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Clove originates from Maluku Island in Indonesia and was imported to Europe already in the 7th century. Upon discovery of Maluku Island by the Portuguese, the clove trade became monopolised by the Portuguese until driven out by the Dutch in the early 17th century. The trade thereafter became controlled by the Dutch until Pierre Poivre smuggled clove seedlings out of the country while organising expeditions on behalf of the French East India Company. Clove
waw consequently brought to Mauritius in 1770 and thereafter to La Reunion island. The first plants appeared in Madagascar on Sainte Marie island in the 1820s.
In less than a century, the clove tree was adopted by Malagasy farmers who quickly gained expertise in its cultivation and valorisation. In Madagascar, clove trees are grown for both purposes of clove spice and clove oil production. Farmers can produce clove spice from the flower buds or essential oil from the leaves, or alternate seasonally between the two. Clove oil is produced by hydrodistillation of the leaves, although essential oils derived from the clove bud and stem produce the highest yield.
By 1920/1930 Madagascar became a major producer and exporter of cloves and clove essential oil and is since the 1990s the world's leading exporter.
Clove production span along the east coast of Madagascar from Sambava to Fort Dauphin and especially throughout Analanjirofo (Malagasy for "clove-forest"), which makes up part of the Toamasina Province, including [[Tamatave]], [[Sainte Marie]]
island (Île Sainte-Marie), [[Mananara]] and [[Fenoarivo Atsinanana]] (Fénérive or Fénérive-Est) and the [[Soanierana Ivongo]] district. About 90% of Madagascar's clove production is concentrated around Mananara, Soanierana Ivongo and Fénérive Est.
The tree grows well in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrallitisation ferralitic] tropical soil and usually gets between 10 and 12 metres but can get as tall as 20 metres.
Cloves are is widely used as a base in perfumes, for example in ''l'Air du Temps'' by Nina Ricci and ''Opium'' by Yves Sain-Laurent.
Clove's main ingredient, eugenol, is a bioactive compound with anti-bacterial, fungicide, antiseptic,
antioixidants, anaesthetic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory effects. It is furthermore used in aromatherapy and various traditional, human and veterinary medicines including dentistry, toothpaste...
Eugenol can, however, be toxic in relatively small doses. A dose of 5-10ml has been reported to be nearly fatal for a two-year-old. Additionally, clove oil can be used as an ant and mosquito repellent.