Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Yoga & Wellbeing
Consultations, Workshops and Herb walks


Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. And Perry Cloves

Family: Myrtaceae
Description: “Small evergreen tree with ascending branches and shiny, leathery, aromatic, ovate-lanceolate leaves, which are salmon-pink when young. Fragrant pink flowers are produced in summer, followed by aromatic, purple berries. H20m, S 6-10m. Tender.” (Bown, 1995: 206)
Habitat: Native to Molucca Islands, Indonesia; introduced into Tanzania, Brazil and other tropical parts.
Harvest: Unopened flowers are picked as they develop.

Parts used: Flower buds.
Dosage: 1:5 Tincture: 1-2ml tds, Fluid Extract: 1ml tds, Dried: 2g tds.

Character: ‘Hot…raises the yang’ (De Paoli, 1998: 53)

-Antiemetic. (Wren, 1988; GT; Ody, 1993)

Organ systems: Upper-respiratory, digestive;

-Upper respiratory infections; sinusitis; (GT)
-Colds and flu, especially in initial ‘shivery’ stages and for clearing phlegm (De Paoli, 1998);
-Digestive problems such as bloating , indigestion, flatulence; (GT)
-Nausea and vomiting (Ody, 1993);

Topical usage: Wounds; mouth ulcers, toothache (use with caution) -GT; [Myrrh preferable];

Safety: Clove oil should not be taken internally; potentially toxic at 0.5ml/ kilo causing depression of nervous system and liver dysfunction (GT).

Contra-indications: Children under five GT).

Key Constituents:
-Volatile oil, about 15-20%, mainly eugenol (85-90%) and some sesquiterpenes;
-Flavonoids; kaempferol, rhamnetin;
-sterols; sisterol, campesterol and stigmasterol;

Pharmacology: Aqueous extracts and oil potentiate activity of trypsin (Wren, 1988).
Toxicology: No studies found.

History: Used in China as early as 266 BC and introduced into Europe by 4th century; many native trees destroyed by Dutch in colonial wars to preserve own monopoly in 1600s (Trease, 1957). In China it was customary to hold a clove in the mouth as a breath-sweetener while addressing the Emperor. Cloves and oil used in preparation of some cigarettes, such as Indian “beedis” and Indonesian “kretaks”, for their stimulant action (Wren, 1988). Name derives from Greek, syzygos, ‘joined’, referring to the Jamaican species (Bown. 1995).

Traditional and Practitioner sources:
“For clove tea, infuse 2-3 cloves in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 mins. [Drunk] during winter months, can be good preventative to colds and flu…Like mint, rosemary, fennel and ginger, cloves are good for those with ‘cold constitutions’ and slow digestion, especially for symptoms of bloated stomach and heavy breath.” De Paoli, 1998: 53.

“For nausea and vomiting, due to food poisoning, infections, feveror migraines, take an infusion. Use as a simple.” Penelope Ody, 1993: 154.

Bel Charlesworth Medical Herbalist

Bel Charlesworth MNIMH
Medical Herbalist

BSc Herbal Medicine

Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists since 2003

Tel: 07775 920079

Follow Yorkshire Herbalist on Twitter

Herbal Medicine, Nutrition & Wellbeing

Workshops & Herb walks

Yoga & Meditation Teacher

Based in Otley, West Yorkshire

Yorkshire Herbalist

Bel's Blog

Join our Newsletter

* indicates required