Sunday, January 3, 2021

Ancient history of clove

Clove is an ancient spice, which is believed to be originated in the first century, before Christ.

A clove tree, known botanically as Eugenia aromatica, may live 100 years. They begin producing fruit at seven years and come into full maturity around 25 years. The average crop yield is eight pounds although each year is different. The trees are indigenous to the Moluccas, also known as the Spice Islands. For a period of time around the 1700's, it looked as if the clove trees would never grow anywhere but the island of Amboina.

The clove has been used in India and China, for over 2,000 years, as a spice to check both tooth decay and counter halitosis that is bad breath. In the north Indian cuisine, it is used in almost every sauce or side dish made, mostly ground up along with other spices.

Pliny the Elder records that the spice was traded from India to Rome in the first century AD, and the earliest mention of cloves in the South Asian texts comes from the first-century BC Ramayana.

The oldest apparent medicinal use of cloves was in China, where it is reported that they were taken for various ailments as early as 240 BC. Cloves were taken over the centuries for diarrhea, most liver, stomach and bowel ailments, and as a stimulant for the nerves.

The first clue about clove’s fragrance was given by the ancient Chinese (207 B.C. to 220 A.D.). At that time, a Chinese Physician wrote that court visitors were required to hold clove in their mouth to prevent the Emperor from visitor’s bad breath.

As early as 200 BC, envoys from Java to the Han-dynasty court of China brought cloves that were customarily held in the mouth to perfume the breath during audiences with the emperor.

Arabic traders brought the buds to Europe in 4th century A.D., and in the seventh and eighth century A.D. Europe, cloves became very popular as a medicinal flower, due to their ability to preserve foods, and mask the smell of poorly-kept foods. Because of the price, they were kept in golden basket, like treasures.

The origin and source of clove was a mystery, until the discovery of Indonesia or Moluccas Island, by Portuguese, in 16th century.

During the late Middle Ages, cloves were used in Europe to preserve, flavor, and garnish food.
Ancient history of clove

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