Botanical name: Syzygium aromaticum
Family name: Myrtaceae
Commercial part: Unopened flower bud
Malayalam: Grambu

Clove that has a creditable antiquity is a major spice product of Kerala. Clove is the unopened flower bud obtained from the tree which is later sun dried. It takes around seven years for a tree to start flowering and it would live for around 80 years. Matured clusters in a pink flush colour are plucked and are dried in the sun for several days. The plant is indigenous to North Molucca Islands of Indonesia. Today it is grown in several counties, including Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Zanzibar and Madagascar.

Clove, wholly or in powder form, is used as a flavouring agent for culinary purposes in several countries. Interestingly clove goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. The carminative and stimulant properties give clove high medicinal value. It is a preservative and is also used as a flavouring agent for meat dishes.

The other Indian states that grow clove are Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The clove oil made of buds, leaves and stalks have medicinal properties and are widely used in dental care. Besides oral and pharyngeal treatments, cove oil is used in the manufacturing of tooth pastes, mouth wash, perfumes and soaps. Of late clove was found to be useful in diabetic care.

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