Almost always refered to in plural, a clove is the small dried flower bud of an aromatic evergreen tree that is native to the Molucca Islands, and is grown today in many hot countries. It is a small tree which divides into long branches. The leaves are large, brilliant green, and tend to be extremely fragrent when crushed. The flowers are found at the tip of each branch. The flower petals are blue in colour. The seeds are large and oval in shape.
Cloves have many medicinal qualities. Clove oil will stop a *toothache when it is applied directly to the cavity. The warm stimulating effect of clove oil is also very useful with people who have cold extremities. Cloves will promote sweating with fevers, colds, and flu, and are often used in remedies for whooping cough. Cloves are also safe and effective for relieving vomiting during pregnancy. Unlike some other herbs they will not cause harm to the baby.
Cloves are commonly used in cooking, and herbal tea such as chai. They are also used in clove cigarettes (duh!). Can be found as an added ingredient to mouthwash, and clove oil can be used as an anaesthetic, germicidal, or as insect repellent. They are also a favourite ingredient in many mulled wines.
Cloves are said to have religious qualities too. Worn in an amulet they are said to drive away negativity, hostility, and stop gossip. They are also carried by some to stimulate the memory, and can be a component in love spells. Clove oil can be worn as an aphrodisiac, and if eaten whole the buds are said to stir up bodily lusts. Cloves can be combined with mint and rose to chase away melancholy, and to help a person sleep soundly. They are also said to bring comfort to the bereaved and mourning.
You can purchase whole or ground cloves from the spice section of any grocery store, health food store, or herbal supplier. Clove oil is also readily available.
*I have found from experience that adding a clove or two to a mug of black tea works miracles on a toothache, or a headache caused by teeth problems (including ever stubborn wisdom teeth). Tastes fantastic too!