The people on the island of Ternate were free from epidemics until the 16th century, when Dutch conquerors destroyed the clove trees that flourished on the islands. Many of the islanders died from the epidemics that followed.
Cloves were reputed to be part of the "Marseilles Vinegar" or "Four Thieves Vinegar" used by grave-robbing bandits to protect themselves during the 15th century plague.
Clove was listed in Hildegard's Medicine, a compilation of early German medicines by highly-regarded Benedictine herbalist Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179).
Healers in China and India have used clove buds since ancient times as part of their treatments.
Eugenol, clove's principal constituent, was used in the dental industry for years to numb gums.
Courmont et al. demonstrated that a solution of .05% eugenol from clove oil was sufficient to kill the tuberculosis bacillus (Gattefosse, 1990).