By: Cynthia Cornelius, Certified Essential Oil Therapist
Clove, Cinnamon & Allspice’s Powerful Medicinal Values:
With the holidays upon us, our nose and olfactory system kicks into high gear conjuring up a lifetime of Thanksgiving gatherings that launch us into the winter season. The air is filled with festive aromas of clove bud, cinnamon, and allspice to name a few. We sprinkle, infuse, cook, bake, and adorn our doorsteps with their fragrant smells and pungent taste. They warm our homes and our senses while creating indelible memories within our limbic, emotional brain that serve to uplift us from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. However, there is more to these spices than their perfumed fragrances and savory flavors. They too hold the secrets of great medicinal powers in their essential oils with their common chemical constituent known as Eugenol found in the Phenol chemistry functional group. Phenols have respective chemistry properties that are very effective when used as a Bactericide (anti-bacterial), Viricide (anti-viral), Parasiticide, Fungicide, Immunostimulant, Stimulant, Hypertensive, and Hyperthermic, (warming). Its molecule structure is shaped as an aromartic ring (phenyl, benzene with an attached hydrozyl radial -OH).
Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum), with its essential oil biochemical compound Eugenia caryophllata p.o. buds, contains one of the highest levels of Eugenol ranging from 80 to 85%. Eugenol is commonly used in Dentistry to kill germs when applied to the gums and as an anesthetic for pain due to its anti- inflammatory effects. In France, scientists was able to rid the Typhoid bacillus in twenty five minutes when they applied Clove Bud. Additional Clove Bud therapeutic benefits were found to ease intestinal disorders, relieving gas, and vomiting, a tonic for kidneys, stomach, spleen, while relieving respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Interestingly enough it is also somewhat of an aphrodisiac reported to be good for frigidity. (Precaution: Very potent. Use with caution on skin and mucous membranes. Can cause irritation. No hazard if mixed with vegetable oils.)
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) with a biochemical compound of Cinnamomum zeylanicum p.o leaves has a Eugenol level of 70-80%. It’s key property is warming as it’s medicinal therapeutic benefits include increasing the body’s temperature, easing colds and flu along with breathing difficulty. As an antiseptic, it resists viral infections and disease. As with Clove Bud, it is good for the digestive tract due to its stimulating secretions of gastric juices. Also a strong stimulant for the hormone system, it may be used by women for scanty menstruation and reportedly good for impotence. (Avoid use in pregnancy. Large amounts may be toxic to the Liver. Toxic to cats.)
Allspice (Pimenta dioica) p.o leaves also has a high level of the chemical constituent Eugenol at 40-50%. Allspice essential oil is a wonderful oil to use in the diffuser or in massage for arthritic and muscular applications. As with Clove Bud and Cinnamon, if used in full strength may be a mucous membrane irritant.
For the Home: Diffuse these oils throughout the house. Add drops to house cleaning products for antiseptic effects. Their essential oils are warming, aromatic, and inviting while keeping bacteria, viruses, and disease away.
For the Garden: Cinnamon diluted in water and used as a foliage spray will kill white and two spotted spider mites without killing other beneficial insects. May be used at any stage of plant cycles.
In summary, Clove Bud, Cinnamon, and Allspice all share a common chemical constituent known as Eugenol. This gives each a very recognizable and pleasant odor while providing very powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral defense for the home, family, and garden. Their uplifting effects increase the positive thoughts and everlasting warm memories.