CLOVE Syzygium aromaticum
'Flower of the Gods' is what Cloves are called in Asia. At home in the Spice Islands and the Philippines, Cloves have long been known and used in the West. They arrived via the old spice routes and were sold in the Arab markets until 16th century, when Portuguese explorers discovered their true origin. Wars were waged over the dominion of the islands - the tropical climate produced an abundance of wonderfully exotic spices and Europeans were crazy for them: Cloves, Nutmeg and Cinnamon were among the most precious substances of commerce in those days, and a man's fortune could be made or lost depending on the outcome of their adventures in the East. The name 'Cloves' actually derives from the Latin'clavus', meaning little nail, which survives in the Dutch name 'Kruidnagel' - Herbnail. In Asia, garlands of Clove flowers are placed around children's necks for protection. It keeps evil spirits away and protects against nasty gossip. In Indonesia, one of the traditional growing areas, Cloves are not so much used as a culinary spice, but as a flavouring agent for cigarettes. They are also commonly used as an incense ingredient. The Chinese not only use it as a spice as an ingredient in their famous 5 spice mixture, but also as medicine. In western cuisines it is mostly associated with Christmas baking, mulled wine and apple spice. When the plague raged through Europe, Cloves were highly valued. Their anti-septic properties probably saved quite a few souls. Today, Cloves are mostly known for their insect repellent properties and their usefulness as a local anaesthetic, particularly in the treatment of toothache.
Traditional A dab of Clove oil works wonders on an aching tooth until one can get to the doctor for proper treatment. It can be used in blends for rheumatism, arthritis and muscle aches and pains. It stimulates peristalsis and alleviates nausea. Clove oil has anti-fungal properties and can be used to treat athlete's foot. Diffused in an oil-lamp it can purify the air in a sick room and keep insects and mosquitoes away. It strengthens and stimulates the uterus and may ease the pain of labour. However, for this purpose it should only be used under proper supervision. Clove oil should be avoided entirely during the early stages of pregnancy. Use with caution.
The scent is invigorating and punchy and can be used to boost energy levels or to add extra potency to incense blends or ritual cups. Beware though, of its aphrodisiac powers! It is commonly used in love philtres and potions or carried in the pocket to attract a lover. Cloves offer protection and ward off evil spirits and jealousy. They also make a very potent ritual cleanse. Sometimes they are used for prosperity magic.
A rich, warm and spicy scent. Blends well with Orange, Bergamot, Rose, Vanilla, Clary Sage, Pimento and Ylang Ylang.