Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): a precious spice.
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) is one of the most valuable spices that has been used for centuries as food preservative and for many medicinal purposes. Clove is native of Indonesia but nowadays is cultured in several parts of the world including Brazil in the state of Bahia. This plant represents one of the richest source of phenolic compounds such as eugenol, eugenol acetate and gallic acid and posses great potential for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and agricultural applications. This review includes the main studies reporting the biological activities of clove and eugenol. The antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of clove is higher than many fruits, vegetables and other spices and should deserve special attention. A new application of clove as larvicidal agent is an interesting strategy to combat dengue which is a serious health problem in Brazil and other tropical countries. Pharmacokinetics and toxicological studies were also mentioned. The different studies reviewed in this work confirm the traditional use of clove as food preservative and medicinal plant standing out the importance of this plant for different applications.