Clove is an ancient spice with medicinal uses reaching far back into the past. It was one of the spices traded from the Molucca Islands, formerly known as the Spice Islands of Indonesia, thousands of years ago, and revered as much as precious metals and other medicinal herbs like frankincense, myrrh, and amber. Clove was the medicine of royalty. Now, thanks to its popularity and the global markets, it’s grown throughout tropical regions in the world, making it more affordable and easier to find.
Cloves, as you will find in this issue, have a wide range of medicinal uses. Not only is it a good medicine, but it is a very potent and flavorful spice. If you have had chai, made pomanders, enjoyed certain flavors of baklava, eaten gingerbread or pumpkin pie, and even tried some Chinese food recipes, you have probably tasted clove.
When I was a child, our family did Celtic re-enactment of the Renaissance period. We would make Pomanders in the winter for 12th night, as a decoration; but they have a dark history of use by the royalty and clergy members, as a thing to smell while people were dying of the plague. Clove is not only a delicious spice. Its history also teaches us something about its antimicrobial benefits.
I hope this issue opens up a new world for you about clove, and that you find many ways to enjoy this spice throughout the upcoming cold-flu-holiday season!