5 Health Benefits of Clove Oil You Need to Know

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You've heard of the benefits of clove oil, and you might recognise this wonderful spice from your kitchen pantry, but did you know that it has a fascinating history and a wide range of uses beyond cooking? One way you can utilise clove's health benefits is in oil. 

What Is Clove Oil?

Clove oil is a highly concentrated form of the active compounds found in cloves. It is an essential oil extracted from the flower buds of the clove tree, made by distilling the dried flower buds. The oil is composed mainly of the compound eugenol, which gives it its characteristic aroma and many of its health benefits. 

Clove oil has many uses, from relieving toothaches to repelling insects, and is a popular ingredient in many natural health remedies. We use clove oil in our Throat Spray, and we want to share some of the interesting benefits of clove oil you can utilise at home.


What is Clove?

Clove, or Syzygium aromaticum, is an evergreen tree native to the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. It can grow up to 20 meters tall and has highly aromatic green leaves that can reach up to 13 cm long. The plant's flower buds, known as cloves, are immature buds found in small groups or clusters. They start pale green and gradually turn red as they mature.

What Gives Clove Oil Its Health Benefits

One of the reasons clove oil is so beneficial is due to its key constituents, which include eugenol, eugenol acetate, beta-caryophyllene, phenols, ketones, methyl salicylate, vanillin, and tannins. These volatile oils give clove oil its powerful aroma and numerous health benefits.

In addition to its culinary uses, clove oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. From easing toothaches to improving digestion, the benefits of clove oil have a wide range of therapeutic applications.

History Of The Clove Tree

Clove trees are native only to the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. These trees are notoriously difficult to grow in other locations, which has made them a very prized spice. Wild clove trees have been subject to deforestation and destruction since at least the 17th century. Nowadays, clove buds are currently available from cultivated sources.

Clove was first imported into Europe in the late 1300s, and in the 1500s, the Portuguese invaded the islands to take over the clove trade - resulting in severe conflict with the local indigenous people. 

In the 1600s, the Dutch East India Company embarked on a violent and hugely destructive campaign to take over the clove trade and the islands. They systematically destroyed all the clove trees they did not control and tortured, punished or murdered other growers they could not directly control and take advantage of.

The spice wars resulted in massive wealth for the Netherlands and Europe. If you want to read more about this, The Nutmeg's Curse is an excellent account of this time.

Eventually, other countries smuggled out trees and worked out how to grow clove in their other colonial islands, and the international spice trade declined in the 1800s.


Traditional Use Of Clove Oil

Clove has extensive traditional use within Asia and Southeast Asia. It is used in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine and is often recommended as an infusion, inhalation, skin oil or cream, tincture or even as a herbal cigarette.

5 amazing benefits of clove oil

1. Clove can work as a localised anaesthetic 

Clove’s powerful active constituents make it a fantastic plant to help support irritated and painful mucous membranes. A well known benefit of clove oil is that it provides an anaesthetic effect for sore throats, laryngitis, and tonsillitis, which is why we have added it to our Defence Throat Spray, along with organic sage. It can also help with annoying scratchy coughs - especially with temperature change. 

Traditionally, in China, clove oil was used for its breath-freshening ability. It also reduced bacteria growth within the mouth, which helped support oral health. This is also a helpful action of our Throat Spray, which you can use to help with gingivitis, sore teeth and oral hygiene.


2. Clove is both antiviral and antibacterial

Another one of the health benefits of clove oil and cloves is its antiviral and antibacterial actions. It is often used for respiratory and immune support and is favoured for dental support. We have chosen to add cloves to our Immunity Tonic to help support respiratory health and provide a carminative (calming) action to the digestive system. 

The eugenol volatile oil helps to provide the analgesic (pain relieving) effect. Combined with its antimicrobial action, it is an excellent choice for toothache or sore gums (gingivitis). Clove can help reduce inflammation and improve circulation to the gums, which can help those suffering from poor oral health.

3. Clove is antifungal

Another popular use of clove has been in the topical sense to help fight fungal infections such as athlete’s feet or for chronic skin issues like acne. This is because clove provides an antiseptic actions as well as being antifungal. 

4. Clove provides analegesic properties

The analegesic (pain relieving properties) make it a good choice for those that are suffering from nerve pain, itchy and painful rashes that can occur with eczema. You can apply infused oil or a poultice to bruises, strains or areas causing pain as clove works as a counter irritant - meaning it will draw blood to the area that is injured. The increased blood flow can help remove waste products and bring needed nutrients to the site and help with healing. 

5. Clove can help with hair growth

As clove brings circulation and nutrients to certain sites, when applied topically it has been used to support those that are suffering from hair loss.

How to utilise the benefits of clove oil

Here are some easy ways you can use cloves at home as well as utilise the benefits of clove oil.
  • In cordials, syrups or teas
  • Add to spice blends
  • Infused honey
  • Infused oil or butter
  • Infused vinegar
  • Powder
  • Steam inhalation
  • Milk decoction 
  • In your cooking
  • Use as an air freshner. Boil some cloves and cinnamon in a small saucepan with water to freshen up the air within your house.
  • Clove oil in essential oil burner/diffuser if you are feeling under the weather or need help with more relaxed breathing.


Clove can be quite powerful so start small when you are experimenting. Clove can aggravate ulcers, or some gastrointestinal conditions such as reflux, so be mindful of excessive consumption.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is not advised that you take tinctures or high doses of cloves.
However, it is fine in a culinary sense and both the Immunity Tonic and Throat Spray would also be acceptable to take. 
While there are many benefits of clove oil make sure you dilute it before applying it topically as it can cause skin irritation. 


Gorlinski, V. (2019). Moluccas. In Encyclopædia Britannica [Website]. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/Moluccas
Khalsa, K.P., & Tierra, M. (2008). The way of ayurvedic herbs. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.
Pole, S. (2006). Ayurvedic medicine: Principles of traditional practice. London, UK: Churchill Livingston
Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. (n.d.). Syzygium aromaticum L. Plants of the world online [Database]. Retrieved from http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:601421-1
Stansbury, J. (2018). Herbal formularies for health professionals, Volume 1: Digestion and elimination. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing
Stansbury, J. (2018). Herbal formularies for health professionals, Volume 2: Circulation and respiration. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

1 comment

  • Posted on by Robin
    Thank you for your hard work & research on herbs! I know that it is exhaustive & time consuming. As a novice, your website has been so helpful!!

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