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Cloves (Lavang)

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world. Cloves are harvested primarily in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. They have a numbing effect on mouth tissues.

Culinary uses:

Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but they are used sparingly because they have an extremely strong flavour.Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian). Dried cloves are also a key ingredient in Indian masala chai, spiced tea, a special variation of tea popular in some regions, notably Gujarat. In the US, it is often sold under the name of "chai" or "chai tea", as a way of differentiating it from other types of teas sold in the US.

In Mexican cuisine, cloves are best known as clavos de olor, and often used together with cumin and cinnamon. In Vietnamese cuisine, cloves are often used to season the broth of Ph?. In American cooking, it is often used in sweet breads such as pumpkin or zucchini bread along with other sweet spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Due to the Indonesian influence, the use of cloves is widespread in the Netherlands. Cloves are used in cheeses, often in combination with cumin. Cloves are an essential ingredient for making Dutch speculaas. Furthermore, cloves are used in traditional Dutch stews like hachee. In Europe, cloves are also a common ingredient in Christmas seasonal dishes such as Mulled wine. Truly the Clove is a Global Spice.

Non-culinary uses:

The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia.Kreteks have been smoked throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. In 2009, clove cigarettes (as well as fruit and candy flavored cigarettes) were outlawed in the US. However, they are still sold in similar form, re-labeled as "filtered clove cigars". Cloves are also an important incense material in Chinese and Japanese culture. And clove essence is commonly used in the production of many perfumes. During Christmas, it is a tradition in some European countries to make pomanders from cloves and oranges to hang around the house. This spreads a nice scent throughout the house and serves as holiday decorations. Cloves are often used as incense in the Jewish practice called Havdala. Clove also works as an ant repeller.

Medicinal Uses of Clove:

Cloves are said to be antioxidant, antiseptic, anesthetic, anhelmintic. Cloves are used as a carminative to increase the level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to stimulate the digestive system. Clove oil is used in the dental medicines to disinfect root canals and pain killer for dental emergencies. Due to the antiseptic propertie of Clove oil, it is applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth to relieve toothache and an active ingredient in several mouthwash products. Cloves have broad anti-microbial properties so it is used to kill intestinal parasites and used as a treatment for indigestion, diarrhea, hernia, ringworm and other digestive ailments. Clove is also useful for thetreatment of vomiting, flatulence, athlete's foot and relax the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract. Clove oil is found useful in skin disorders like skin irritations, severe burns, acne, pimples and reduce the sensitiveness of skin.

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