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Clove: A Native Spice of Indonesia

Clove is an aromatic plant belongs to the family Myrtaceae with the scientific name of Syzygium aromaticum. It is one of the most valuable spices and has been used for food preservative, flavoring agent in food and beverage, perfumery, key ingredient of cigarette, and for many medicinal purposes. Clove is well known as a native plant from the Maluku islands, Indonesia. Due to its valuable spices, clove is commercially cultivated in Indonesia, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka (Chami et al., 2005). In 2019-2020, the Indonesia’s clove production was estimated to reach 140 thousand tons (Secretariat of Directorate General of Estate Crops, 2020). In addition, its derivative in the form of essential oil was reported by Dewan Atsiri Indonesia (2021) to achieve the second highest production of essential oils produced in Indonesia, around 3,300–4,300 tons.

The essential oil extracted from various parts of clove, namely stems, leaves, and flower buds, has been listed as a generally regarded as safe (GRAS) substance by the United States Food and Drug Administration (Haro-Gonzalez et al., 2021) and is regarded as a green product obtained by microwave (Kapadiya et al., 2018), ultrasound-assisted (Yang et al., 2014), and supercritical carbon dioxide (de Oliveira et al., 2016) extractions. The content of essential oil in clove flower buds is varied in the range of 14–20% (Wenqiang et al., 2007; Cortés-Rojas et al., 2014; Kapadiya et al., 2018), while its contents in clove stems (3–9%) and clove leaves (1–5%) are lower than that of flower buds (Hariyadi et al., 2020; Rukmawati et al., 2021). Major composition of clove oil is eugenol with the percentage of 72–97% (Briozzo et al., 1989; Cortés-Rojas et al., 2014; Razafimamonjison et al., 2014; Golmakani et al., 2017) and followed by eugenyl acetate (9–21%, only a high amount in buds) and beta-caryophyllene (2–20%) (Razafimamonjison et al., 2014). The content and composition of clove oil are reported depends on clove organ, method and parameter of extraction, clove origin and variety, and others. PT Mitra Ayu Adipratama is producing clove leaf oil and clove stem oil containing eugenol as the major compound, trans-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene, and other minor compounds, such as delta-cadinene, chavicol, alpha-farnesene, and alpha-cubebene.

The high content of eugenol plays a significant role in a wide range of bioactivities and various health benefits of clove oil from the traditional use for centuries and reported in both scientific and review papers. People have used clove oil for centuries as an anaesthetic for toothaches, headaches, and joint pain as well as for traditional uses in dental care as an antiseptic and analgesic (Soto and Burhanuddin, 1995; Alma et al., 2007). Furthermore, the uses of clove oil as an aromatherapy oil, mouth sterilizer or painkiller are revealed (Robenorst, 1996). Clove oil has a high antioxidant activity and is found to be an effective antioxidant in most in vitro assays when it is compared to well-known standard antioxidant compounds (Gulcin et al., 2012). Some reports prove the antimicrobial activities of clove oil against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Other health benefits of clove oils, such as insecticidal, antiviral, antinociceptive, anti-inflamatory, and anticancer, are described in the review papers of Cortés-Rojas et al. (2014) and Haro-Gonzalez et al. (2021).

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Alma, M.H., Ertas, M., Nitz, S., and Kollmannsberger, H. (2007). Chemical composition and content of essential oil from the bud of cultivated Turkish clove (Syzigium aromaticum L.). BioRessources, 2: 265–269.

Briozzo, J.L., Chirife, J., Herzage, L., and D’Aquino, M. (1989). Antimicrobial activity of clove oil dispersed in a concentrated sugar solution. Journal of Applied Bacteriology, 66: 69–75.

Chami, N., Bennis, S., Chami, F., Aboussekhra, A., and Remmal, A. (2005). Study of anticandidal activity of carvacrol and eugenol in vitro and in vivo. Oral Microbiology and Immunology, 20: 106–111.

Cortés-Rojas, D.F., de Sauza, C.R.F., and Oliveira, W.P. (2014). Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): a precious spice. Asian Pasific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 4: 90–96.

Dewan Atsiri Indonesia (DAI). (2021). Indonesia: Estimated essential oil production 2014–2020 (metric tons).

de Oliveira, M.S., da Costa, W.A., Pereira, D.S., Botelho, J.R.S., Menezes, T.O.A, Andrade, E.H.A., da Silva, S.H.M., Filho, A.P.S.S., and Junior, R.N.C. (2016). Chemical composition and phytotoxic activity of clove (Syzygium aromaticum) essential oil obtained with supercritical CO2. The Journal of Supercritical Fluid, 118: 185–193.

Golmakani, M.-T., Zare, M., and Razzaghi, S. (2017). Eugenol enrichment of clove bud essential oil using different microwave-assisted distillation methods. Food Science and Technology Research, 23: 385–394.

Gulcin, I., Elmastas, M., and Aboul-Enein, H.Y. (2012). Antioxidant activity of clove oil – A powerful antioxidant source. Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 5: 489–499.

Hariyadi, Mahulette, A.S., Yahya, S., and Wachjar, A. (2020). Agro-morphologies and physicochemical properties of flower bud, stem and leaf oils in two clove varieties (Syzygium aromaticum L. Merr. and Perry.) originated from Ambon island. Chiang Mai University Journal of Natural Sciences, 19: 516–530.

Haro-Gonzalez, J.N., Castillo-Herrera, G.A., Martinez-Velazquez, M., and Espinosa-Andrews, H. (2021). Clove essential oil (Syzygium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): Extraction, chemical composition, food applications, and essential bioactivity for human health. Molecules, 26: 6387.

Kapadiya, S.M., Parikh, J., and Desai, M.A. (2018). A greener approach towards isolating clove oil from buds of Syzygium aromaticum using microwave radiation. Industrial Crops and Products, 112: 626–632.

Razafimamonjison, G., Jahiel, M., Duclos, T., Ramanoelina, P., Fawbush, F., and Danthu, P. (2014). Bud, Leaf, and stem essential oil composition of Syzygium aromaticum from Madagascar, Indonesia and Zanzibar. International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 3: 224–233.

Robenorst, J. (1996). Production of methoxyphenol-type natural aroma chemicals by biotransformation of eugenol with a new Pseudomonas sp. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 46: 470–474.

Rukmawati, Walanda, D.K., and Said, I. (2021). Application of clove leaf oil (Syzygium aromaticum L.) on preservation of milkfish (Chanos chanos). Jurnal Akademika Kimia, 10: 218–223.

Secretariat of Directorate General of Estate Crops. (2020). Statistical of National Leading Estate Crops Commodity 2019-2021. Directorate General of Estate Crops, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia, p. 1–1046.

Soto, C.G. and Burhanuddin. (1995). Clove oil as a fish anaesthetic for measuring length and weight of rabbit fish (Siganus lineatus). Aquaculture, 136: 149–152.

Wenqiang, G., Shufen, L., Ruixiang, Y., Shaokun, T., and Can, Q. (2007). Comparison of essential oils of clove buds extracted with supercritical carbon dioxide and other three traditional extraction methods. Food Chemistry, 101: 1558–1564.

Yang, Y.-C., Wei, M.-C., and Hong, S.-J. (2014). Ultrasound-assisted extraction and quantitation of oils from Syzygium aromaticum flower bud (clove) with supercritical carbon dioxide. Journal of Chromatography A, 1323: 18–27.

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