Clove oil is a colorless or pale yellow oil derived from the clove tree cultivated in the Moluccas or Spice Islands (now Maluka of Indonesia), Madagascar, Zanzibar, and the Philippines. The principle component of clove oil is eugenol. It is very slightly soluble in water and soluble in organic solvents. It has a spicy aroma and the taste of cloves. It is principally used in perfumes, flavorings, essential oils and dentistry (as a local antiseptic and analgesic).
Uses in Painting
Clove oil is used by painters to slow the drying time of oil paints. Add a drop of clove oil per inch of paint squeezed from the tube. A drop or two of clove oil can also suppress the odor of turpentine, and even this small amount can give the medium a pleasant odor. Clove oil is also used as a preservative in water-based painting mediums, such as casein, egg tempera, glue (distemper), and watercolor. Add a few drops to the egg yolk, for example, to preserve the mixed paint on your palette.
Origin and History
The Latin word clavus means nail shaped, which refers to the bud of the clove tree, since the shaft and head of the clove bud resembles a nail. The clove tree (Syzgium aromaticum orEugenia caryophyllata) is a tropical evergreen tree believed to be indigenous to the Moluccas. The people of the Moluccas used to plant a clove tree to celebrate the birth of a child and would wear a necklace of cloves as a protection from evil spirit and illness. As early as 200 BCE, envoys from Java to the Han-dynasty court of China brought cloves with them to China. The Chinese used it to relieve toothaches and as a breath freshener, especially during audiences with the emperor. Clove was much used by the Greeks, Romans and the Chinese for its medicinal value. Clove has antiseptic properties and was used in the prevention of contagious diseases, such as the Plague. During the Middle ages, cloves were used in Europe to preserve, flavor, and garnish food. From the 8th century, cloves became increasingly popular in Europe, and along with nutmeg, the importation of this coveted spice helped the enterprising Venetians become extraordinarily wealthy. The lure of cloves and nutmeg attracted the Portuguese to the Spice Islands in 1514; they were followed by the Dutch in 1605, who retained control over the trade until late in the 18th century, at which time the exotic spices of the Moluccas were starting to be grown elsewhere in the world. Clove cultivation was almost entirely confined to Indonesia, and in the early 17th century the Dutch eradicated cloves on all islands except Amboina and Ternate in order to create scarcity and sustain high prices. In the latter half of the 18th century the French smuggled cloves from the East Indies to Indian Ocean islands and the New World, breaking the Dutch monopoly.
Cloves were among the most precious of items of Europe of the 16th and 17th centuries, and they were worth more than their weight in gold. An illustration of their value can be seen with Magellan?s fateful circumnavigation of the world (1519-1522) that started off with five ships and over 250 men. Although only one ship and 18 men returned to Spain, nevertheless its cargo of about 50 tons of cloves and nutmeg were considered to have made the expedition a financial success.Today, cloves are still much used as a spice, in perfumes, mulled wines and liqueurs, aromatherapy, medicinal and dental products and, stuck in an orange as pomade, an insect repellant.
Clove products can be basically divided into three: clove buds which are used whole and as a ground spice and are also raw material for clove bud oil and oleoresin; clove stem oil; and clove leaf oil, used principally as a source of eugenol. Essential oils from the clove tree are divided into bud, leaf and stem oils. Cloves contain 14 to 20 percent essential oil, the principal component of which is the aromatic oil eugenol (70-90%), but odor and flavor differ significantly due to the varying proportions of minor and trace components.
Clove, is small, reddish-brown flower bud of the tropical evergreen tree Syzygium aromaticum of the family Myrtaceae (also Caryophyllus aromaticus, Eugenia caryophyllata, E. aromatica), and is believed to be indigenous to the Moluccas. The clove tree grows to about 8 to 12 meters in height. Its gland-dotted leaves are small, simple and opposite. The trees are usually propagated from seeds that are planted in shaded areas. Flowering begins about the fifth year; a tree may annually yield up to 75 pounds (34 kg) of dried buds. The rose-peach buds, just before the flowers open, are hand-picked in late summer and again in winter and are then sun-dried, turning a deep red brown. Cloves vary in length from about 1/2 to 3/4 inch (13 to 19 mm). Although native to southeast Asia it is now cultivated worldwide, especially in the Molucca Islands, Madagascar, the Philippines, Zanzibar, and Mauritius, as well as in Ternate, Tidore and a couple of other of the northern Spice Islands in Indonesia. The island of Zanzibar, which is part of Tanzania, is the world's largest producer of cloves. Madagascar and Indonesia are smaller producers. The main oil producing countries are Madagascar and Indonesia.
Cloves are strongly pungent owing to eugenol, which is extracted by steam distillation to yield clove oil. The leaf oil contains 12% caryophyllene and 90% eugenol as major components. Unrectified Madagascan oil has a sharp slightly crude medicinal (eugenol), often phenolic aroma without any of the sweet smoothness of the rectified material. Frequently, clove leaf oil is further refined and redistilled to remove the constituents that produce the crude odor and discoloration. The process of steam distillation begins when the distiller inserts the chosen plant material, or charge, into a chamber. The plant material is supported on a perforated grid. The water level in the chamber is below the grid and low pressure, wet steam passes rises through the plant material. The most important aspect of this method is that the steam is maintained at a relatively low temperature and pressure. As the steam passes through the plant material, the steam ruptures the plant's oil-bearing sacs and cavities, and liberates its essence, which consequently are carried away into the steam. The steam and essential oil then pass out of the chamber and through a coiled tube surrounded by cold water. Here the steam is cooled and the condensated water and essential oil flow into a collection vessel. Since the essential oil is insoluble in water it forms a layer above it, facilitating separation. Small quantities of odorous principles also remain in the water, forming a fragrant water, called a hydrolate.
Our clove oil is derived from a natural source, redistilled from crude clove oil that was extracted from the dried leaves of Eugenia caryophyllata, using steam distillation and redistilled for purity.
Clove oil is very potent oil and should be used with care. Clove oil can cause dermatitis and irritate the skin and mucus membranes.
Keep tightly closed in a cool, dry place away from direct light.