Ding Xiang (Flos Caryophylli or Clove Flower)

What Is Ding Xiang

Ding Xiang commonly known as Flos Caryophylli or Clove Flower is the flower bud of Syzygium aromaticum, which is an evergreen tree belonging to the family Myrtaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Lei Gong Pao Zhi Lun> (Master Lei’s Discourse on Processing of Chinese Materia Medica) in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 AD–589 AD).

The synonyms of Syzygium aromaticum include Caryophyllus aromaticus L., Eugenia aromatica (L.) Baill., Eugenia caryophyllata Thunb., and Jambosa caryophyllus (Thunb.) Nied. Often, it is also called Clove.

Clove likes tropical maritime climates. They are suitable for growing in tropical rainforest environments with high temperatures, humidity, calm wind, and small temperature difference. They are distributed in Indonesia, Madagascar, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and China. This plant has a relatively high economic and medicinal value. Their dried flower buds are a popular spice. Their flower buds, leaves, stems, and volatile oil can be used medicinally.


When the flower buds of cloves turn from green to red, people gather their flower buds, remove impurities, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Ding Xiang contains eugenol, isoeugenol, eugenyl acetate, benzyl tiglate, ethyl cinnamate, 2-phenylethyl acetate, ethyl benzoate, benzyl acetate, menthyl benzoate, menthyl eugenol, cinnamic aldehyde, E-anethole, β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, α-humulene, humulenol, calamenene, calacorene, α-amorphene, γ-cadinene, α-cubebene, copaene, linalool, carvone, 2-heptanone, kaempferol, rhamnocitrin, myricetin, kaempferide, quercetin, luteolin, kumatakenin, pachypodol, 5,7-dihydroxy-2-methylchromone-8-C-β-D-glucopyranoside, ellagic acid, gallic acid. oleanolic acid, maslinic acid, betulinic acid, ursolic acid, soya-cerebrosideⅠ, Iotroridoside-B, p-ydroxyacetophenone, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, vanillic acid, and some trace elements.

Generally, the brown or tawny and oily Ding Xiang with a strong fragrance is preferred. Chewing good quality Ding Xiang will make your tongue feel numb.

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal property of Ding Xiang is relatively warm, with a pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the spleen, stomach, and kidney meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to warm middle energizer to descend perverse rise of stomach-qi, dispel cold to stop the pain, warm kidney to reinforce yang, and treat vomiting, hiccup, poor appetite, flatulence, dyspepsia, cold pain of stomach and abdomen, impotence, sterility due to uterine cold, hyperemesis gravidarum, infantile diarrhea and abdominal pain, toothache, mouth ulcers, skin ulcers, athlete’s foot, acne, asthma, mumps, acute gastroenteritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

There are more than 400 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Ding Xiang Shi Di Tang, Ding Kou Li Zhong Wan, and Ding Gui Er Qi Tie.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibited luminol-amplified chemiluminescence of resting neutrophils and N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine- or phorbol myristate acetate-stimulated neutrophils and attenuated LPS-induced lung inflammation in mice [1].
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging superoxide anion free radicals, ABTS radicals, and DPPH radicals, reducing ferric ion (Fe3+) to the ferrous ion (Fe2+).
  • Increasing the pain threshold, prolonging the latency of the pain response in mice caused by thermal stimulation, and reducing the number of writhing responses in mice induced by acetic acid.
  • Inhibiting herpes simplex virus, influenza A virus, and hepatitis C virus [2].
  • Inhibiting α-glucosidase and α-amylase activity, and reducing postprandial blood glucose levels.
  • Reducing CCL4-induced acute liver injury in mice and protecting the liver.
  • Inhibiting platelet aggregation caused by platelet-activating factor, arachidonic acid, or collagen [3].
  • Warming middle energizer to descend perverse rise of stomach-qi, and treating vomiting and hiccup caused by stomach-cold.
  • Warming the spleen and stomach and dispelling cold, treating cold pain in the chest and abdomen, obstruction of qi in the chest, and cold pain in the stomach and abdomen.
  • Warming kidney to reinforce yang, treating impotence due to kidney-deficiency, and sterility due to uterine cold.
  • Its oil compounds kill Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus [4].
  • Its volatile oils have inhibitory effects in vitro on Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Streptococcus mytans, Mycobacterium fortuitum, Proteus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia marcescens, Salmonella Type B, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Its volatile oils have inhibitory activity in vitro against Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum gypseum, Fusarium moniliforme, Fusarium oxysporum, Aspergillus sp., and Mucor sp [5].
  • Its ethanol extract has a protective effect against cerium-induced brain damage [6].
  • Its ethanol extract reduces high-fat diet-induced obesity in mice through the downregulation of adipogenic and lipogenic gene expression [7].
  • Eugenol has exhibited anticancer properties against several cancer types, such as leukemia, lung cancer, colon cancer, colorectal cancer, skin cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer [8].


Side Effects

Overdosing may cause weakness in the lower limbs, difficulty breathing, vomiting blood, or black stools. In severe cases, it may cause lower limb paralysis, lethargy, hematuria, or urinary incontinence.

When applied topically, it may cause a rash or hives in a small percentage of patients.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Ding Xiang should be controlled between 1-3g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, medicinal liquors, or grounds for external use.
  • People who are allergic to Ding Xiang should not take it.
  • It should not be taken at the same time as atropine or Yu Jin (Turmeric Tuber).
  • Patients with syndromes of excess heat should not take it.
  • Patients with internal heat due to yin deficiency should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under medical supervision.
  • Children, the elderly, and the infirm should take it under medical supervision.