Cloves- The Fragrant Flower Buds
Amazingly! These clogged aromatic pink flower buds of the evergreen clove tree belong to the family Myrtaceae, with its botanical name Syzygium Aromaticum is a native to the Spice Islands of Indonesia.
The buds are picked by hand when they are pink and dried until they turn brown in colour. Cloves are about 1/2-inch long and 1/4-inch in diameter and with their tapered stem, they resemble tiny nails. In fact, their English name is actually derived from the Latin word Clavus, which means Nail.
Aside from very hard exteriors, their flesh has an oily compound that adds to their nutritional and flavour profile.
Cloves have a warm, sweet and aromatic tang that stir up the tropical climates where they are grown.
Cloves are also grown in India, Pakistan and East Africa. During 13th and 14th centuries cloves were shipped from Indonesia to different parts of the world.
This commonly used spice has many health benefits. They helps in digestion, enhance immune system, give relief from headaches, protects liver against infections, effective against bacterial infection, beneficial in preserving bone density, serve in controlling blood sugar levels, provides relief from inflammation and pain, rich in anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic properties and cures gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.
The nutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, total lipids, sugars, energy and dietary fibre are present in cloves. Minerals in cloves include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. The vitamins found in cloves include Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid.
Cloves form the culinary base in Asian, African and the Middle East cuisines. It lends flavour to meats, curries and marinates and to fruits such as Apples and Pears.
Cloves give aroma and flavours to hot beverages with lemon and sugar and it also common ingredient in spice blends.
Cloves are the main element in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, Western herbalism and Dentistry. It is used as carminative and natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy, hyptonic muscles and relieving tooth ache. Its distinguished ability to warm stomach related troubles and fortify kidney makes it an integral part of Chinese medicine.
Today, clove is a very important commercial crop all around the world.