Clove essential oil comes from the buds of the clove tree, which are also used as a culinary spice. Clove’s spicy aroma has stimulating and warming properties that benefit your brain and your entire body by boosting blood flow. Clove oil is a powerful antimicrobial agent and pain killer that works as a natural medicine for many common ailments. Eugenol, the active compound in clove oil responsible for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory abilities, is even used in dental products and pharmaceutical drugs. Here are 10 benefits clove oil provides as an aromatherapy oil and a natural medicine:
1. Boosts Cognitive Performance and Protects Brain Health
Clove oil lowers stress, improves your mood and enhances cognitive performance. It banishes mental fatigue and brain fog by improving blood flow to the brain. Adequate circulation is vital to both short-term cognitive function and long-term brain health. Clove oil also protects your brain from neurodegenerative diseases caused by chronic oxidative stress and inflammation, like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, by providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support .
Studies show that clove oil aromatherapy even reverses symptoms of cognitive decline in animals with drug-induced amnesia. While this research is preliminary, it suggests that clove oil could potentially benefit people with learning and memory deficits, including Alzheimer’s patients .
2. Acts as a Natural Aphrodisiac
Adding a few drops of clove oil to an essential oil diffuser is a great way to relax and relieve stress. However, its calming but stimulating effects also translate to enhanced libido. By bringing you out of “fight-or-flight” mode and improving circulation, it can increase your interest in sex and reverse sexual dysfunction .
3. Treats Acne
The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties in clove oil make it helpful in treating even the most severe of acne breakouts. In fact, it’s shown in studies to kill the precise bacteria that causes acne . Combine clove oil with witch hazel at a 1:2 ratio to dry out pimples and reduce the appearance of acne lesions. Avoid applying undiluted clove oil, and avoid clove oil altogether on broken skin.
4. Provides Pain Relief
Eugenol, the therapeutic compound in clove oil, is a naturally-occurring local anesthetic. It provides pain relief by reducing inflammation and numbing the area you apply it to. You can use it on sore muscles, aching joints or anywhere else you feel pain. If you have a tension headache, apply a few drops behind your ears and on the back of your neck to boost blood flow and inflammation.
5. Relieves Toothaches
One of the best applications of clove oil’s anesthetic quality is on a toothache. In a study on 73 participants, a clove-derived gel worked as well as benzocaine to relieve pain . By lowering inflammation and increasing blood flow, it also speeds the healing of tooth and gum problems by allowing white blood cells and nutrients to circulate. Clove oil can also relieve gum pain for teething babies. For babies, you want to dilute 3 drops of clove oil in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and use your finger to apply it to the gums.
6. Kills Bacteria and Yeast
Studies show that clove oil has bactericidal and fungicidal properties . It can even kill germs that are resistant to antibiotics. You can use it to treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections by applying the oil directly to the site with a cotton swab.
7. Improves Cold and Flu Symptoms
Clove oil works as a decongestant to help you get rid of mucus. By inhaling it, you’re getting the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which can help improve colds, flus, sinus infections, bronchitis or asthma. If you don’t have an essential oil diffuser, you can add a few drops of clove oil to steaming hot water and breathe in the vapor.
To soothe a sore throat, add a few drops of clove oil to a small cup of water and gargle the mixture. Clove oil will kill germs and lower inflammation to help you get better faster.
8. Kills Candida
Candida is a common yeast part of the human microbiome. When unchecked by good bacteria or fed by excess sugar in your diet, it can become a problem. Signs of Candida overgrowth are chronic fatigue, acid reflux, sugar cravings, mood swings and “brain fog.” Candida overgrowth can also result in vaginal or penile yeast infections, oral thrush and other types of yeast infections. To kill off Candida, drink 3 drops of clove oil diluted in water per day. Due to its strength, do this for no more than 7 days at a time and flush your system with a lot of water.
9. Improves Digestion and Protects Against Gastric Ulcers
Clove oil can stimulate digestion and reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort like indigestion, bloating, gas and hiccups. You may see improvement just by massaging clove oil onto your abdomen. Clove oil also protects the lining of your stomach from ulcer formation. Take 3 drops of clove oil diluted in water at the first sign of an ulcer.
10. Repels Insects
If you’re looking for a natural way to repel bugs, clove oil can help. You can replace toxic bug sprays and bug repellent candles with homemade mixtures that contain clove oil. Not only do these contain better ingredients, but also they smell better. For a simple but effective bug repellent, mix 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil with 6 drops of clove oil and apply it to any exposed areas of skin before you go outside.
Clove oil makes a great addition to your natural medicine cabinet, as its microbicidal properties work on even antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Only use 100 percent pure therapeutic-grade clove oil to reap the benefits of this essential oil. Be careful when using it on your skin, because when it’s not diluted in a carrier oil, clove oil can cause painful irritation. While you can apply it directly to the site of a toothache, you don’t want to use too much in a day, to limit the amount you ingest. As long as it’s used properly, you should see no adverse side effects from clove oil. However, its properties are highly potent, which is why you only need a small amount of diluted oil when using it internally or on your skin.
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2. Clove oil reverses learning and memory deficits in scopolamine-treated mice. Planta Medica. 2011
3. Effect of 50% ethanolic extract of Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & Perry. (clove) on sexual behaviour of normal male rats. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2004
4. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of Syzygium jambos L. (Alston) and isolated compounds on acne vulgaris. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013
5. Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017
6. The effect of clove and benzocaine versus placebo as topical anesthetics. Journal of Dentistry. 2006
7. Microbicide activity of clove essential oil (Eugenia caryophyllata). Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. 2012