With cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper, cloves belong to the oldest known spices. As such they are mentioned in Chinese, Indian and Sanscrit literature.1) Strange as it seems, they are, however, not referred to in Egyptian and Hebrew literature. The earliest reference to cloves in European literature appears to be found in that of Rome.2)
1) Hieronymi Rubei Ravennatis De destillatione liber, in quo stillatitiorum liquorum, qui ad medicinam faciuntur, methodus ac vires explicantur. Basiliae 1581. cap. 5, fol. 146.
2) Portae Magiae naturalis libri viginti. 1564. p. 387.
3) Caroli Clusii Exoticorum libri decern. Antverpiae 1605. p. 78.
4) Dale, Pharmacologia seu manuductio ad Materiam medicam. London 1693. p. 432.
5) Pierre Pomet, Histoire generale des Drogues. Paris 1694. Tom. 1, p. 130.
6) Annals and Magazine of Natural History, May 1858. - Miers, Contributions to Botany. Vol. 1, p. 121. - Grisebach, Flora of the British West Indian Islands. Vol. 1, p. 109.
7) Trommsdorff's Taschenbuch f. Chemiker und Pharmazeuten 24 (1821), 101. - Berliner Jahrbuch d. Pharm. 24 (1821), I. 166.
8) Liebig's Annalen 47 (1843), 224.
9) Proceed. Wise. Pharm. Assoc. 1893, 36.
10) Pharm. Rundschau (New York) 12 (1894), 183.
Among the presents sent in 315 by the Emperor Constantine to the Bishop Silvester, "Cariophylae"3) are mentioned. In the Christiana topographia compiled by Kosmos Indiopleustes about the year 545, cloves are mentioned as coming from China and Ceylon.4)
Cloves being used extensively in Rome, the Roman physican Alexander Trallianus, who lived in the 6. century, employed them as medicament.5) A century later, Paulus AEginatus, a Greek physician, described them as spice and as medicament.6) Cloves are repeatedly mentioned in the literature of the 8., 9. and 10. centuries,7) but, in the European countries their origin was not definitely known. The Moluccas and their products, however, became better known after the discovery of the direct sea route by the Portuguese toward the close of the 15. century; more particularly through the travelogues of Ludowicio de Barthema of Bologna8) and those of Pigafetta,1) the companion of Magellan. Both described from their own observations not only the clovetree, but also the collection of the cloves, the former in 1504, the latter in 1521.
1) Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels im Mittelalter. 1879. Vol. 1, pp.90 and 99; Vol.2, p. 593. - Schumann, Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Ety-mologie und Geschichte der Gewurznelke. Jahrbuch des botanischen Gartens und Museums in Berlin. Vol. 3 (1881-1884), pp. 119-140.
2) Plinii Naturalis historiae libri. Lib. XII, cap. 15. "Est etiam nunc in India piperis grani simile quod vocatur garyophyllon, grandius fragiliusque. Tradunt in Indico luco id gigni. Advehitur odoris gratia."
3) Liber pontificalis, seu de gestis Romanorum Pontificum. Romae 1724. Vol. 1, p. 94. - Editio Duchesne. Paris 1886. Vol. 1, p. 177.
4) Christiana topographia. Editio Migne, Patrofogias cursus comp/etus. Series Graeca 1850. Vol. 88, p. 446.
5) Alexandri Tralliani Opera. Editio Puschmann. Vol. 1, pp. 430 and 613; Vol. 2, pp. 290 and 545.
6) "Caryophyllum quasi dicas nucifolium, ... ex India veluti flores cujusdam arboris festucacei et nigri sunt . . . odorati acres." Pauli AEginati Opera, a Joanne Guintero Andernaco conversa. Lib. VII: De re medica, cap. 3, p. 299 b. - Compendii medici septem. Editio Paris 1532.
7) Benedictus Crispus, Poematicum medicum. Editio Migne, Patrologiae cursus. 1850. Vol. 89. - Pardessus, Diplomata, Chartas etc. Paris 1849. Vol. 2, p. 309. - W. Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels. 1879. Vol. 1, p. 99. - Pecueil des historiens des croisades. Lois 1843, p. 173.
8) W. Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels im Mittelalter. 1879. Vol. 2, p. 296.
From the beginning of the 16. century to the close of the 17. century the commerce in cloves was almost exclusively in the hands of the Portuguese. Having crowded out the Portuguese, the Dutch in 1605 attempted to make a monopoly of the trade in cloves. With this end in view they destroyed the clove plantations in the Moluccas with the exception of those in the island of Amboina.2)
However in 1769 Poivre, the French governor of Bourbon and Mauritius, succeeded in transplanting clove and nutmeg trees from Amboina to his islands.3) From here, in 1793, cultivated specimens were transplanted to French Guiana (Cayenne), Martinique, St. Vincent, Domingo and Trinidad; also about the same time to Zanzibar.4)
As ornamental plants, clove trees were introduced into Europe, more particularly into Venice, about the beginning of the 16. century.5) , adulteration of clove powder.1) Nevertheless Porta in his writings about the middle of the 16. century, mentions that he had obtained an oil distilled from the stems.2)
On account of the high price of cloves, the aromatic stems remaining after the picking of the blossoms were introduced into commerce as early as the beginning of the 15. century.6) However, they appear to have been used primarily for the
1) Ramusio, Raccolta delle navigationi et viaggi. Venetia 1554, fol. 404b. Edit. Hakluyt Society, London 1874, p. 134.
2) Hasskarl, Neuer Schlussel zu Rumpfs Herbarium amboinense. 1866. Vol. 2, p. 17.
3) Tessier, Sur I'importation du giroflier des Moluques aux Isles de France, de Bourbon et de Sechelles, et de ces is/es a Cayenne. Observations sur la physique. Paris, juillet 1779.
4) Las Colonias espanoles, Islas Filipinas. Madrid 1880, pp. 72 and 122. - Guillain, Documents sur l'histoire, la geographie et le commerce de 1'Afrique orientate. Paris 1856. Tom. 3, p. 318. - Annales de Chim. et Phys. I, 7 (1790), 1-21.
5) Conrad Gesner, Horti Germaniae. 1562. fol. 288.
6) Pegolotti, Delia decima e delle altre gravezze imposte dal comune di Firenze. 1766. Vol.3, p. 98. - Luciano Banchi, I porti della maremma Senese durante la republica. Archivio storico italiano. XII. parte 2 (1880), p. 90. - Bonaini, Statuti inediti della citta di Pisa. Firenze 1857. Vol. 3, p. 106. - Henschel, Janus. Breslau 1846. Vol. 1, p. 40.
Oil of cloves appears to have been distilled for the first time in the 15. century, but probably, like other aromatics, with wine or the addition of spirits of wine. This method of distillation was described by Walter Ryff,3) Conrad Gesner,4) Adam Lonicer5) and others. Gesner also mentions the distillation of the oil, per descensum.6) The pure oil however was, shortly afterwards distilled by Valerius Cordus,7) by Winther of Ander-nach8) and by Porta.9) In the Dispensatorium Nor/cum, oil of cloves was admitted with a number of other oils in the edition of 1589. In drug ordinances it was first mentioned in that of the city of Berlin in 1574.10)
The yield of volatile oil from cloves was determined by Boer-haave,11) Fr. Hoffmann,12) Caspar Neumann13) and H. Trommsdorff.1) Boerhaave remarked that the variation in yield obtained on distillation was somethimes due to the adulteration with cloves which had been exhausted of their oil by distillation and then dried again.2) Bonastre3) in 1827 recognized the acid nature of clove oil and investigated the salt-like compounds of eugenol that were formed with alkalies. Ettling and Liebig4) first showed that besides "Nelkensaure", eugenic acid, there is also present in the oil an indifferent body. Of the older investigations which were restricted mostly to eugenol, those of Dumas5) (1833), Bockmann6) (1838), Calvi7) (1856), Bruning8) (1857), Williams9) (1858), Hlasiwetz and Grabowski10) (1866) and Erlenmeyer11) (1866) may be mentioned.
1) Baader, Nurnberger Polizeiverordnungen aus dem 13. bis 15. Jahr-hundert. 1861. pp. 19 and 139. - Fluckiger, Zur alteren Geschichte der Pharmazie in Bern. Schaffhausen 1862, p. 21.
2) Baptistae Portae Magiae naturalis libri viginti. Liber de destillatione. Edit. Romas. 1608. p. 75.
3) Gualtherus Ryff, New gross Destillirbuch. 1545. fol. 88.
4) Euonymi Philiatri Ein kostlichertheurerSchatz. Zurich 1555. pp.227, 232. Editio 1557, p. 288.
5) Adami Loniceri Krauterbuch und kiinstliche Conterfeyungen. Editio Peter Uffenbach. 1551. p. 546.
6) Euonymi Philiatri Ein kostlicher theurer Schatz. Editio 1557. p. 288.
7) Val. Cordus, De artificiosis extractionibus liber. Argentorati 1561. pag. 226.
8) Guintheri Andernaci Liber de veteri et nova medicina. Basiliae 1571. fol. 630-635.
9) Jo. Baptistae Portae Magiae naturalis libri viginti. Liber de destillatione. Antverpise 1567. pp. 184 and 379.
10) Estimatio materiae medicae utriusque genus . . . in gratiam et usum publicum civitatum Marchiae Brandenburgensis. Autore Matthaeo Flacco. Berolini anno 1574.
11) Hermannus Boerhaave, Elementa chemiae, quae anniversario labore docuit in publicis privatisque scholis. 1732. Vol. 2, p. 114.
12) Frederici Hoffmannii Observationum physico-chemicarum selectiorum. 1722. Vol. 1, p. 11. - De caryophyllis aromaticis. Halae 1701.
13) Caspar Neumann, Chymia medica dogmatico-experimentalis. Editio Kessel. 1749.