Indigenous to the Molucca Islands proper, cloves (Eugenia aromatica) have been an article of Indian commerce since an early date. Known to the Chinese writers of the Han dynasty, B. C. 266 to A. D. 220, cloves became known in Europe about the fourth century, after which they became increasingly an article of commerce, although, for a long time, very expensive. The original home of the clove, the Moluccas or Clove Islands, now produce no cloves at all. The aromatic nature of cloves made of them a great favorite, and they were therefore used to perfume the breath and to flavor food, as well as being employed in domestic medicines, such as stomachic cordials. The well-known Blackberry Cordial of Kentucky is largely spiced with cloves and cinnamon, its blackberry part being the juice of the ripe berries, its alcoholic part being whisky. The domestic use of this pleasant carminative cordial gave it a place in the Pharmacopeia.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.