Cloves – medicinal and pomander recipe! – Naturopathic Medicine Network

Cloves – medicinal and pomander recipe!

Posted by Thalia on 10/16/00 at 11:20 AM


HerbTalk October 15, 2000 ? Cloves

For informational purposes only. Please contact a doctor before you take any herbs.



– Herbfacts: Cloves

– Healing Benefits

– How to Use Cloves

– Fragrant Fall Pomander Recipe

I. Herbfacts: CLOVES

Cloves (Carophyllus aromaticum) are native to the Spice Islands, but

they are also cultivated in the East and West Indies, Madagascar and

Brazil. Cloves are the dried flower buds of the clove tree, which is

a small evergreen tree with gray bark and bright green leaves. The

leaves are covered with clove oil droplets, which makes the whole

tree fragrant. The flower buds have large amounts of essential oil

that is used in medicine. Cloves are also used in cooking.

Cloves have a rich history dating back to 207 B.C. in China, when the

emperor required visitors to chew cloves to freshen their breath.

The ancient Greeks used cloves in love potions. Portuguese explorer

Ferdinand Magellan, the first European to reach the Spice Islands,

brought some cloves back to Spain in 1522, where they became prized

for their medicinal properties. After a long trade war, the Dutch

gained a monopoly on the clove trade, destroying any trees that were

not planted by the Dutch East India Company. In the 18th century, a

French adventurer broke the monopoly by smuggling seedlings across

the Indian Ocean.

Today, cloves are synonymous with the holidays. They are found on

baked ham, in spiced cider, apple pie and holiday cookies, and stuck

into oranges for decorative pomanders (recipe below). Cloves are

enjoying a revival in alternative medicine because of their many

healing benefits.


For centuries, cloves have been chewed to temporarily relieve

toothache pain. Cloves are currently used as the active ingredient

in many commercial mouthwashes and toothache remedies.

The active ingredient in cloves is eugenol, an effective painkiller.

Eugenol helps kill bacteria and viruses, giving cloves antiseptic

(infection-fighting) powers. Cloves are used today to treat

athlete’s foot and other skin infections since studies show that

the oil in cloves kills several strains of bacteria.

Clove tea has been used by the Chinese to treat indigestion. Cloves

are stimulating and aid digestion. Clove tea is used to break up

intestinal gas and to treat nausea and heartburn. Eugenol kills

bacteria, which prevents traveler diarrhea.


Make an Infusion (Clove Tea): Pour 1 cup boiling water on 1 tsp. of

cloves and let it steep for ten minutes. Add honey if desired.

Cloves have a stimulating, spicy taste. Do not use clove tea for

long periods of time without asking your doctor.

Make a Poultice (to treat cuts and bites): Grind up several cloves

and mix in water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the cut and

cover the cut with a warm towel. Leave on for five minutes.

Warnings: If a clove poultice causes skin reddening or a rash, stop

using it. Do not take cloves if you are taking anticoagulant or

antiplatelet drugs. Cloves can irritate the stomach if taken in

large quantities. Ask your doctor before taking cloves if you have a

history of cancer, if you are taking birth control pills or

prescriptions for chronic illness, if you are pregnant or lactating,

under 18 or elderly.


This recipe makes a lovely scented pomander for holiday decorations

or gifts. Pomanders provide a long-lasting holiday scent for people

with allergies who do not like flowery smells. Start this project

now so the pomanders will be ready in time for the holidays.

Pomanders can be hung from ribbons or arranged in decorative bowls.

When hung in closets, pomanders help keep moths away.

Pomanders should be started and finished in the same day, to prevent

molding. Choose 3 or 4 oranges or lemons with thin skins. Insert 4

ounces of whole cloves all over the fruits, spaced 1/8″ apart,

until the fruits are covered with cloves. The fruits will shrink as

they dry, so do not put the cloves too close together. You might

find it easier to prick the fruits first with a thin, pointed tool

before inserting the cloves.

Mix 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon and 1 tbsp. ground nutmeg in a small

bowl. Roll each fruit in the mix to coat it to keep air out. Then

place the fruits in a large bowl, cover them with spice mixture and

let them dry in a warm, dry place, turning them daily to make sure

the spices are evenly distributed. The pomanders are ready when the

fruits are hard and completely dry, which takes about a month. Dust

them off with a paintbrush and tie with ribbon.


I hope you have enjoyed this write-up. Please feel free to forward

this newsletter to anyone you think may benefit from it. If you have

any questions or suggestions, email me at [email protected].

See ya!


Copyright ? 2000 Thalia Cambouroglou. All rights reserved. Use subject to Terms and Conditions.

Posted By # Date & Time

Re: Cloves – medicinal and pomander recipe!
Christina 0 01/17/06 03:07 PM

Re: Cloves – medicinal and pomander recipe!
amirahl 2 08/18/03 09:38 PM

Re: Cloves – medicinal and pomander recipe!
cassie 0 12/10/01 02:49 AM