- Clove, (Syzygies aromatic), tropical evergreentree of the family Myrtaceae and its small reddish brown flower buds used as a spice.
- Strong of aroma and hot and pungent in taste, cloves are used to flavor many foods, particularly meats and bakery products; in Europe and the United States the spice is a characteristic flavoringin Christmas holiday fare, such as wassail and mincemeat.
- During the late middle Ages, cloves were used in Europe to preserve, flavor, and garnish food.
- In the early 21st century, Indonesia was the world’s largest producer of cloves, followed by Madagascar, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka.
- The clove treeis an evergreen that grows to about 8 to 12 meters (25 to 40 feet) in height.
- Its gland-dotted leavesare small, simple, and opposite.
- The trees are usually propagatedfrom seeds that are planted in shaded areas.
- Flowering begins about the fifth year; a tree may annually yield up to 34 kg (75 pounds) of dried buds.
- Cloves vary in length from about 13 to 19 mm (0.5 to 0.75 inch).
- Cloves are strongly pungent owing to eugenol, which is extracted by distillation to yield oil of cloves.
- This oil is used to prepare microscopic slides for viewing and is also a local anesthetic for toothaches.
- The winter spice may also help regulate blood sugar levels. A study published in Journal Natural Medicine,examined the hypoglycemic effects of cloves on diabetic rats and found promising results.
One effective way to reap benefits of cloves is by brewing it in tea.