Clove (Stzygium aromaticum) is not as popular as some better-known essential oils such as lavender, grapefruit, and peppermint, but it has a variety of practical uses. Clove essential oil has a warm, sweet spicy smell. It comes from the clove plant, which is indigenous to India and Indonesia. The leaves, stems, and buds of the clove plant can all be used to produce the oil. Clove essential oil has a number of different properties. According to a study published on PubMed, “In addition to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antiviral activity, clove essential oil possesses antiinflammatory, cytotoxic, insect repellent and anesthetic properties” (source). Some of these properties make clove essential oil ideal for dental care, athlete’s foot, and warding off insects and dust mites.
Clove oil has historically been used to relieve minor toothaches. It has both analgesic and antibacterial properties. A study done in Argentina found that clove essential oil diluted to .4% inhibits the microorganisms Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (source). It is therefore useful for toothaches caused by bacteria. Clove oil’s active compound, eugenol, works also as a natural anesthetic, numbing sensitive or painful areas.
To use clove oil for tooth pain, mix one drop of clove essential oil with 1/8 tsp. of a carrier oil (I prefer fractionated coconut oil). Dip a cotton swab in the mixture and apply to the affected area.
Because of its contribution to oral health, it is also sometimes found in toothpastes and mouthwashes.
It should be noted that clove oil may not treat the cause of a toothache, so it is important to see a dentist if the pain continues. Clove oil should never be taken internally (i.e. put in the mouth) in large doses.
In addition to its antibacterial properties, clove essential oil is also an anti-fungal, making it useful for the treatment of fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
Repelling Insects and Dust Mites
Clove oil can also be used to repel insects in general and mosquitos in particular. To discourage insects from entering the house, put a few drops on cotton balls and place them around the house where needed. Peppermint essential oil can be used the same way.
Clove essential oil can also be used to get rid of dust mites on sheets, mattresses, and upholstered furniture. A 2006 study found that several essential oils, including clove essential oil, are effective against the house dust mite D. pteronyssinus. This species of dust mite, along with one other one, make up about 80 to 90% of the total mite population. Dust mites are a major trigger of allergic reactions and respiratory allergies, especially in humid regions around the globe. Therefore, limiting dust mite populations is critical for many allergy sufferers. While synthetic chemicals are effective against mites, they may also pose threats to human health (source). The 2006 study found that clove essential oil, as well as rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils, are viable natural alternatives to these chemicals.
To rid sheets of dust mites with clove essential oil, wash them in hot water, then rinse in cold water. During the rinse cycle, add 20 to 25 drops of clove essential oil to the water. (You want to add the essential oil to cold water because high heat can damage essential oils). If the smell of the clove oil is too strong for you, you can do a second rinse. For mattresses and upholstered furniture, mix two cups of baking soda with 20 drops of essential oil (you can use just clove oil, or a combination of clove, rosemary, and eucalyptus oils) in a jar. Shake well to blend. Using a fine mesh sifter, sift the mixture over the mattress or furniture. Leave for at least one hour. Thoroughly vacuum all of the baking soda up.
As you can see, clove essential oil has several useful applications, which is why it is a permanent part of our family’s natural first aid and cleaning kits.
Warnings: Clove oil can cause liver and respiratory problems when consumed in large doses. Clove oil should be avoided if you are pregnant or nursing.
How do you use clove essential oil?
Chaieb K., Hajlaoui H., Zmantar T., Kahla-Nakbi AB, Rouabhia M., Mahdouani K., Bakhrouf A.”The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review.” PubMed. June 2007. Web. 19 October 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17380552
“Clove Bud Oil Vs. Clove Oil Uses Compared!” eNatural Healing. 17 December 2012. Web. 30 September 2013.
“DIY: Use These Two Ingredients to Say Goodbye to Dust Mites and Hello to a Cleaner Mattress.” DoTerra Blog. 1 March 2013. Web. 21 October 2014. http://doterrablog.com/diy-use-these-two-ingredients-to-say-goodbye-to-dust-mites-and-hello-to-a-cleaner-mattress/
El-Zemity Saad, Rezk Hussien, Farok Saher, and Zaitoon Ahmed. “Acaricidal activities of some essential oils and their monoterpenoidal constituents against house dust mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus(Acari: Pyroglyphidae).” PubMed. 17 November 2006. Web. 19 October 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1661675/
Hall, Terri. “Toothache Relief: Oil of Cloves.” Care2. 4 February 2010. Web. 30 September 2013.
O’Connor, Anahad. “Remedies: Clove Oil for Tooth Pain.” The New York Times. 17 February 2011. Web. 30 September 2013.
Thomas, John P. “The Healing Properties of Clove Essential Oil.” Health Impact News. 8 September 2014. Web. 19 October 2014.
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