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What is Clove Essential Oil?

Angela Williams Duea
Angela Williams Duea

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.

Clove essential oil.
Clove essential oil.

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.

Clove essential oil can be used as a mouthwash.
Clove essential oil can be used as a mouthwash.

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.

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Discussion Comments


When I need to freshen my mouth, I chew on a piece of dry clove. It's strong at first, like a mint but one gets used to it. It gets rid of all odors and it's good for the teeth and gums too. Something else that could be used similarly is dry aniseed. They even sell sugar coated ones at the Indian grocery. These are meant to be chewed on after meals. Indian restaurants offer it too.


@bear78-- I agree with you about ingesting the oil. But clove oil can be used for dental purposes such as for pain caused by a cavity or tooth infection. It's not really ingested, so it's not dangerous.

I've used clove essential oil for this purpose before. It's actually a very old remedy and our parents and grandparents used it many times. Clove oil is both antiseptic and numbing. So when a small piece of cotton is soaked in several drops of clove oil and the cotton placed onto the problematic tooth, it relieves the pain and fights the infection. Obviously, it's not a replacement for dental treatment but it can solve the issue temporary until one can get in to see the dentist.


I've never taken clove essential oil internally and I don't think it's a good idea. Most essential oils are not suitable for internal use. And moreover, clover oil is a very potent oil. As far as I know, wrong use of essential oils can be toxic and could even damage organs like the liver. So I would not advise anyone to take clove essential oil internally. Even when using topically, it's necessary to dilute this oil with a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil to reduce its potency. It does have therapeutic properties but will cause irritation like redness and itching if used directly.

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