Clove Oil

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Your Guide to Using Clove Oil

Clove is the aromatic flower bud of the clove evergreen tree. Most people have at least a passing familiarity with it as a culinary seasoning.

The culinary use of clove is particularly prevalent in Asian, African, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures. It’s used to give flavor to meats, curries, and fruits. Clove is also a common addition to hot beverages in these countries.

Yet clove’s uses go far beyond the culinary. People from around the world have used it for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years. New research has further backed up claims of its healing properties, especially as they relate to pain relief.

Like many plants, clove buds can be distilled to create an essential oil. Known as clove oil or clove bud oil, this essential oil contains high amounts of the concentrated compounds that give clove its positive health effects.

What is Clove Oil?

There are actually three different types of essential oils that can be made from the clove tree—clove bud oil, clove leaf oil, and clove stem oil. Though they all have slightly different healing properties, they do pretty much the same thing.

What we call clove oil in North America is almost always clove bud oil. It’s by far the most common of the three for aromatherapy. Clove bud oil is gentler than clove leaf oil or clove stem oil, but it’s health effects are just as powerful.

credit: pikerslanefarm/flickr.com
credit: pikerslanefarm/flickr.com

The medical use of clove oil dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was used to treat toothaches and other dental pains. Some people even used it to fight bad breath. The presence of clove is also found in traditional Chinese medicine. It was likely used for the same purposes.  

Interestingly, clove’s number one use today is still for oral health. Approved in the United States as a dental anesthetic, it provides relief from toothaches and treats infections of the throat and mouth. Many over-the-counter dental products even contain small amounts of clove.

 

Uses of Clove Oil

Clove oil is best known for its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiacal, and stimulating properties. Though it is most commonly used in the field of dental care, clove has a wide range of other uses as well. A few of these include:

  • Skincare

Clove oil can treat common skin problems like acne, warts, wrinkles, and sagging skin. It has rejuvenating and stimulating properties, which can increase blood flow to unhealthy skin. These properties are best achieved when the oil is used in liquid form. As a natural remedy, especially to eliminate acne, take 3 drops clove oil and mix with 2 tsp raw honey. Mix together and wash your face.

  • Insect Repellent

Clove is a common component in bug repellents and insect-repelling candles because the vapor is very strong to the olfactory senses of many insects. Place a few drops of clove oil on bedsheets at night to keep bugs away. Also, combine clove oil with citrus oil (another essential oil) to ward off insects and other pests.

  • Digestive Aid

Clove is one of the most important spices added to many Indian dishes, because it has traditionally been effective for the treatment of stomach-related problems. This is due to the potent effects of eugenol, one of the main active parts of clove essential oil. Take a small amount of clove oil orally to halt nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

  • Antiseptic

Clove has antiseptic properties; therefore, it is useful for wounds, cuts, scabies, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, bruises, prickly heat, treating insect bites, and other types of injuries. It should always be used in diluted form and should not be used by people with unusually sensitive skin. Coat minor fungal infections, wounds, and cuts with clove oil to stop infection.

  • Expectorant

Clove oil also has a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect, therefore, it is frequently used to clear the nasal passage. Take clove oil orally to provide relief for coughs, colds, sinusitis, asthma, tuberculosis, and other respiratory problems. Or chew on an actual clove bud to soothe a sore throat.

  • Perfume

Clove buds have a powerful and unique aroma. Use them for a DIY perfume or look for one that contains a mix of clove, rose, carnation, and honeysuckle.

  • Soap

Not only does clove oil give soap a unique smell, it also boosts its relaxing and antiseptic properties.

  • Massage

Incorporate a small amount of clove oil into a massage for its pain relief and stress relief benefits. Massage 3 drops of clove oil with 2 milliliters of carrier oil.

  • Flavoring

Clove is added to many cultural foods not just because of its digestive properties, but also because of its rich flavor. Use clove the traditional way, as a seasoning for food and beverage.

 

Benefits of Clove Oil

As you can see from its many uses, clove oil contains a lot of benefits. Let’s look at these in more detail.

First and foremost, clove oil provides pain relief. Combine this with its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and it’s easy to see why clove is so often used to combat dental pain. The most common dental problems clove oil is used to fight are sore gums, mouth ulcers, cavities, and bad breath.

Another benefit of clove oil is its stimulating and warming properties. These make it popular in the aromatherapy world. The fact that clove oil also helps relieve stress makes it an even more popular essential oil for aromatherapy and massage.

New evidence shows that clove oil has benefits as an aphrodisiac. It’s been particularly effective treating premature ejaculation.

 

How to Make Clove Oil

Purchase your clove oil from a reputable dealer of essential oils for the most powerful effects possible. The oil you buy from a dealer is produced through steam distillation.

However, you can safely make your own clove oil at home. While it won’t be quite as strong, it’s still a fun and cheap project to take on.

Take an airtight jar and place four fresh, crushed cloves inside. Fill the jar with a carrier oil (olive oil is common) until the cloves are submerged. Seal the container so that outside air can’t get inside.

Place the jar in an area where it will receive regular exposure to sunlight. Let it sit for at least one week. After a week’s time, transfer the mixture into a glass container. Be sure to use a strainer to remove any chunks, sediment, or other debris.

Pour the mixture back into the airtight jar. Store the mixture in a dark, cool place with the lid tightly shut. When made correctly, homemade oil can last for up to five years.

 

Is Clove Oil Legit?

Those with minimal experience with essential oils might question the legitimacy of clove oil. They often wonder if it really works.

We can tell you as much as we want that it does. We can point you in the direction of research that supports its health benefits. Yet neither of these will convince you like experiencing its effects for yourself.

Purchase or make clove oil to experiment with it. Mix two drops with a carrier oil and massage this onto sore muscles. You’ll likely experience relief within the hour.

Another way to test the effects of clove oil is to add between three and five drops to a lukewarm bath. Taking a bath with a small amount of clove oil is sure to release its pain and stress relieving properties.

Perhaps the best way to experience clove oil’s pain relieving benefits is to use it on a sore tooth. Dab only one drop onto a cotton ball. Place this cotton ball on the sore area for at least ten minutes. Remove the cotton ball and gargle a cup of warm water with two additional drops of clove oil in it.

At the end of the day, the only way to prove to yourself that clove oil actually works is to, well, try it for yourself. You’re likely to be amazed at the strength of its effects.

However, it’s very important to point out, right off the bat, that clove oil isn’t right for everyone. Start your experiments with only a very small amount. This will allow you to ensure that your body will react positively to it.

On the same note, take particular caution if you decide to ingest clove oil. Applying it topically is generally safe, but taking it orally can cause unexpected problems.

Finally, start your clove oil experiments by mixing it with a carrier oil. Our favorite carrier oils are jojoba oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Using an essential oil combined with a carrier oil means that the essential oil is diluted and less powerful.  

 

Side Effects of Clove Oil

Like almost anything used medicinally, clove oil comes with a number of potential side effects. For beginners, especially those who would like to try clove oil, it is recommended that you use it in moderation. Due to its component eugenol, some people may experience an allergic reaction. Once again, this is why it should be taken gradually and in small amounts. You can increase your dosage as your body becomes used to it.

Clove oil is also known to induce nausea and vomiting when taken orally. If at all possible, it’s best to stick to using clove oil topically rather than orally.

In short, it’s solid advice to consult an experienced holistic healthcare practitioner before using clove oil, especially if you want to use it orally. They’ll be able to give you the best advice on how to stay safe and improve its benefits.

 

Where to Buy Clove Oil

Not all essential oils are created equal. Because the efficiency of distillation can range widely, the actual effectiveness of the essential oil you buy also varies.


For this reason, it’s important to buy your clove oil from a reputable dealer. Ask your aromatherapy specialist or holistic healthcare practitioner where they buy their products. Stick to those that are labeled “therapeutic grade” and contain only natural ingredients.

Clove oil isn’t cheap so you must make sure you buy a quality product.

Depending on your uses for this oil, clove oil blends well with basil, benzoin, bergamot, cinnamon bark, clary sage, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, and ylang ylang essential oils.

 

Final Thoughts

The popularity of essential oils, like clove oil, is booming. More research being done into their effects all but proves their benefits. If you’re interested in trying clove oil for yourself, there is no better time to start than now.

With all its benefits, adding some cloves or clove oil to your health regime could be beneficial, but use it with extra caution because of some of its strong properties.

 

Sources

  1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=69
  2. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/clavus
  3. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-clove-oil.html
  4. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/clove-bud-oil.aspx
  5. http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/clove.htm
  6. http://www.quinessence.com/blog/clove-bud-essential-oil
  7. http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/clove-essential-oil.html

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