The clove is a sharply pungent and strongly aromatic spice
used for a wide variety of purposes. It is collected as unopened immature flower buds of a tall tropical tree. The word 'clove' is said to be from Latin to mean 'nail' because the bud of the flower looks almost like a nail. But in Kerala
, the bud is called karayampoo or grampoo. In Sanskrit it is lavang. In French 'clou de girifle', in German 'gewuzenelke', in Spanish 'clavo de especia', in Italian 'chiodo di garofano' and in Chinese 'ding heung'. The plant is a native of the North Molucca Islands of Indonesia. It is also cultivated in Brazil, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka.
The clove is used for a variety of purposes. It goes well in culinary needs and as a flavoring agent in food industry. In Indian and Mexican cooking, clove is a pleasant ingredient. It is used in medicine as carminative, aromatic and stimulant. Because of its antiseptic and antibiotic properties, its oil is used in dentistry and pharyngeal treatments. It is used in the preparations of tooth paste, mouthwashes, soaps and perfumes. In traditional Indian systems of medicine it has been used from time immemorial to treat respiratory and digestive problems. The traditional Chinese physicians have also used this to treat indigestion, diarrhea, hernia, ringworm, and fungal infections. The old German herbalists too used cloves for making anti-gout mixtures, according to records. When added to bitter herbals, cloves make it more palatable. Clove oil is another popular stuff to relieve toothache. A few drops of it would stop vomiting. Clove contains antioxidants. There is a belief that clove is an aphrodisiac when eaten. In India clove is used as a tea. Clove is used for reducing fever to some extent. It is also used as a mosquito repellent.