Cloves are the rich, brown, dried, unopened flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum, an evergreen tree. They are strong, pungent, and sweet. Cloves spice is used throughout Europe and Asia and is smoked in a type of cigarettes locally known as kretek in Indonesia. Clove is a native of Indonesia and The Island of Pemba is known as ‘’island of clove’’. Clove spice is also grown in Zanzibar, Indonesia and Madagascar; it is also grown in India, and Sri Lanka. Clove spice contains essential oil upto 15%.Eugenol is the main constituent as essential oil which is phenolic monoterpens and has antiseptic properties. Dried clove leaves yield 2 to 3% of clove leaf oil. It is also rich in eugenol although the content is slightly lower. Clove leaf oil is used in cheaper products.
According to traditional herbalist cloves are said to be a natural antihelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming is needed, especially for digestive problems. In overdoses, cloves can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage. It is also used in Personal Hygiene products like toothpastes, mouthwash and tooth powders.
Cloves are frequently used in dishes to impart its distinctive flavor. Since the aroma is strong hence only little is required to be used. They are generally used to “stud” hams and pork. They are also frequently used in various North and South Indian dishes. In number of spice mixtures like curry powders, mulling spices and pickling spices, cloves are utilized. It is widely used for food flavoring and aroma in a variety of cuisines, used in confectionery and other products Cloves are used in spice cookies and cakes. It is used in a wide range of foods, meats, vegetables, sweet dishes, pastries, puddings etc.