When I was a little girl we used to do crafty things. My mother used to send me to arts and crafts class in the summer and we would make the most interesting things. One of the most interesting of all, a thing that I remember clearly all these years later was the orange pomander. For those of you who don’t know what a pomander is, it is an aromatically smelly thing that goes in your closets or drawers in order to freshen up your clothing and things. Of course, nowadays you have some amazing “store-bought” ones, but back in the dinosaur days we used to have to make them ourselves, and one of the old favorites was the orange pomander.
The way it was made was by taking a fresh orange and poking it full of cloves. You would cover your orange practically full of them, and then attach a nice ribbon on the top of it for hanging in your closet. I used to love making those things, and the aroma sticks with me up to today. Naturally, when you put this fresh orange in your closet it would begin to dry up, and this process would continue until it was totally dried up. This is one of those true American traditions, as I don’t think there is anyone in the world who knows about those!
In the world of natural herbs and essential oils, the clove also plays an important role. Scientifically, the clove is known as “Eugenia caryophyllata”, and it is the flower buds that are used to get the essential oil, which is derived by steam distillation. Cloves are most famously known for their use in cooking, especially in this part of the world, along with the Asian Sub-continent. There is practically not a single food that is cooked without the help of a few cloves thrown in for good measure. The best traditional Bedouin style Arabic coffee must have some cloves in it for their aromatic powers.
In fact, in ancient China, and ancient civilization of Persia, cloves were considered to be a very strong aphrodisiac! In a lesser known world, the world of natural healing and herbal medicine, cloves have been used for centuries for healing a multitude of ailments. Also, in ancient China, people who were coming to hold audience with the emperor would be required to put a clove in their mouth and keep it there while addressing the emperor in order not to bother him with their halitosis (bad breath)!
One of the most commonly known uses is for its pain reducing powers. In fact for pain there is practically nothing better. It is an ancient and well-known use of cloves, when you are suffering from a toothache, that you grind some cloves up to a fine powder and put some of it right on and around the tooth for instant relief. It can also be used on babies with teething pain, but be careful to use only a little bit. The main idea is that the cloves are so antiseptic that, if you are suffering from a tooth infection, you can get rid of that with the cloves or clove oil. It is also good for gum inflammations and mouth ulcers.
Cloves are great for respiratory problems, including bronchitis, asthma, coughs, the flu, and more! It not only calms the cough, but also encourages the phlegm to come out (expectorant) and helps to kill the infection too.
If you suffer from digestive problems, cloves will help you a lot, and they are easy to take. If you don’t have access to essential oil of cloves, that is not a problem, since there isn’t a single supermarket in this country that doesn’t carry a wide variety of cloves. Cloves are great for nausea, indigestions, diarrhea, and more.
People who suffer from chronic muscle aches and pains, arthritis or rheumatism will find a great help in cloves. In this respect it is usually the clove essential oil that can be blended into a wonderful massage oil that you can rub over the painful areas.
Cloves are so antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral, that if you suffer from warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm or other miserably uncomfortable ailments, just a little clove or clove oil will do the trick!
Alcoholics will do well to have some cloves around, as if you are recovering from alcohol addiction, all you need to do is carry a clove around in your mouth, and you will be less likely to crave the alcohol.
It has been said that cloves improve the memory! It is calming, and good for those who suffer from high blood pressure and anxiety. So, next time you are ready to explode, don’t stress it! Just pop a clove into your mouth! Not only will you feel much better, but your breath will be nice too!
So you have a veritable medicine chest right there in your kitchen! Just make sure to always remember that less is more, and that statement is even truer when it comes to some of the stronger, more pungent herbs like cloves. A little certainly goes a long way, so go easy and light, but don’t be afraid of cloves, because they are safe enough that even little babies can be treated with cloves. And talk about convenient! Also, while you’re there, try my orange pomander!