30 Surprising Benefits of Clove Oil

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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The health benefits of clove oil include treating a variety of skin issues, toothache, indigestion, cough, asthma, headache, stress, and blood impurities. The benefits can be attributed to its anesthetic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, and stimulating properties. The most important and common use of clove oil is in dental care. Various kinds of toothpaste, mouthwashes, and oral care medications contain this oil as an important ingredient.

What is Clove Oil?

Clove oil is extracted from the dried flower buds of clove (Eugenia caryophyllata). It has numerous medicinal properties and is used topically for pain relief. The oil is rich in plant-derived phenylpropanoids, with the main compound being eugenol. The other bioactive compounds include thymol, carvacrol, and cinnamaldehyde. The color of clove oil ranges from pale yellow to a golden brown. It has a spicy fragrance, similar to that of cloves. The oil is also commonly used as a fragrance and flavoring agent.

Health Benefits

Although clove oil is known primarily for dental care, the benefits are not limited to it. This powerful oil can do wonders for you in multiple ways listed below.

Treats Acne

Clove oil is often recommended for acne patients as it has potent antimicrobial properties. Research shows that this oil can inhibit Staphylococcus bacteria, which can cause acne breakouts, pimples, boils, skin sores, rashes, blisters, impetigo, and Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome.

To treat acne, you can mix a few drops of clove oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or jojoba oil, and apply it with the help of a cotton ball on the inflamed area. You can also mix 2-3 drops of oil with 1 teaspoon of raw honey and apply it. Rinse it off once dry.

A jar of clove oil and a bowl of cloves placed on a wooden table

Skin Care

Eugenol in clove oil has rejuvenating and stimulating properties, which can increase blood flow to the skin and make it look radiant. You will find it in many products for lessening the effects of aging, like wrinkles, sagging skin, and blemishes.

At home, clove oil can be mixed with carrier oils and used as a face wash and a natural moisturizer. It can also be used to treat warts, shingles, and prickly heat rash, as well as to reduce scars.

Heals Candida Infections 

Carvacrol and eugenol, in clove oil, have an anticandidal and antifungal effect. According to a 2005 study published in the Oral Microbiology and Immunology journal, it can be used to heal candidiasis caused due to a fungus, Candida albicans. These yeast infections typically occur in the mouth, ears, nose, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina. The oil is also effective in killing intestinal parasites, which can cause diarrhea and other symptoms. If you want to perform an intestinal cleanse with clove oil, you can consume small amounts, but it is best to do this under the supervision of a doctor.

Dental Care

A research study in the Journal of Dentistry suggests that the germicidal and anesthetic properties of clove oil make it very effective for relieving toothaches, sore gums, and mouth ulcers. For toothaches, you can apply a drop of the oil directly to the tooth.

Alternatively, you can make a compress with a cotton ball. Mix 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2-3 drops of clove oil and dip a cotton ball into this. Apply this cotton ball onto the inflamed tooth and bite down on it. Keep it for about 10 minutes, if you are comfortable, or lesser time. Rinse the mouth with warm water. This mixture can also be used as a rinse to eliminate bad breath.

Dry Socket Treatment 

Clove oil is recommended as a solution for dry socket, a painful dental condition that happens after a permanent extraction of an adult tooth. This is due to the oil’s strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Research published in the Journal of Dentistry shows that oil has the potential to replace benzocaine as a topical anesthetic in dental treatments.

Relieves Teething Pain

Recent studies on the medicinal properties of clove oil have resulted in it being used as a soothing balm on infants who are teething. It can be applied to a baby’s gums in extremely diluted form as the antiseptic and soothing qualities of the oil can ease the pain and reduce the discomfort.

Heals Candida Infections 

Carvacrol and eugenol, in clove oil, have an anticandidal effect on C.albicans. According to a 2005 study published in the Oral Microbiology and Immunology journal, Chami N et al used carvacrol and eugenol as natural antifungal components for in vitro and in vivo studies. The results of the studies indicated that carvacrol and eugenol exerted an anticandidal effect and thus, can be used to heal candidiasis caused due to a fungus, Candida albicans.

These yeast infections typically occur in the mouth, ears, nose, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina. The oil is also effective in killing intestinal parasites, which can cause diarrhea and other symptoms. If you want to perform an intestinal cleanse with clove oil, you can consume small amounts, but it is best to do this under the supervision of a doctor. 

Boosts Sex Drive

Clove oil is made from cloves, which is considered a powerful aphrodisiac. Having 2-3 drops of the oil in warm water can help increase sex drive, boost blood circulation in the sexual organs, and prevent premature ejaculation.

Antiseptic Properties

Due to its antiseptic properties, clove oil is useful for wound, cuts, scabies, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, bruises, prickly heat, and other types of injuries. It can also be used for treating insect bites and stings. The oil is very strong in nature and should always be used in a diluted form. It should be carefully used by people with sensitive skin.

Boosts Immune System

Both clove and clove oil are useful for boosting the immune system. Their antiviral properties have the ability to purify the blood and increase resistance to a multitude of diseases because the antioxidants in clove essential oil scavenge the body of dangerous free radicals. This helps prevent a multitude of diseases like heart problems and certain types of cancer.

High Antioxidant Content

Eugenol in clove oil is a powerful antioxidant with high free radical scavenging activity. It has a number of antioxidants and ranks high in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value, which means that consuming small amounts or applying it to the skin can reduce oxidative stress and prevent chronic diseases.

Increases Blood Circulation

Eugenol, found in clove oil, helps stimulate blood circulation. Increased circulation adds to the oxygenation of the blood and organ systems, which increases metabolism.

Aids Digestion

Clove oil has traditionally been effective for the treatment of stomach-related problems such as indigestion, diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence. A few drops of the oil, if rubbed on the stomach area, can help reduce gas and help eliminate toxins from the body.

Prevents Ulcers

Clove oil, according to a research study, helps stimulate the synthesis of mucus, an important gastro-protective factor. This is why the oil and eugenol, its main compound, help protect the digestive tract lining and prevent the formation of ulcers and gastritis.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

The flavonoids in clove oil have potent anti-inflammatory properties. This powerful natural oil is used to treat all kinds of inflammation in the body from toothaches, inflamed gums, skin eruptions, or muscle and joint pain, to inflammation in the gut.

Reduces Nausea

Clove oil is helpful in reducing nausea and vomiting. Using it occasionally in aromatherapy or topically applying it to pillows at night for long-term inhalation can result in positive effects.

To get relief from nausea due to seasickness or motion sickness, put a few drops of clove oil on a napkin and inhale. This helps calm the system and reduce the feeling of dizziness.

Heart Health

Clove oil can boost heart health in a number of ways. Research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that eugenol in clove oil helped dilate arteries while reducing systemic blood pressure. Also, acetyl eugenol, another bioactive compound in the oil, is a potent platelet inhibitor, which prevents the formation of a thrombus or a blood clot.

Note: Clove is a natural blood-thinner and should not be used along with other blood-thinning medications.

Antibacterial properties

Clove oil has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties and can inhibit the growth of molds, yeasts, and bacteria. According to research, the phenolic compounds in the oil can kill a number of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.

Lowers Stress

Clove oil has a warming effect on the body and a spicy fragrance, which immediately refreshes the senses. Topical application or ingestion in a diluted form can help remove mental exhaustion and fatigue. Because of its anti-inflammatory nature, clove oil can be mixed with carrier oils and used as a massage oil, which helps lower stress and tension in the body.

Eliminates Headache

Clove oil contains many flavonoids, which are anti-inflammatory agents, and they help ease the tension in blood vessels that cause headaches. For instant relief from headaches, mix a few drops of clove oil with salt and apply it on the forehead.

Pain Reliever

Clove oil is commonly used as a pain reliever. A few drops of the oil, when applied to joints and overworked muscles, provide relief from soreness and swelling.

Treats Respiratory problems

Clove oil has a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect and is frequently used to clear the nasal passage. This expectorant is a useful treatment for various respiratory disorders including cold, cough, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, and tuberculosis.

Treats Sty

Due to its anti-inflammatory nature, clove oil is very effective for treating sty. A sty is an inflammation of the eyelash and can be a very irritating and painful condition. The oil also helps prevent eye infections due to its antibacterial qualities.

Relieves Earaches

A mixture of warm clove oil and sesame oil is a good remedy for earaches as it has a numbing effect on the pain.

Purifies Blood

Clove oil helps in purifying the blood; studies have shown that its aroma extracts can actually reduce toxicity in the blood and stimulate antioxidant activity throughout the body, thereby boosting the immune system as well as purifying platelets.

Controls Diabetes

Clove oil has been studied for its potential to aid in diabetes management. An animal study published in the International Journal of Pharmacology studied the effects of clove as well as ginger oils on diabetic rats. It noted that these oils are antioxidant agents and could help manage diabetes and the symptoms that arise from the same.

Anticancer Properties

According to a report published in the Oncology Research and Treatment Journal, the oleanolic acid, a bioactive component of clove oil helps lower the risk of tumor growth in preliminary studies. Both, clove extract as well as the oil, could help reduce the progression of cancer.

Hair Care

The warming effect of clove oil helps increase blood circulation in the scalp and stimulates hair follicles, thus boosting hair growth. Applying a few drops of clove oil, along with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or jojoba oil, can help prevent hair loss, promote healthy hair growth, and treat balding.

Protects the Liver

Research studies show that bioactive compounds in clove oil can help promote liver health. They can help prevent fatty liver disease and reverse signs of liver cirrhosis.

Treats Herpes

Clove oil has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, which helps inhibit herpes simplex, a virus that causes contagious sores most often in the mouth (cold sores) or on the genital area.

Treats Cholera

Clove oil diluted in water has been used as a traditional remedy to prevent and treat cholera.

Health benefits of clove oil - infographic

Other Uses of Clove Oil

  • Insect Repellent: It is used as a component in bug repellent and insect-repelling candles because the vapor is very potent against insects. Traditionally, a few drops of the oil are put on the bedsheets at night to keep bugs away.
  • Cosmetics: It is often added to cosmetic creams and lotions, and it is commonly used as a massage oil.
  • Clove cigarettes: Traditionally, clove was added to cigarettes in Indonesia. Smoking clove cigarettes may reduce the harmful effects of smoking. However, it can still be carcinogenic.
  • Flavoring Agent: It is added to Indian dishes, pickles, sauces, spice cakes, and many cultural foods due to its rich flavor.
  • Soap & perfumes: Due to its powerful aroma, soothing effect and antiseptic properties, clove oil is often added as an active ingredient in soaps and perfumes.
  • Aromatherapy: Clove oil blends well with many essential oils including basil, rosemary, rose, cinnamon, grapefruit, lemon, nutmeg, peppermint, orange, lavender, and geranium. This makes clove oil a popular element in aromatherapy and other herbal combinations.

Side Effects

Clove oil can have a strong burning sensation if used in large quantities. It is always advisable to use small amounts of any essential oil and to be careful when using it on children if you have never used it before. The side effects of clove oil include:

  • Allergy & toxic effects: An excess dose may cause allergic reactions or toxic effects due to its eugenol content.
  • Intestinal problems: It can cause intestinal discomfort, primarily in children.
  • Kidney & liver failure
  • Low blood sugar levels: This oil can cause blood sugar to drop, so people with diabetes should be cautious.
  • Bleeding disorders: People with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia or those taking blood-thinning medications should avoid this oil.

Pregnant women and those who are nursing should not use clove oil, as it is not clear whether this strong compound passes to the infant in the breast milk. Also, patients should stop taking the oil before a surgery or a dental procedure as it can increase the risk of bleeding.

As with any change to diet or nutritional supplement, it is best to consult a doctor before administering or adding it to your daily or weekly regimen.

What is Eugenic Oil?

Eugenic oil is basically an essential oil of clove. It is a pale, yellow or colorless liquid that can be chemically separated from clove oil. It is also found in the essential oil of bay leaf and cinnamon. Also known as eugenol, it is often used as an antiseptic and an anesthetic substance. However, due to its high concentration when not diluted in other oils, it can be harmful to the liver when consumed in large quantities.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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