Herbal Uses

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)

Syzygium aromaticum

Cloves are the dried flower buds of this evergreen tree. They have very effective antiseptic and fungal properties that benefit digestion.

Common name Cloves (E), Lavang (H) Sanskrit Lavanga

Latin Syzygium aromaticum–Flos (Myrtaceae)

ENERGETICS

  • Rasa (taste) Pungent, bitter
  • Vırya (energy) Cold
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Pungent
  • Guna (quality) Unctuous, light, penetrating
  • Dosa effect KPV–
  • Dhatu (tissue) Plasma, blood, muscle, nerve, reproductive
  • Srotas (channel) Circulatory, respiratory, digestive, reproductive

CONSTITUENTS

  • Volatile oil Up to 20%: eugenol, eugenol acetate, β-caryopyhllene, phenols, ketones, methyl salicylate, vanillin
  • Tannins (WHO 1999, Paranjpe 2001)

AYURVEDIC ACTION

  • Dıpana Appetite stimulant
  • Pacana Digestive
  • Svasahara Antiasthmatic
  • Kantha Benefits the throat
  • Sirovirecana Clears the orifices of the head
  • Chardinigrahana Prevents nausea
  • Hikkanigrahana Stops hiccup
  • Sulaprasamana Alleviates intestinal spasms
  • Vedanasthapana Analgesic
  • Agnimandyanasaka Destroys lack of appetite

BIOMEDICAL ACTION

Carminative, expectorant, analgesic, aphrodisiac, antifungal/antiseptic, antiemetic, antispasmodic

INDICATIONS

Digestion Weak, sluggish digestion with pain, flatulence and lack of interest in food. Increases agni without aggravating pitta if used moderately. Specifically used for nausea; its aromatic quality settles excess vata and kapha. Use a cold infusion to settle nausea during pregnancy. May be used to treat a wide range of bacterial and fungal conditions such as Candida albicans (Bhavaprakas´a, WHO 1999).

Lungs Congested lungs; disperses prana vayu. Expels phlegm in cough, asthma, bronchitis and pleurisy. Specific in laryngitis and sore throats. Helps to prevent spasmodic coughs (Bhavaprakas´a). Its ability to reduce ama helps in clearing fevers.

Reproduction Low sex drive, impotence, premature ejaculation and vaginal discharge. Cloves Remove excess kapha in artava and s´ukravahasrotas (Bensky & Gamble 1993, Frawley & Lad 1994).

Pain Specific for toothache; use essential oil applied to the gums or tooth. Apply the essential oil externally to relieve headaches, arthritic pain, areas of poor circulation and back pain.

COMBINATIONS

* Cardamom, ginger for nausea and vomiting.

* Pippali, vasa, vamsa lochana in lung disorders with high kapha.

* Ashwagandha, shatavari, nutmeg in sexual dysfunction.

* Ginger oil in narayan oil in massage for arthritis, sciatica and pain.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

High pitta; inflammatory conditions.

SAFETY

No drug–herb interactions are known.

DOSAGE

1–3g per day dried powder or 2–10ml of a 1:5 @ 70% tincture.

NOTES

  • Indigenous to the Moluccas it is now cultivated around tropical Asia as a medium-sized evergreen.
  • The contradictory classification of its ‘hot’ rasa and ‘cold’ vı-rya energy is interesting. It reflects that ayurvedic energetics are based on empirical evidence, subjective experience and therapeutic results.
  • It reduces kapha and va-ta by its hot and bitter quality and reduces pitta by its cool action. This cold action of cloves is displayed via its antiinflammatory effect; it also feels cool as you draw air through your mouth when chewing a clove.

About the author

Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari

An experienced Ayurveda Doctor, Panchakarma Specialist, Holistic Healer, Psychological Counselor, Yoga teacher, Health article writer from the land of Ayurveda i.e Nepal.

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