The health benefits of clove oil can be attributed to its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac and stimulating properties. The oil is used for treating a variety of health disorders including toothaches, indigestion, cough, asthma, headache, stress and blood impurities. The most important and common use of clove oil is in dental care. Several toothpastes, mouth wash and oral care medications contain clove oil as an important ingredient.
Clove is an evergreen tree, which produces a flower bud that has numerous medicinal properties. It is often referred to as clove bud. Clove bud has a shaft and a head and hence it has the Latin name clavus, meaning nail. Clove was extensively used in ancient Indian and Chinese civilizations and it spread to other parts of the world, including Europe, during the seventh and eight centuries. Even now, clove is used in several Indian and Chinese dishes.
Clove is rich in minerals such as calcium, hydrochloric acid, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and vitamin A and vitamin C.
The health benefits of clove oil include the following:
Infections: Due to its antiseptic properties, clove oil is useful for wound, cuts, scabies, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, bruises, prickly heat, scabies, and other types of injuries. It can also be used for treating insect bites and stings. Clove oil is very strong in nature and should always be used in diluted form, and furthermore, it should not be used by people with unusually sensitive skin.
Dental care: As mentioned above, the most prominent use of clove oil is in dental care. The germicidal properties of the oil make it very effective for relieving dental pain, tooth ache, sore gums and mouth ulcers. Clove oil contains the compound eugenol, which has been used in dentistry for many years. Gargling with diluted clove oil helps in easing throat pain and irritation. The characteristic smell of clove oil also helps to eliminate bad breath. Clove is also effective against cavities, and traditionally, in India, clove oil was added to a small cotton ball and put at the end of the tooth which has the cavity every day before going to sleep. The cavity would vanish in a few days. As a result, clove oil is added to numerous dental products and medications, including mouthwash and tooth paste. Dentists also mix clove oil with zinc oxide to prepare a white, filling material as a temporary alternative to a root canal. But be careful, clove oil is very strong and can cause burns inside your mouth if used incorrectly.
Recent studies and careful consideration of the power of clove oil have resulted in it being used as a soothing balm on infants who are teething. In extremely diluted form, it can be applied to a baby’s gums, and the antiseptic and soothing qualities of the oil can ease their pain and reduce their discomfort.
Skin care: Clove oil is often recommended for skin care, especially for acne patients. The effects are best achieved when the oil is used in liquid form and spread on a clean, dry rag. You will find clove oil in many products for lessening the effects of aging, like wrinkles, sagging skin, and facial rejuvenation for the eyes because of its rejuvenating and stimulating properties, which can increase blood flow to unhealthy skin and make it look young again!
Immune system: Both clove and clove oil are useful for boosting the immune system. Its antiviral properties and ability to purify blood increases resistance to a multitude of diseases, because the antioxidants in clove essential oil scavenge the body of dangerous free radicals that cause a multitude of diseases like heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Stress: Clove oil is aphrodisiac in nature and therefore serves as an excellent stress reliever. It has a stimulating effect on the mind and removes mental exhaustion and fatigue. When ingested in appropriate amounts, it refreshes the mind and stimulates brain function. Clove oil also induces sleep and is helpful to patients suffering from insomnia. It is also useful for treating neural disorders such as memory loss, depression and anxiety.
Headache: Clove oil, when mixed with salt and applied on the forehead, gives a cooling effect and helps in getting relief from headaches. Clove oil has many flavonoids within it, which are anti-inflammatory agents. When topically applied to the temples or neck, that anti-inflammatory quality will ease the inflammation or tension that so often brings about headaches. For the same reason, clove oil is used as a pain reliever on other parts of the body, like joints and overworked muscles, to provide some relief from painful inflammation or swelling.
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 coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, and tuberculosis. Chewing a clove bud is traditionally recommended to soothe sore throats.
Sty: Clove and clove oil are very effective home remedies for treating sty. Sty is an inflammation on the eyelash and can be a very irritating and painful condition. Sty is not only painful, but also causes difficulty in the proper functioning of the eye. Clove oil has also been shown to be preventative of other eye infections due to its antibacterial qualities.
Ear ache: A mixture of warm clove oil and sesame oil is a good remedy for earaches. The clove flower is the source of that beneficial additive of this already powerful essential oil.
Indigestion: Clove oil has traditionally been effective for the treatment of stomach-related problems such as hiccups, indigestion, motion sickness, and flatulence. Therefore, clove is one of the most important spices added to many Indian dishes. This is once again due to the potent effects of eugenol, one of the main functional parts of clove essential oil.
Nausea: Clove oil is helpful in reducing nausea and vomiting and is often used for pregnancy-related morning sickness and discomfort. Using it occasionally in aromatherapy or topically applying it to pillows at night for long-term inhalation can result in these positive effects.
Blood circulation: Clove oil increases your body’s metabolism by increasing blood circulation and reducing body temperature. An increase in blood circulation typically means a reduction in tension of the blood vessels, a problem commonly associated with tension headaches. Furthermore, increased circulation adds to the oxygenation of the blood and organ systems, which increases metabolism and raises organ efficiency. Finally, in terms of diabetes, increased blood flow can help prevent some of the most dangerous side effects of that terrible disease that can lead to major complications, amputations, and even death. Eugenol is the active ingredient in clove essential oil that causes this stimulation of blood circulation.
Blood purification: Clove oil also helps in purifying the blood; studies have shown that the 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.
Premature ejaculation: Research has indicated that clove can be useful for treating premature ejaculation. However, further research needs to be carried out to confirm these results.
Cholera: It is believed that clove oil is useful for treating cholera.
Diabetes: Along with blood purification, clove oil helps control the level of blood sugar, making it very useful to patients suffering from diabetes. Studies have shown that the postprandial insulin and glucose response mechanisms are more regulated when clove oil is acting on the body’s systems. This is primarily due to the phenol concentration found in clove oil, which is one of the highest in terms of spice plants of its general type.
Insect Repellent: Clove oil is commonly used as a component in bug repellent and insect-repelling candles because the vapor is very potent for the olfactory senses of many insects. Traditionally, a few drops of clove oil were placed on the bedsheets at night to keep bugs away.
Cosmetics: Clove oil is often added in cosmetic creams and lotions, and it is commonly known as a good massage oil that provides relief from pain and stress.
Clove cigarettes: Usage of clove in making cigarettes is a new trend all over the world, although traditionally, clove was added to cigarettes in Indonesia. Smokers incorrectly feel that the numerous health benefits of clove would nullify the ill effects of smoking, whereas the natural elements in clove cigarettes only reduce the harmful impacts, but smoking clove cigarettes can still be carcinogenic.
Flavoring Agent: Along with trying to benefit from cloves’ digestive properties, the essential oil is also added to food items due to its rich flavor. It is added in a multitude of Indian dishes, pickles, sauces, spice cakes, and many other cultural foods.
Soap: Due to its powerful aroma, soothing effect and antiseptic properties, clove oil is often added when making soap and can often be found as an active ingredient.
Perfumes: Clove oil is also used in making perfumes because of its powerful and unique aroma.
Many people believe that clove oil is useful in preventing and treating cancer. However, the American Cancer Society clearly mentions that there is no scientific evidence on the curative properties of clove oil. It is also claimed by many that clove oil is useful in treating viral hepatitis, but again, further research must be conducted.
Aromatherapy: Clove oil blends well with many essential oils including basil essential oil, rosemary essential oil, rose oil, cinnamon essential oil, grapefruit essential oil, lemon essential oil, nutmeg essential oil, peppermint essential oil, orange essential oil, lavender essential oil, geranium essential oil. This makes clove oil a popular element in aromatherapy and other herbal combinations.
Risks? One should be careful while using clove oil, because it is very strong even in small quantities and must be diluted before application or ingestion. Since eugenol (a main part of clove essential oil) is not very common, some people discover violent allergies when taking too much at once. Use small amounts of any essential oil if you have never used it before.
Furthermore, preliminary risks of clove oil include some intestinal discomfort, which is most common in children, and in the most serious cases, has even been connected to kidney and liver failure. Finally, clove oil can cause blood sugar to drop, so diabetics should be cautious, and 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. As with any change to diet or nutritional supplement, it is best to consult a doctor before administering or adding to your daily or weekly regimen.