieves insomnia.
1. Cloves contain a huge percentage of eugenol components in them. Eugenol is a great antibacterial and antiseptic component against ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, and other types of sicknesses.
2. Clove oil is a great treatment against some skin complications like acne and warts since it is laden with disinfecting property.
3. It is also used to relieve tooth pain. The best application method is usually applying the whole of it to the affected gum. In effect, the gum takes in the oil from the clove which then relieves it from pain. This in turn promotes a healthy and fresh dental formula. Though not fully proved to be effective, the clove can also be used on the outer skin to relieve the body from sunburns or poison ivy.
4. In case of a sore throat, boil cloves in water and gargle the liquids to drive away the pain. It also promotes fresh breath and is also applied in the treatment of minor injuries.
5. Cloves are great antihistamines which clear up the sinus passageways to enhance good breathing.
6. Dentists use cloves to make tooth fillers which help the tooth that is experiencing decay or a cavity. Eugenol is combined with cement made from zinc oxide to make up good filler.
7. Clove is also a good perfume agent when mixed with other products to bear that appealing fragrance. It is a great product for perfume manufacturing.
Today, this great product is being used in modern medicine and has great curative benefits. It has impressive benefits to the health, which is why its intake should be greatly encouraged.
Risks And Side Effects of Syzygium Aromaticum
Despite the numerous benefits the clove product has shown in all aspects of life, it does have some shortcomings. It should be taken in moderate quantities to avoid triggering the following risks and effects:
1. Intake of too much clove can induce excessive bleeding. This arises mainly because the component eugenol, aside from having great benefits, is a thinning agent which prevents the blood from clotting – hence resulting in excessive bleeding.
The best way to curb this complication is to reduce its intake, especially by those suffering from blood disorders like hemophilia or those using an anticoagulant medication. Those scheduled to undergo surgery should also limit or avoid use.
2. It triggers hypoglycemia. If you have low blood sugar production in your body, desist from taking cloves or reduce your intake. This is because it will further decrease the production of glucose in your body, triggering hypoglycemia.
3. An overdose of cloves can lead to nausea or vomiting, sore throat, liver problems, kidney complications, fluid imbalance, and difficulty breathing.
4. It also triggers allergic reactions for some users. It is a major allergen, the cause of which can be attributed to the component eugenol. Excessive consumption of clove might lead to rashes, swells, choking, and hives for affected individuals. In grave situations, it might lead to anaphylaxis and even death.
5. Cloves are also used in many cigarettes today. This has become a habit for many people and causes respiratory problems. By inhaling the cigar, you are letting too much clove powder get to your lungs, which is an excessive quantity for your lungs to hold. As a result, it contributes to shortness of breath or lung infections. This is compounding on top of all of risks and side effects associated with tobacco use.
6. Skin sensitivity. This mainly comes up after applying the clove oil on your skin, especially if it’s too concentrated. Effects will show up in the form of rashes, swelling, and burns. With persistence in its use, it might cause damage to your skin cells.
7. With continued excessive intake, it may lead to seizures. This happens due to random electrical action within the brain cells, hence opening your body up for seizures. In the end, it might cause epilepsy in certain individuals.
8. In men, there is an odd and ancient practice used by some of applying clove oil to the penis. This can cause premature ejaculation and the inability of the penis to stay hard for long. Who wants that? The best remedy for this is to moderate its intake or stop taking it at all unless prescribed by your doctor.
Syzygium Aromaticum Conclusion
Syzygium Aromaticum is a good herb that is used in both food and medicine. It also has its own shortcomings, such as seizures, skin and mouth sensitivity, numbness, erectile dysfunction in men, allergic reactions, and breathing problems, among many others. However, these usually arise with excessive intake.
This said, you should always check with you doctor if you intend to use cloves for medicinal purposes. Only your doctor can properly ascertain whether this practice is safe for you as an individual. The benefits of cloves have been proven to be great, and have been in force for decades.