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Cloves

Cloves

Botanical Description & Habitat

Caryophyllus aromaticus

Family
Myrtaceae

Common Names
Clavos
Mother cloves

Habitat
Native to the Mulucca islands of Asia and the southern Philippines, and cultivated in Asia, Africa, South America, and the West Indies.

Description
The clove is an evergreen tree from 30-40 feet in height, with a yellowish bark. It bears opposite ovate leaves that are 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. The flowers are red and white, growing in terminal clusters. The fruit is a 1- or 2-seeded berry.

Medicinal Parts
Flowerbud, dried

Historical Properties & Uses

Cloves contains a powerful aromatic oil which is very high in eugenol and eugenyl acetate. Like other aromatic herbs, it possesses antispasmodic, choleretic, carminative, stimulant, stomachic, bactericidal, antiseptic, and analgesic properties.

Cloves soothing effect on toothache is well known, but supposed aphrodisiac action has not been substantiated by research.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E as a topical anesthetic in dentistry.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

Cloves have exhibited some experimental antibacterial activity.

The Chinese report success in treating athlete's foot and claim it is good for any ringworm.

The oil of cloves, high in eugenol and the very active eigemu; acetate, has been found to have antispasmodic, antihistaminic, antiseptic, and antifungal action.

The anodyne effect of cloves on toothache is well known. It is due to the presence of eugenol. Clove oil is found in several commercial preparations used as local anesthetics. Eugenol and clove extracts also have potent antioxidative activity.

Eugenol and whole clove extract are also powerful trypsin stimulators.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E regarding its specific pharmacological action as a topical anesthetic.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Possible Interactions
Cloves' analgesic effects may be additive with other analgesics and anesthetics. Conversely, they may be inhibited by barbiturates, despite any CNS depressant effects which may occur. The analgesic property of cloves may also be reversed or even eliminated by P-chlorophenylalanine, cyproheptadine HCl, and phenobarbital.

The CNS depressant tendency of this analgesic herb may be potentiated by chlorprothixene HCl, haloperidol, and tranquilizers.

It should also be noted the antihistaminic property of cloves will antagonize the effects of heparin.

Comments
Because they are high in iron, cloves may interfere with the absorption of tetracyclines. This is especially true if large quantities are ingested within two hours of taking tetracyclines. Furthermore, animal studies indicate iron plus allopurinol may lead to increased hepatic iron concentration.

Due to the presence of eugenol, cloves may inhibit certain liver microsomal hydroxylating systems, thereby possibly producing toxic effects from drugs that are normally metabolized by those systems.

It should also be noted there is evidence combining bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents will lower the effectiveness of the bacteriostatic agent. However, how this finding applies to herbal antibiotics is unknown.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Cloves are nontoxic in therapeutic amounts, and are generally regarded as safe by the FDA. Some individuals may be sensitive and develop skin irritation and rash.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Oil of dried flower-buds
0.05-0.2 ml for internal use
Dilute 1:3 with olive oil for external use

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

1 - 5% essential oil in a mouthwash.
As a dental anesthetic, the essential oil is undiluted.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

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Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

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De Martinis, M., et.al. Milk thistle (silybum marianum) derivatives in the therapy of chronic hepatopathies. Clin. Ter. 94(3). p. 283. 1980.

Drug package insert (FDA approved official brochure) and other labeling based on sponsored clinical investigations and New Drug Application data.

Facts and Comparisons. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Sep, 1997.

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Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.

Jaffe, H., et.al. 1968. In vivo inhibition of mouse liver microsomal hydroxylating systems by methylenedioxyphenyl insecticide synergists and related compounds. Life Sciences, 7. pp. 1051-1052.

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Kiangsu Institute of Medicine. Encyclopedia of Chinese Drugs (2 volumes). Shanghai, PRC.

Leung, Albert Y. 1980. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredient used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 409 pp.

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Maruzzela, J. & M. Lichtenstein. The in vitro antibacterial activity of oils. J of Am Pharmaceutical Assoc, 45(6), 378-381, 1956.

Melmon, K., H.F. Morelli, J.A. Oates, et. al. 1967. Drug interactions that can affect your patients. Patient Care, November. pp. 33-71.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Nelson, R.M., C.G. Frank & J.O. Manson. 1959. The antiheparin properties of the antihistamines, tranquilizers and certain antibiotics. Surg Forum, 9. pp. 146-150.

Neuvonen, P.J., et.al. 1970. Interference of iron with the absorbtion of tetracyclines in man. British Medical Journal, 4. p. 532.

Ngai, S., L. Mark & E. Papper. 1970. Pharmacologic and physiologic aspects of anesthesiology. New England Journal of Medicine, 282. pp. 479-491.

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Srivastava, K.C. Antiplatelet principles from a food spice clove (Syzgium aromaticum). Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty acids 48 (1993): 363-372.

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Essential Oil

See Clove Essence under Aromatherapy