Madagascar Clove (Ravensara aromatica Sonn.) Is an arboreal species belonging to the Lauraceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
R. aromatica species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Agathophyllum aromaticum (Sonn.) Willd .;
– Agathophyllum ravensara Mirb. ex Steud .;
– Cryptocarya agathophylla van der Werff;
– Euodia ravensara Gaertn .;
– Evodia aromatica Poir .;
– Laurus aromatica Baill .;
– Ravensara anisata Danguy.
The term Ravensara seems to derive from the Malagasy term ravinstara, used to indicate aromatic plants similar to camphor.
The specific aromatic epithet comes from aroma aroma, perfume: aromatic, fragrant.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Madagascar Clove is a plant native to Madagascar and also present elsewhere where it is grown in Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
Its natural habitat is that of forests, mainly at altitudes between 1,000 and 1,400 meters.
The Madagascar Clove is a tree that can reach a height of 18-20 meters.
The trunk can reach over one meter in diameter.
The twigs are angular and hairless, although the terminal buds are densely and minutely puberty.
The leaves are green, shiny and alternate; they have froma obovate to obovato-elliptic, of 6-11 × 3-6 cm, glabrous, rigidly leathery, with acute base, rarely obtuse, flat margin, rounded apex, the inferior surface minutely but densely dotted with oil glands. They have 4-6 lateral veins on each side, raised reticulation on both surfaces, hairless petioles, 9-14 mm long.
The inflorescences are 3,5-9 cm long, paniculate, branched from the base, glabrous; bracts along the inflorescences mostly deciduous, 1.5 mm long, linear, pubescent.
The flowers are yellow-green, externally glabrous, initially semi-erect tepals, in old expanded flowers, flowers 4-5 mm in diameter; short pedicels, from half the length of the flower tube to equal it; having six identical tepals, strictly ovate, 1,5-2 mm long, glabrous on the outside, puberulous on the inside; stamens 9, all 2-celled, pubescent, c. 1 mm long, the filament very short, 0.1-0.2 mm, the cells of the anther large, the connective cells slightly prolonged beyond the cells of the anther; stamens of the same length and width as the tepals and hidden behind them; 2 small globose glands present at the base of the three internal stamens; small, narrowly ovate, pubescent stems; the pistil is hairless, the stylus protrudes 1 mm, tubular receptacle, pubescent near the edge, otherwise hairless.
The fruits are fleshy berries and are an important source of food for birds, local species of pigeons, and for thrushes, which spread their seeds. Frugivorous birds eat the whole fruit and regurgitate the seeds intact, distributing the seeds in the best conditions for germination (ornithocoria).
Madagascar Clove is a plant that is used both in its natural state and cultivated for the seeds, leaves and bark that are collected and used as a spice.
The tree is grown in Mauritius and Sri Lanka and the fruit is sold in local markets under the name of ‘nux caryophyllata’, ‘Ravensara’ or ‘four spices’.
The tree begins to bear fruit around 5 – 6 years while the fruit takes 6 months to ripen, but is generally harvested after 4 months.
The propagation of this plant is essentially by seed.
Customs and Traditions –
Madagascar Clove (sometimes called clove nutmeg) is also known by the Malagasy names of: havozo, hazomanitra and tavolomanitra.
The leaves and twigs of this plant have a slightly camphor-like aroma similar to eucalyptus. The essential oil of R. aromatica is used as a scented essence in the perfumery industry and as an antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, expectorant, anti-infectious in natural and folk medicine.
The seeds are also used as a spice, contain myristic acid and only the source of Madagascar nutmeg.
The fruit is very aromatic, reminiscent of cloves or anise and has a bitter and spicy taste and contains eugenol.
The bark has a strong anise-like aroma and is used as a spice.
The bark, which is highly aromatic, is used as a flavoring in the preparation of rum.
The leaves are used as a spice.
In medicine, the bark is used to treat a number of addictions in a similar way to sassafras (Sassafras albidum). The pulp of the fruit is stimulating.
Among other uses it should be remembered that the wood, which is white – yellowish and soft, is rather light and quite resistant if kept dry. It can be used for construction and general carpentry.
Below are the constituents of the essential oil of ravensara, with an average composition which, obviously, varies according to various soil and climatic factors:
– limonene 19.38%;
– sabinene 11.40%;
– methyl chavicolo 7.94%;
– α-pinene 5.55%;
– linalool 5.26%;
– methylugenol 5.00%;
– 4.76% germacrene;
– 4-ol 4.00% terpinene;
– e-caryophyllene 3.54%;
– δ-3-carene 3.52%;
– myrcene 3.43%;
– α-terpinene 2.98%;
– β-pinene 2.91%;
– γ-terpinene 2.15%;
– α-phellandrene 1.99%;
– camphene 1.33%;
– (z) -β-ocimene 1.30%;
– α-tujene 1.13%;
– 1,8-cineole 1.08%;
– parachymene 0.97%;
– α-umulene 0.79%;
– α-copaene 0.69%;
– β-elemene 0.63%;
– δ-cadinene 0.60%;
– terpinolene 0.56%;
– δ-elemene 0.55%;
– α-cubebene 0.47%;
– α-terpineol 0.38%;
– α-woe 0.37%;
– Bornyl acetate 0.36%;
– element 0.34%;
– elemicin 0.23%;
– γ-murolene 0.22%;
– borneol 0.21%;
– biciclogermacrene 0.20%;
– γ-cadinene 0.19%;
– (e) -β-ocimene 0.19%;
– β-cubebene 0.16%;
– eugenol 0.12%;
– α-muurolene 0.11%;
– δ-amorfene 0,10%;
– α-eudesmol 0.10%;
– cis-para-menth-2-en-1-ol 0.10%;
– orthocymene 0.09%;
– β-selinene 0.09%;
– β-bourbonene 0.08%;
– trans-cadine-1,4-diene 0.08%;
– trans-para-menth-2-en-1-ol 0.08%;
– cis-sabinene hydrate 0.08%;
– trans-sabinene hydrate 0.08%;
– 0.07% caryophyllene oxide;
– β-copaene 0.07%;
– germacrene b 0.07%;
– cis-muurola-3,5-diene 0.07%;
– trans-cadine-1 (6), 4-diene 0.06%;
– γ-eudesmol 0.06%;
– β-eudesmol 0.05%;
– 0.05% trouble.
Preparation Method –
Madagascar Clove is a plant that uses leaves, fruits, twigs and bark.
An essential oil is obtained which is used in perfumery and as an antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, expectorant, anti-infective in natural and popular medicine.
The seeds and leaves are used as a spice.
The leaves are dried for a month then immersed in boiling water for five minutes before being dried in the sun or over a fire. This keeps them so that they can be stored for several years.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.