Clove oil is an essential oil that’s derived from clove trees. The clove tree, known as Syzygium aromaticum, is native to Southeast Asia, although today you may find it growing in other locations, too.
Clove oil is produced by distilling the dried flower buds that are collected from the clove tree. Other parts of the tree, such as the stem and leaves, may also be used.
Clove oil, which ranges in color from colorless to light yellow and has a strong, spicy aroma, has been used for centuries in a variety of applications.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the potential benefits of this oil and how you can use it at home.What are the benefits of clove essential oil?
Clove oil has traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, including:
- as an antimicrobial, to help kill bacteria
- as a pain reliever for conditions such as toothache and muscle pain
- for digestive upset
- to relieve respiratory conditions like cough and asthma
While many different chemicals have been identified in clove oil, a compound called eugenol is one of the primary components.
Like many essential oils, researchers have been working to evaluate the potential health benefits of clove oil and its components. Let’s take a deeper dive into what some of the research says so far.
In a study from 2012, researchers found that clove oil had the ability to kill staph bacteria cells in liquid culture and in biofilm. A biofilm is a community of bacteria that lives together, shielded by a protective, slimy film.
Most antibiotics aren’t effective at penetrating the biofilm and killing staph bacteria but, according to this study, clove oil seems to be able to.
A 2017 studyTrusted Source looked at the antifungal activity of several essential oils. Of the oils tested, clove oil was the most effective at stopping the growth of a range of fungi with environmental origins.
In a 2005 studyTrusted Source, researchers investigated the effect of eugenol, a major component of clove oil, on the yeast Candida albicans. This yeast can cause fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, oral thrush, and vaginal yeast infections.
According to the authors of the study, eugenol had the ability to kill the yeast, both in culture and in a rat model.
A 2018 studyTrusted Source looked at the effect of essential oils on a variety of bacteria that cause respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and influenza.
Although the effects were lower than the antibiotics tested, clove oil did have antibacterial activity when added to liquid culture or introduced as a vapor.
Clove oil can be effective at stopping the growth of some types of bacteria and fungi.
In 2012, researchersTrusted Source investigated the effect of clove oil on the dental erosion of teeth by acidic beverages, like apple juice. Dental erosion of teeth can lead to cavities.
According to the study, clove oil and its molecules were effective at preventing dental erosion, leading the authors to believe that clove oil may work in a similar way to fluoride in preventing cavities.
A 2016 studyTrusted Source tested 10 natural plant products to see how effective they were against organisms that cause oral cavities. Clove oil was found to be the most effective at inhibiting cavity-causing organisms.
A 2006 studyTrusted Source compared the pain-relieving ability of clove gel and benzocaine.
Researchers found that participants who were tested with either clove oil or benzocaine had significantly lower pain scores than the placebo group. This led the authors of the study to believe that clove oil may be effective as a topical anesthetic.
Clove essential oil may help prevent cavities and relieve oral pain.