Have you baked your gingerbread cookies yet? There is no Christmas without the aroma of cloves, cinnamon, star aniseed, orange peel, nutmeg, and ginger.
The aromatic history of clove
One of the earliest known spices in trade, cloves are the dried unopened floral buds of an evergreen tree. The quest for cloves is one of those events that have shaped world history. They spurred expeditions and wars, created monopolies, generated fantastic wealth and created great suffering. In medieval Europe, when all spices were scarce, expensive cloves were seen as a sign of indulgence, a show of wealth and a rare prize reserved for special occasions like Christmas. The powerful clove aroma is particularly associated with the Christmas tradition of making pomanders when oranges are studded with clove buds to make fragrance balls which scent houses and serve as festive decorations. They can also repel moths and other insects. Traditionally the main medicinal applications for clove were digestive disorders, as a mouth freshener and pain relief in a toothache as the oil has a local anaesthetic and antiseptic action. As far back as 226 BC the Chinese were said to chew them prior to having an audience with the Emperor so that their breath would not smell bad. The distinctive ﬂavour of clove is due to an aromatic essential oil that makes up approximately 18 per cent of the bud.
The medicinal properties of clove
The research into the whole plant extract of clove is not as extensive as the research into the essential oil of clove or its chief constituent, the phenolic compound eugenol. However, given the large percentage of essential oil in the extract, similar effects may be found with the extract. Clove represents one of the richest sources of antioxidant phenolic compounds. With astringent, local anaesthetic, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inﬂammatory, vulnerary, carminative, vermifuge, antispasmodic, expectorant and antimicrobial including antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal actions clove is useful for the treatment of toothaches and gum disorders, candida, ringworm, athlete’s foot and other fungal infections, bacterial and viral infections such as bronchial infections, coughs and sinus problems, digestive disorders such as indigestion, immune modulation and oxidative stress.
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Danuta Hulajko is a holistic practitioner, international speaker and the founder & practitioner at the DH Natural Medicine Clinic and www.healingremedies.com.au in Sydney.
Danuta specialises in Allergies, Anti-Aging, Auto-Immune Conditions, Cardiovascular Conditions, Female Reproductive, Menopause, Mould Toxicity, Skin Conditions, Stress and Insomnia and Thyroid Dysfunction.
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