Lavanga –The Cloves

Lavanga, the cloves enjoyed being in a revered place in Ayurvedic system of medicine and cuisine of India.
The herb of Lavanga possesses potent antiseptic properties and hence it is added to many Indian dishes for preventing food poisoning and foodborne infections. Lavanga’s medicinal properties are mainly due to its essential oil that serves as best remedy to several health ailments such as toothache, joint pains, stomatitis (mouth ulcers) and indigestion. Lavanga is one of the most effective herbs for treating infections, especially respiratory tract infections.

The Latin name of Lavanga is Syzygium aromaticum. The parts of Lavanga used for medicinal purpose are flower buds (cloves) and essential oil. Ayurveda describes Lavanga as an herb that is hot in nature and as with most of the hot herbs, it is natural digestive stimulant used to counter indigestion and flatulence.

Medicinal properties of Lavanga
The volatile oil contains eugenol, eugenyl acetate and β-caryophyllene. Traditionally, the cloves are used as potent carminative, anti-emetic and counter irritant. The anodyne and mild antiseptic properties of the clove oil are due to eugenol(1). The clove oil as used in different Ayurvedic medicines possesses antispasmodic and antihistaminic properties.

Syzygium cuminii, a related species of Lavanga has been documented as potent antibacterial, CNS-depressant and hypoglycemic.

Quick Lavanga (cloves’) remedies
In toothache: A drop of clove essential oil or flower bud placed on cotton ball and kept onto the tooth relieves the pain instantly as advised by folk practitioners in China and India. The diluted oil (3% concentration max) can be applied onto the skin for alleviating the nerve pain as in shingles.

In indigestion and IBS: The Lavanga shows positive actions on the gastric mucosa if taken in small quantity. Small doses of clove powder or tincture are useful in treating nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence and bloating. It serves as mild anesthetic and hence can be used in abdominal spasms to reduce the nerve sensitivity in intestines.

Lavanga (Cloves) in cooking & other preparations
The cloves have been listed as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe)(1). Lavanga is commonly used Indian spice in cooking. Cloves are listed by the Council of Europe as a natural source of food flavoring (Category N2). This sort of categorization indicates that cloves can be added to the foodstuff in little quantities(2).

Common use of Lavanga in Indian kitchen include making Pulao, Biryani, and different Punjabi cuisine.

In tribal areas of India, the cloves have been used to prepare a tooth powder that strengthens the gums and checks infection in mouth. One of the simplest recipes is mentioned below…

Lavanga Tooth Powder
Take 4 parts of baking soda, 1 part of sea salt and mix them well. Add a few drops of clove oil and vigorously mix them again. The amount of clove oil depends upon the quantity of baking soda and sea salt. You can further make the tooth powder powerful antiseptic by adding Neem oil. This powder can be used as tooth powder or is applied onto the gums after brushing the teeth with your toothpaste. Indications for Lavanga tooth powder are tooth decay, weakened gums and stomatitis.

Lavanga Decoction for common cough and cold
Take 2-3 flower buds of cloves, a small piece of ginger (peeled and crushed) and a pinch of rock salt. Boil 200 ml. of water and add cloves, ginger and rock salt. Boil till the liquid becomes half (approximately 100 ml). Take the solution off the fire and let it cool naturally. Filter before you consume the Lavanga decoction.

Lavanga Indications

  • Lavanga oil helps alleviating the symptoms due to fungi toxicity (3).
  • Lavanga as in Ayurvedic formula helps treating bacterial infections (4).
  • Along with Neem, it helps neutralizing toxic effects of Salmonella typhi. (5).
  • Regular consumption of Lavanga in any form helps fighting day to day infections such including those occur due to Staphylococcus aureus (6).

The cloves possess several other biological activities that help keeping body healthy and away from various health ailments (7). This is one of the effective home remedies for sore throat, common cold, cough and congestion in chest and throat.

For more information and references, read Bioactive Compounds and its Autochthonous Microbial Activities of Extract and Clove Oil (Syzygium aromaticum L.) on Some Food Borne Pathogens by B. Joseph and S. Sujatha.

References:
1. Leung AY. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. New York –Chichester. Wiley, 1980
2. Council of Europe, Flavouring Substances and Natural Sources of Flavourings, 3rd edition. Strasbourg; Maisonneuve, 1981.

3. Arina, B. and A. Iqbal, 2002. In vitro fungi toxicity of the essential oil of Syzygium aromaticum. World J. Mocrobiol. Biotechnol., 18: 313-315.

4. Arora, D.S. and J. Kaur, 1999. Antimicrobial activity of spices. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents, 12: 257-262.

5. Azoro, C., 2000. Antibacterial activity of crude extract of Azadirachita indica on Salmonella typhi. World J. Biotechnol., 3: 347-351.

6. Betoni, J.E.C., R.P. Mantovani, L.N., Barbosa, L.C. Di Stasi and A.F. Junior, 2006. Synergism between plant extract and antimicrobial drugs used on Staphylococcus aureus diseases. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, 101: 387-390.

7.  Chaieb, K., H. Hajlaoui, T. Zmantar, K.A.B. Nakbi, M. Rouabhia, K. Mahdouani and A. Bakhrouf, 2007. The chemical composition and biological activity of essential oil, Eugenia cryophyllata (Syzygium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): A short review. Phytother. Res., 21: 501-506.

Author: Dr Maulik Vyas

I am a holistic Doctor with 10 yr of experience in medical/health and wellness industry. Also, I am a professional content writer with 1000s of articles published across the web. I'm available for content writing, natural treatment consultancy, business ideas about healthcare/wellness industry. I am the proprietor of company named Mouls Incorporation.

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