Cloves are native to Indonesia and have been consumed for thousands of years in several Asian countries. Cloves are flowers of the evergreen tree Eugenia arena, which are picked before they bloom completely. They are ready for use when the pink buds turn brown. The buds contain an aromatic oil, known for its culinary and medicinal properties. Clove oil is manufactured by distillation process.
Anti-inflammatory Properties of Clove Oil
An anti-inflammatory, Eugenol, is the main ingredient in clove oil. Eugenol acts as a mild anesthetic, antibacterial agent, analgesic, antioxidant, and anticancer substance. Clove also contains flavonoids such as kaempferol and rhamnetin, which enhance its anti-inflammatory properties. Clove oil is a source of calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Eugenol is a versatile substance and is used in several industries such as pharmaceutical, agricultural, perfume, culinary, and cosmetic among others.
Medicinal and Therapeutic Benefits of Clove Oil
Cloves contain up to 20% of volatile oils. Traditionally, cloves and clove oil have been used for toothache. Its antibacterial property kills harmful bacteria. Clove oil acts as an analgesic. Clove oil is very strong and can irritate the skin, and therefore very small quantities are used for medicinal uses. Cloves are beneficial to treat upper respiratory tract conditions such as colds, flu, bronchitis, and laryngitis. The antifungal properties of clove benefit people suffering from Candida infection.
Clove oil is used in dentistry due to its analgesic and anti-bacterial properties. It is used for root canal therapy, temporary fillings, and gum inflammation. Clove oil is directly applied to the tooth or gum area with a cotton swab. It is also used in mouthwash and toothpaste. A few drops of clove oil mixed with water can be used to gargle for a sore throat.
Clove oil is used in acne creams and lotions. Eugenol in clove oil helps clear acne and treats infections.
Adding a small quantity of clove to almond oil or coconut oil and massaging helps reduce mental stress, fatigue, anxiety, and exhaustion. Applying the oil to forehead also relieves headaches.
Chewing a clove brings relief to sore throat. It clears nasal passages and relieves congestion resulting from sinusitis, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
Anti-spasmodic properties of cloves help relieve digestive problems including nausea, gas, cramps, and diarrhea. Cloves aid in digestion and is widely used in cooking. It is a common ingredient in curry powders. It also relieves nausea and flatulence.
Clove oil is sold in local health food stores and pharmacies. Cloves are available in the spice section of grocery stores. Less is more when it comes to cloves and clove oil, and too much can cause problems. You can consult with your physician before using clove oil for health problems.
Sources for this article include:
- Kamatou GP et al. Eugenol–from the remote Maluku Islands to the international market place: a review of a remarkable and versatile molecule. Molecules. 2012 Jun 6;17(6):6953-81.