Clove trees, native to Southeast Asia, are where clove essential oil is extracted from. The oil undergoes a process of distilling where the flower buds are dried and collected to create the oil. Additional parts of the tree may also be used to create the extract. Clove essential oil benefits started to pop up in folk medicine and have since led to studies on the clove tree and the oil that’s extracted from it. The use of clove oil dates back over 2,000 years, although they became much more popular in the eighth century due to the spices made from the tree being used in Europe. The spice and oil were often added to food that was not well preserved to mask the scent.
Use of Clove Oil in Today’s World
Eugenol, one of the components found in clove oil, is thought to provide its many medicinal properties. The oil has been used for several applications, including:
- Relieve muscle pain
- Relieve toothaches
- Relax upset stomach
- Alleviate asthma
- Alleviate respiratory conditions
- Kill harmful bacteria
- Improve dental hygiene
- Improve circulation
You can use your clove essential oil in many applications, such as:
- Aromatherapy: Add the oil into a diffuser and use it for aromatherapy benefits. Be sure that the room is well-ventilated, and follow the instructions that came with your diffuser for best results. There are also blends available that include clove that is great for cold and flu.
- Topical: Clove oil is commonly added to lotions, scrubs, and creams with a dilution level of no more than 2.5%. The same dilution level should be followed if the oil is added to a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil.
Dental application is always possible, too. A lot of people use clove oil in folk medicine to alleviate dental pain, but you should also go to the dentist if the pain persists. You'll want to use an edible carrier oil, add in the clove oil, soak a cotton ball and apply it to your sore tooth.
You'll want to make sure that you don’t make contact with your gums and apply the soaked cotton ball for two or more minutes before removing it. Pain relief isn’t instant, but it should occur within 5 to 10 minutes of application.
Reapply as necessary every two hours.
Side Effects to Consider
Clove oil is generally safe, but there are some side effects that you’ll need to know about and adjust to as necessary. The key side effects are:
- Allergic reaction: A rare side effect is allergic reactions, which can lead to anaphylaxis. This is a serious reaction, with symptoms of hives, rashes, difficulty breathing, coughing, severe digestive problems and other complications.
- Skin reactions. Another form of an allergic reaction is a skin reaction, which involves redness, swelling, and itching. The irritation can be a sign that you need to dilute the clove oil further with a carrier oil.
If you suffer from ulcers or have had major surgery recently, you’ll want to avoid using clove oil.
Clove Essential Oil Benefits
The use of clove oil has led to a variety of homeopathic remedies that people have been using for centuries. Scientists are starting to study clove oil benefits more and provide insight into some of the many ways that clove oil can be beneficial:
Reduce Risks of Certain Cancers
Clove oil may help reduce the risks of certain types of cancer. Researchers in 2014 studied the ability of clove oil to fight against breast cancer. Researchers added the cells to a test tube and Petri dish followed by clove oil drops. The oil was found to be toxic to the cancer cells.
Researchers concluded that clove has a high level of cytotoxicity and may be a promising addition to anticancer agents.
The growth of several cancer cell lines was the focus of another in vitro study. Interestingly, clove oil was potent in attacking colon cancer and was able to increase cell death while disrupting cancer cell division.
Clove oil shows promise in helping people suffering from breast cancer, colon cancer, and cervical cancer.
One of the most promising benefits of clove oil is its ability to fight back against bacteria. A lot of studies have been conducted in this area. Eugenol showed a lot of promise in a 2005 study for its ability to kill a certain form of yeast called “Candida albicans.”
The yeast is responsible for:
- Vaginal yeast infection
- Athlete's foot
Both a culture and rat model was conducted at the same time. Clove oil was able to kill the yeast in both cases.
Researchers in 2012 conducted a study that examined the oil’s ability to kill staph bacteria cells. The study involved staph bacteria cells in both biofilm and liquid cultures. The study is very important because it found that clove oil was able to penetrate through the biofilm and kill the staph bacteria, which is something that most of the best antibiotics cannot offer.
A study from 2018 found that when used in vapor form, clove oil was able to help people that suffer from influenza, pneumonia, and respiratory infections.
Improve Dental Hygiene
Dental pain was outlined earlier, but the strong antimicrobial properties of clove oil led researchers to study the benefits of this oil in 2012. Researchers tested the oil’s ability to stop dental erosion after eating acidic drinks, such as orange juice, soda, or coffee.
The oil was able to protect against dental erosion and is believed to work in a similar fashion as fluoride in protecting against cavities.
Since clove oil also fights against bacteria, it was the center of a 2016 study on its ability to protect against cavities. Ten natural plants were used in the study, but clove oil showed the most promise in stopping cavity-causing organisms from growing.
Pain relief is one of the main reasons people turn to essential oils. Pain relievers are often rife with side effects and risks, but clove oil has relatively few risks to be concerned about. A 2006 study used clove oil for pain relief as a topical anesthetic.
The group that was treated with clove oil noted lower pain levels than the placebo group.
As a topical application, a lot of people will apply clove oil tinctures to areas of the body that have muscle pain. There is a lack of scientific studies to support these claims, but there are plenty of people that use clove oil for muscle pain relief.
The use of clove oil for skin health is also common. A 2017 study on the anti-inflammatory properties of clove oil found that the oil was able to relieve inflammation caused by human dermal fibroblasts.
The study also found that clove oil helped:
- Reduce redness
- Reduce swelling
- Promote healing
People will often add a few drops of this oil to their foot bath to help alleviate swelling of the feet, itchiness, and dryness. The oil can also help kill bacteria that lead to Athlete’s foot.
Clove essential oil benefits are vast, with people using this oil for centuries as a home remedy for everything from dental pain to skin health and pain relief. Research is just showing how beneficial clove oil can be and backing many of the claims that many homeopathic practitioners have linked to the oil.