Caryophyllus aromaticus. Cloves.
Nat. Ord. — Myrtaceae. Sex. Syst. — Icosandria Monogynia.
Description. — Caryophyllus Aromaticus is an elegant tree, rising to the hight of fifteen or twenty feet; it is of a conical or pyramidal form, is always green, and the whole plant is glabrous. The branches are numerous, slender, opposite, and more or less virgate. The stem is of hard wood, and covered with a smooth, grayish bark. The leaves are about four inches in length by two in breadth, opposite and decussate, persistent, somewhat coriaceous and shining, with a strong midrib and parallel lateral nerves ; ovate-lanceolate, entire, smooth on both sides, with numerous pellucid dots, of a green color, paler beneath, and tapering gradually at the base into a slender footstalk about two inches in length. The flowers exhale a strong, penetrating, agreeable odor, and are in short terminal cymes, trichotomously divided, and jointed at every division. The calyx is superior, and consists of a cylindrical tube, and four ovate, concave, spreading segments ; it is first green, but subsequently red, coriaceous. The petals are four, ovate, concave, yellowish-red, larger than the calyx, coherent by their edges, and forming a calyptra which is caducous. In the center of the calyx, and at the top of the ovary, is a quadrangular, elevated line or gland, surrounding, but not embracing the base of the shortish, obtusely-subulate style; around this line, immediately within the petals, the stamens are inserted; these are longer than the petals, and bear small, yellow, ovate-cordate, two-celled anthers. The ovary is oblong, almost cylindrical, two-celled, and many small ovules in each cell. The berry is purplish, elliptical, one or two-seeded. Seed covered with a soft, thin, integument.
History. — A tall and beautiful tree, growing in tropical climates. The flowers are collected in October and November, before they are fully developed, and consist of a tubular calyx, bearing a roundish bud of unexpanded petals; they are quickly dried in the shade to prevent the escape of volatile oil. The finest kinds are plump, heavy, and dark, and give out oil when squeezed with the nail. They are from five to ten lines long, and from one to one and a half thick, dark-brown externally, yellowish-red internally, of a strong, fragrant odor, and of a hot, pungent, aromatic, permanent taste. Cloves contain volatile oil, fixed oil, a peculiar tannin, gum, resin, fiber, water, and two crystalline principles called Caryophyllin and Eugenin. They impart their sensible properties to alcohol, spirit, and ether; water extracts only the odor. The active properties reside in the volatile oil, which is of a pale reddish-brown color, darkens by age, and is heavier than water; it is extremely pungent and acrid.
Properties and Uses. — Aromatic, stimulant, and irritant. Used to relieve nausea, or vomiting, flatulency, and to excite languid digestion: chiefly employed to assist or modify the action of other remedies, and prevent a tendency to their producing sickness or griping. Dose, from five to ten grains.
Off. Prep. — Linimentum Olei; Mistura Cajuputi Composita; Oleum Caryophylli; Pilulae Aloes Compositae ; Tinctura Quiniae Composita; Tinctura Guaiaci Aromatica; Vinum Cinchonae Compositum.