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Clove (Eugenia aromatica) and clove oil(eugenol)


Also listed as: Eugenia aromatica
Related terms

Related Terms
  • 2-methoxy-4-(2-propenyl)-phenol, beta-caryophyllene, Caryophylli atheroleum, Caryophylli flos, caryophyllum, caryophyllus, Caryophyllus aromaticus, cengke (Indonesian), cengkeh (Indonesian), chiodo di garofano (Italian), choji (Japanese), chor boghbojh (Armenian), chor poghpoch (Armenian), cinnamon nails, clau (Catalan), clavo (Spanish), clavo de olor (Spanish), clavos, clou de girofle (French), clovas de comer (Tagalog), clove bud, clove bud oil, clove cigarettes, clove essential oil, clove leaf, clove oil, craveiro da ═ndia (Portuguese), cravina de T˙nis (Portuguese), cravinho, cravo (Portuguese), cravo da ═ndia (Portuguese), cravoßria (Portuguese), cravo das molucas (Portuguese - Brazil), cravo de cabecinha (Portuguese), cravo de doce (Portuguese - Brazil), cuisoare, ding heung (Chinese), ding xiang (Chinese), dinh huong (Vietnamese), dok chan (Laotian), dried clove, Eugenia aromatica, Eugenia bud, Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia caryophyllus, eugenol, eugenole, flores Caryophylli, gahn plu, garifalo (Greek), garifallo (Greek), garifano (Greek), garn ploo (Thai), GewŘrznelke (German), GewŘrznelken (German), GewŘrznelken Nńgelein (German), GewŘrznelkenbaum (German), giroffle (French), giroflier (French), gozdzik korzenny (Polish), gozdziki (Polish), gozdzikˇw korzenny (Polish), graambu, ground clove, gvazdikelia, gvozdika (Russian), habahan (Arabic), harilik nelgipuu (Estonian), hrebÝckovec korennř (Czech), hrebÝckovec vonnř (Czech), iltze kanela, isoeugenol, jeonghyang (Korean), jeonghyang namu, jonghyang, kaan phlűu (Thai), kabsh qarunfil (Arabic), kala (Pashto), kalmpir, kan phou (Laotian), kan phu (Laotian), karabu nati (Sinhalese), karafuu (Swahili), karamfil (Bulgarian), karanfil (Turkish), kariofilla (Greek), kariofilo (Esperanto), khan pluu (Khmer), khlam puu (Khmer), klabong pako (Tagalog), klincek (Slovak), klincic, klincki, krambu (Tamil), kreteks, krinfud (Amharic), kruidnagel (Dutch), kruidnagelboom (Dutch), krustnaglinas (Latvian), kryddnejlikor (Swedish), kryddernellik (Norwegian), kryddernellike (Danish), kryddernelliketrŠ (Danish), kryddnejlika (Swedish), kullobu (Korean), kurobu (Japanese), kuroobu (Japanese), kvapnusis gvazdikmedis (Lithuanian), labanga (Oriya), labango (Bengali), laung (Hindi, Urdu), lavang (Marathi), lavanga (Hindi, Sanskrit), lavangalu (Telugu), lavangamu (Telugu), lay hnyin (Burmese), ley nyim bwint (Burmese), lwaang (Nepalese), mausteneilikka (Finnish), mikhak (Farsi), mikhaki (Georgian), mixaki (Georgian), moschokarfi (Greek), mu ding xiang (Chinese), Myrtaceae (family), myrte soort (Dutch), Nńgelein (German), nageljnove zbice, nagri (Sranan), Negelken (German), negull (Icelandic), neilikka (Finnish), nejlikor (Swedish), Nelke (German), nellik (Norwegian), nellike (Danish), oil of clove, oleum caryophylli, pentogen (clove oil), qalampir (Uzbek), qaranful (Arabic), rosa da ═ndia (Portuguese), Shitei-To, shouji (Japanese), shriisanjnan (Sanskrit), sitsigiui gvozdichnyi (Russian), Syzigium aromaricum (L) Merr. and Perry., szegfuszeg(fa) (Hungarian), Tiger BalmT Red, tropical myrtle, tsiporen (Hebrew), tziporen (Hebrew).
  • Combination product examples: Dent-Zel-Ite« toothache relief drops, Red Cross Toothache Medication«; Tiger BalmT Red (5% cassia oil plus 5% clove oil); Shitei-To (STT) (Shitei (SI, Kaki Calyx; calyx of Diospyros kaki L. f.), Shokyo (SK, Zingiberis Rhizoma; rhizome of Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and Choji (CJ, Caryophylli flos; flowerbud of Syzygium aromaticum [L.] Merrill et Perry), Olbas Oil (menthol 4.1% and oil of cajuput 18.5%, clove 0.1%, eucalyptus 35.5%, juniper berry 2.7%, peppermint 35.5%, and wintergreen oil (methyl salicylate) 3.7%), Buddha Nose Immune Booster Spray and Salve (lemon, clove, cinnamon, and ravensara essential oils), DHC-1 (Bacopa monniera, Emblica officinalis, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Mangifera indica, and Syzygium aromaticum).
  • Dental sealants containing eugenol: Kerr Pulp Canal Sealer, Roth's 801, Eugenol-based IRM (Intermediate Restorative Material), Tifell (formocresol-eugenol), Pulp Canal Sealer, EndoFill.
  • Cement/temporary cement/periodontal dressings for dental work: ZOE«/SSW, Superbite, Canals, Endomethansone, N2, Endofill, Intrafill, Tubli-Seal, Kerr, periodontal dressings, Wondrpak« and Nobetec«, temporary cement Temp bond, Provy, TempCem, Eugedain, Showa Yakuhin Kakou, Pulp Canal Sealer EWT.
  • Note: Clove is not be confused with baguašu, black plum, Eugenia cumini, Eugenia edulis, Eugenia jambolana, Eugenia umbelliflora, jamun, java apple, java plum, SCE, Syzygium cordatum, Syzygium cumini, Syzygium samarangense, water apple, or wax apple.

  • Clove is widely grown in Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Brazil. It has been used to flavor food products. Clove has also been used to prevent infection and reduce pain, for which it has been approved by the expert panel German Commission E. Clove has been studied for other uses, such as premature ejaculation, fever, and dental pain, but more evidence is needed.
  • Clove is sometimes added to tobacco in cigarettes. Clove cigarettes ("kreteks") typically contain 60 percent tobacco and 40 percent ground cloves.
  • Clove oil has been associated with kidney and liver toxicity.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *

Clove essential oil is commonly used for dental pain relief. Eugenol, the active ingredient in clove oil, is commonly used by dentists for its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. Studies report that homemade clove gel may be as effective as benzocaine 20 percent gel. A combination of zinc oxide and eugenol has been used as standard cement or filling in dental work. Although the evidence is promising, further study is needed in this area.


Early research reports that a one percent clove oil cream may promote anal fissure healing. Further study is needed before a firm conclusion may be made.


Early evidence is promising for the use of clove in relieving symptoms of ascites. However, further studies looking at the use of clove alone are needed before a conclusion may be made.


Clove oil may have antibacterial effects that could benefit dental hygiene. Early study looked at the use of clove oil in combination with other agents, but there is conflicting evidence. Further research is needed.


Clove oil may help relieve headache. Early study suggests that clove bud oil, in combination with other agents, may decrease headache severity. However, more studies looking at clove oil alone are needed before a conclusion may be made.


Eugenol has been studied as an alternative to man-made mosquito repellents. Clove oil has been found to repel multiple species of mosquitoes for up to two hours, but may cause allergic skin reactions. Clove oil combined with other oils, such as geranium oil or thyme oil, has been studied. Further research is needed.


Limited study has looked at the use of clove in combination with other herbs for premature ejaculation. Though results are promising, more research is needed on the use of clove alone for this condition.


Early evidence suggests that a combination therapy containing eugenol may help relieve symptoms of yeast infection. However, further study on the use of clove alone is needed before a conclusion may be made.

* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abdominal pain, acaricidal (kills ticks and mites), acne, allergies, analgesic (painkiller), anesthetic (relieves pain during surgery), antibacterial, antifungal, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antimutagenic (prevents mutations), antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic (prevents muscle spasms), antiviral, asthma, athlete's foot, bad breath, bile flow stimulant, blood purifier, blood thinner, cancer, carminative (promotes expelling of gas), circulation, cleansing, clogged arteries, colic, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, expectorant (promotes mucus), fever reducer, flavoring, food uses, gas, general health maintenance, gout, hernia (a sac formed by the stomach lining), herpes simplex virus, hiccough, high blood pressure, indigestion, insecticide (larvae, dust mites), intestinal parasites, intestinal worms, lice, lipid lowering effects, liver protection, measles, mouth and throat inflammation, muscle aches, muscle relaxant, nausea (during pregnancy), nerve damage, nervous system function, pain, parasites, protection against asbestos lung injury, rash, rheumatic diseases, ringworm, sex, sexual arousal, solvent (drug-delivery system), sore throat, stiffness, stomach pain, swelling (mouth), thrush (yeast infection of the mouth and throat), toxicity (caused by arsenite), ulcers, vasorelaxant (reduce pressure in blood vessels), vomiting (during pregnancy).


Adults (18 years and older)

  • General: Experts say that intake should not exceed 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily. There is a lack of evidence to support any dose of clove taken by mouth.
  • For anal fissures, 1 percent clove oil cream has been applied to the skin three times daily for six weeks.
  • For dental pain, 2 grams of homemade clove gel has been applied to the mouth for four minutes, then reapplied for another minute. Eugenol gauze strip has been applied to the mouth after cleaning.
  • As a mosquito repellant, 0.1 milliliters of clove oil of different concentrations (5-100 percent) has been applied to 30 square centimeters of exposed skin was used.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for clove in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to clove, any related species, eugenol, isoeugenol, other parts of clove, balsam of Peru, or carrots.
  • Allergic nasal symptoms, allergic skin reactions (burning, hives, itching, pain, and rash), asthma, hives, shortness of breath, and swelling of the face and lips have been reported with exposure to clove.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Clove is likely safe when taken by mouth in food amounts. Clove is possibly safe when taken by mouth in recommended doses for medical purposes in otherwise healthy adults, and when properly diluted clove oil is applied to the skin.
  • Clove may cause anti-estrogen effects, central nervous system depression, changes in weight, clotting disorders, dental problems, emotional changes, eye symptoms (irritation, swelling, and tearing), gum inflammation and irritation, immune system effects, kidney and liver damage, lung muscle spasms and swelling, seizures, spermicidal effects, and urinary problems.
  • Clove may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Clove may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs or herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Clove may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system.
  • Use cautiously in people who have autoimmune disorders, dental conditions, and kidney or liver dysfunction; those who are undergoing estrogen therapy; and those trying to have a baby.
  • Use cautiously in people who are taking agents that affect the immune system.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to clove, any related species, eugenol, isoeugenol, other parts of clove, balsam of Peru, or carrots.
  • Clove may increase the risk of bleeding. Avoid in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Avoid applying undiluted clove oil to the skin.
  • Avoid in children and in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of clove during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

Copyright ę 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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