Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) is a slow-growing evergreen tree in the Myrtaceae family. It is native to the Spice Islands of Indonesia and thrives in humid climates with heavy annual rainfall. Clove trees grow between fifteen and forty feet in height and can live up to one hundred years. The trunks of trees are narrow with many branches and smooth, gray bark. Clove leaves are long and oval and can range from yellow to green in color. The flowers of the clove tree are small and grow in clusters at the ends of the branches. The flower buds emerge with a pale color and gradually turn green before transitioning to a bright reddish pink color when they are ready to harvest. Clove buds are around a half inch to one inch long when ready for harvest. Essential oil can be extracted from the clove tree's leaves, stems, and buds but is far more concentrated in the buds. Clove buds can contain anywhere from fifteen to twenty percent essential oil when they are mature and ready for harvest. Clove trees begin to blossom six to tens years after planting but do not reach full maturity until fifteen to twenty years old when their essential oil quality is highest.
The name Clove Bud is derived from ‘clavus’, a Latin term that means ‘nail’. This moniker refers to the distinctive shape of the dried buds. The Clove tree is highly symbolic in the Spice Islands where it originates. When a child is born, local people will plant a clove tree, connecting the child with the life cycle of the tree.
The exact details of when Cloves were first traded out of the Spice Islands are unknown but China was likely among the first places they made their way into. The use of Cloves in China can be traced back to the early second century BCE during the reign of the Han dynasty. During this time they were used in food and traditional medicine as well as being chewed for breath freshening. It is believed that Cloves made their way out of China and into the Greek and Egyptian empires during the first century CE and reached India by the second century CE. In India, cloves were used in food and Ayurvedic medicine. Through the third and fourth centuries CE, Cloves were spread throughout the Mediterranean by way of Phoenician traders. They were later brought into Europe by Jewish traders and were used there as food preservatives and garnish. In regions of Asia, including India and South Korea, eugenol is extracted from Clove Bud Essential Oil and used in the treatment of tooth pain. Clove Bud Essential Oil is a key component of Choji Oil that was used to clean and maintain Japanese swords.
The cultivation of Cloves was confined to Indonesia for most of its history but it was able to branch out to spread across the world after the dismantlement of the Dutch production monopoly. Countries such as India, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Tanzania, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have become significant producers of Cloves, but Indonesia remains the world's largest producer.
During the dry season, Clove buds are harvested by hand when they begin to transition from green to red. After harvest, Clove buds are dried in the sun before being broken down into minute pieces to increase surface area and ensure maximum essential oil yield. Clove Bud Essential Oil is extracted from the dried flower buds of the tree through steam distillation. The resulting essential oil is thin and clear to pale yellow in color with a warm, spicy, and woodsy aroma.
Benefits & Uses
Used in aromatherapy, Clove Bud Essential Oil has been found to enhance focus and concentration by stimulating the brain's cognitive processes. It may work to balance the emotions while helping to combat feelings of stress and anxiety. Diffusing and inhaling Clove Bud Essential Oil is known to ease congestion and soothe coughs while helping to open the airways. Clove has been found to have aphrodisiac properties and may help to support feelings of intimacy and passion. Clove Bud Essential Oil can also help to repel pest insects such as mosquitoes and eliminate unpleasant odors.
When diluted and used topically, Clove Bud Essential Oil is believed to be cleansing and rejuvenating to the skin. It may help to stimulate blood flow to the skin which can combat dull skin and encourage a radiant complexion. Clove may also work to soothe dryness and irritation in the skin while keeping acne and blemishes at bay. Clove Bud Essential Oil has a long history of use in dental care and it has been found to soothe tooth pain with the added bonus of freshening the breath. It may also help to relieve pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints and help to support quick healing of minor wounds and bruises.
In perfumery Clove Bud Essential Oil is a middle note and can help to add warmth and depth to rose and floral blends. Clove is often utilized in ‘Oriental’ type fragrances and can be used very sparingly due to its pungent aroma. Clove Bud Essential Oil can be used in combination with vanilla to produce an aroma similar to carnation. The use of carnation absolute is heavily restricted because of its chemical composition which makes the clove substitute highly useful in commercial perfumery.
Clove is a popular spice in the cuisine of many cultures and is widely used in baked goods. Because of this popularity, Clove Bud Essential Oil is used as a flavoring agent for the large-scale production of some desserts and beverages.
Here are some recipes using Clove Bud essential oil that we love...
Comfort & Concentration Diffuser Blend
- 3 drops of Clove Bud Essential Oil
- 3 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
- 3 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
Add water to your diffuser up to the fill line. Add drops of the essential oil blend. This diffuser blend recipe is formulated for a 200ml ultrasonic diffuser. Adjust the amount according to the size and directions of your diffuser.
Sweet Tooth Toothache Roll On
- 10ml Amber Roll-On Bottle
- ⅓oz Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 5 drops of Clove Bud Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
Add all the ingredients to the roll-on bottle and shake well to combine. Roll on to the jaw area to soothe tooth and gum pain.
Spice Bouquet Solid Perfume
- 2tbsp of Sweet Almond Oil
- 2tbsp of Beeswax Pearls
- 10 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Clove Bud Essential Oil
Heat sweet almond oil and beeswax pearls on a double boiler until the beeswax is fully melted. Remove the bowl from heat and stir, allowing it to cool for a moment. Add essential oils and stir again. Pour the liquid into airtight storage containers. Small metal tins or glass containers are a great choice for easy travel or gifting. Allow the perfume to fully harden before use.
Warm Radiance Toner Spray
- 4oz Amber Glass Bottle with Spray Top
- 3 oz of Witch Hazel Extract
- 1oz of Aloe Vera Oil
- 10 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Clove Bud Essential Oil
Add all the ingredients to the bottle and shake well to combine. Spray on the skin after cleansing. Shake well before each use.
Pest Away Room Spray
- 8oz Amber Glass Bottle with Spray Top
- 4oz of Distilled Water
- 4oz of White Vinegar
- 30 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 20 drops of Clove Bud Essential Oil
- 20 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Thyme Essential Oil
Mix all ingredients inside a 4oz glass bottle with a spray top. Shake well to combine thoroughly and again before each use. Spray all around your home and especially near doors and windows to repel insects.