10 December 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
Clove Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
Clove oil has great benefits for gut and oral health, and can fight against infection.
Extracted from the buds and leaves of the clove tree, the warm, spicy scent of clove oil has long been considered a staple of the festive season.
Cloves have been a part of Chinese medicine since at least 226BC – it was documented at the time that anyone wanting to speak to the emperor had to chew on clove beforehand to prevent bad breath. Many years later, clove is still associated with oral health, and is also used to fight infection, ease toothache, and aid digestion.
There are two main kinds of clove essential oil.
Clove oil is usually extracted from one of two places on the clove tree: the leaves or the buds. These two oils have more or less the same benefits, with just a few key differences between them.
Of the two, clove bud oil is more potent, with higher levels of eugenol. This gives it a stronger, spicier scent, along with more powerful effects. However, it is not recommended for topical usage as its potency can make it less safe.
Clove leaf oil, on the other hand, whilst being milder in scent and effect, is safe to apply to skin when diluted. For this reason, clove bud oil is typically used in aromatherapy, whereas clove leaf oil is substituted for topical use.
Clove essential oil is great for the immune system.
Many studies have documented the infection-fighting, immune-boosting effects of clove oil, both bud and leaf. A study in 2005 found that clove oil was very effective against candida infections, and a further study in 2012 found that it was also effective against staph infections.
Clove has been shown to help boost the immune system and aid its fight against cold and flu symptoms, and its constituent eugenol has been shown to have inhibitory effects on oxidative stress and inflammatory responses, which helps to prevent cell damage in the body.
It’s also been shown that clove has nearly thirty times the antioxidant stress of blueberries – a popular antioxidant food – allowing it to fight free radicals in the body and reverse the damage they cause.
It can help ease toothache.
The Chinese have been applying clove to ease toothache for over two thousand years. Clove oil has been shown to kill tooth nerve pain by numbing nerves in the mouth for about two to three hours, providing temporary relief. These effects are so well-established that a study in 2006 even showed clove oil to have the same numbing effects as the commonly used dental numbing agent, benzocaine. Clove bud oil should never be applied to the gums, however, and before using clove leaf oil orally you should always seek advice from a medical professional.
It promotes gut health.
Applied topically to the abdomen, clove bud oil has been found to help to treat a number of issues with gut health, including indigestion, motion sickness, bloating, and flatulence. A study in 2018 found that clove can help prevent ulcers from forming in the digestive system by enhancing gastric mucus production and protecting the lining of the digestive tract. Many people have found that clove bud oil has provided gastric relief from a range of complaints.
Whether you choose to add clove bud oil, clove leaf oil, or both to your medicine collection, by keeping this handy bottle of oil within reach you will be participating in a medicinal tradition stretching back thousands of years. Clove oil’s warming spiciness hosts a range of health benefits, and can help to keep you healthy well past the festive season.
Shop our clove essential oil here.