Clove essential oil is extracted from the flower buds of an evergreen tree called Syzygium aromaticum, which is native to Indonesia. Dried clove buds are used in cooking, medicines, natural pesticides, and toiletries. The essential oil has been used throughout Asia for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is said to balance a patient’s energy and constitution with the elements of the world. In aromatherapy and herbal medicine practices, clove essential oil is used for a variety of health problems, including dental issues, digestive trouble, and circulation difficulties. With a rich, spicy scent and anesthetic properties, the oil is sometimes used in dental procedures.
The chemical eugenol, which is a primary component of the oil, provides pain-killing and antiseptic benefits, making it a good mouthwash and remedy for toothache while freshening the breath. Among aromatherapy oils, clove essential oil is considered a “hot” oil, which means it causes a warming sensation which can be strong enough to cause skin irritation. For this reason, people with sensitive skin should dilute the oil with a carrier oil like sesame or coconut before using it topically.
As a topical rub, clove essential oil helps increase blood circulation and gives a warming sensation. Alternative health practitioners take advantage of these properties by using the oil for sprains, backaches, bruises, arthritic joints, and muscle spasms. Taken internally, as three to four drops in six ounces of a beverage, the clove essential oil is said to help digestive problems, soothe nausea, and boost the immune system.
Clove oil is among the calming essential oils, and blends well with other oils that reduce stress, help cure insomnia, and ease anxiety. Aromatherapy experts often use soothing essential oil blends combining clove, rose, lavender, clary sage, and sandalwood oils. To take advantage of clove essential oil’s warming and circulation-enhancing action, a blend of clove, cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, and bergamot is a refreshing blend that stimulates alertness. When this blend is rubbed on the temples, under the nose, and on the chest and lymph nodes, it is said to invigorate as well as stimulate the immune system and respiratory tract.
In large doses, such as 5 ml at once, clove essential oil can be toxic or fatal. Some people are also allergic to the chemical eugenol, and can have a reaction with very small amounts of the oil. As with all natural remedies, a doctor should be consulted before adding them to a diet or health care regimen.