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Clove (Eugenia aromatica) and Clove Oil(Eugenol)

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Clove (Eugenia aromatica) and Clove Oil(Eugenol)


Clove is widely cultivated in Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania and Brazil. It is used in limited amounts in food products as a fragrant, flavoring agent, and antiseptic.

Clinical trials assessing monotherapy of clove are limited, although the expert panel German Commission E has approved the use of clove as a topical antiseptic and anesthetic. Other uses for clove, such as premature ejaculation, dry socket, and fever reduction lack reliable human clinical evidence.

Clove is sometimes added to tobacco in cigarettes, and clove cigarettes ("kreteks") typically contain 60% tobacco and 40% ground cloves.


2-methoxy-4- (2-propenyl) -phenol, Caryophylli, Caryophylli atheroleum caryophyllum, caryophyllus, Caryophyllus aromaticus , chiodo di garofano (Italian), clavos, Clous de Girolfe (French), clove, Eugenia caryophyllata , Eugenia caryophyllus , Flores Caryophylli , Gewurznelken Nagelein (German), kreteks (clove cigarettes), Myrtaceae (family), oil of clove, oleum caryophylli, pentogen (clove oil), Syzigium aromaricum , tropical myrtle.

Combination products : Dent-Zel-Ite( toothache relief drops, Red Cross Toothache Medication(.


These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Uses based on scientific evidenceGrade*Premature ejaculation
A small amount of human research reports that a combination cream with clove and other herbs may be helpful in the treatment of premature ejaculation. However, well-designed studies of the effectiveness of clove alone are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.


Inflammation after tooth extraction (dry socket)
Preliminary research reports oil of clove combined with zinc oxide paste to be effective for dry socket. The benefits of clove alone need to be studied before a recommendation can be made.


Fever reduction
Animal studies suggest that clove can lower fever, but no reliable human studies are available.


* Key to grades
Strong scientific evidence for this use;
Good scientific evidence for this use;
Unclear scientific evidence for this use;
Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);
Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

Uses based on tradition or theory
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Abdominal pain, antifungal, antihistamine, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, asthma, athlete's foot, bad breath, blood purifier, blood thinner (anti-platelet agent), cancer, cavities, colic, cough, counterirritant, decreased gastric transit time, diabetes, diarrhea, dust mites, expectorant, flavoring for food and cigarettes, gout, hernia, herpes simplex virus, hiccups, high blood pressure, inflammation, gas, larvae or parasites, mouth and throat inflammation, mouthwash, nausea or vomiting, pain, muscle spasm, smooth muscle relaxant (clove oil), tooth or gum pain, vasorelaxant (clove oil).


The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.


Standardization involves measuring the amount of certain chemicals in products to try to make different preparations similar to each other. It is not always known if the chemicals being measured are the "active" ingredients. Some sources recommend that clove oil should not be used in concentrations higher than 0.06%, and that the daily dose of eugenol, a component of clove, should not be higher than 2.5 milligrams for each kilogram of body weight.

Adults (18 years and older)

There is not enough scientific evidence available to recommend a specific dose of clove by mouth, on the skin, or by any other route.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is not enough scientific evidence available to recommend a specific dose of clove by mouth, on the skin, or by any other route.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


Allergic reactions to clove and its component eugenol have been reported, including possible severe reactions (anaphylaxis). Eugenol or clove can cause allergic rashes when applied to skin or inside the mouth. Hives have been reported in clove cigarette smokers. People who are allergic to balsam of Peru may also be allergic to clove. Individuals with known allergy to clove, its component eugenol, or to balsam of Peru should avoid the use of clove by mouth, inhaled from cigarettes, or applied to the skin.

Side Effects and Warnings

Clove is generally regarded as safe for food use in the United States. However, when clove is taken by mouth in large doses, in its undiluted oil form, or used in clove cigarettes, side effects may occur including vomiting, sore throat, seizure, sedation, difficulty breathing, fluid in the lungs, vomiting of blood, blood disorders, kidney failure, and liver damage. People with kidney or liver disorders or who have had seizures should avoid clove. Serious side effects are reported more often in young children. Avoid clove supplements in children and pregnant or nursing women.

Clove or clove oil may cause an increased bleeding risk, based largely on laboratory research. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary. It is not clear what doses or methods of using clove may increase this risk. One case of a severe reaction including bleeding and liver damage called "disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)" is reported in a person taking clove by mouth.

When applied to the skin or inside of the mouth, clove can cause burning, loss of sensation, local tissue damage, dental pulp damage, higher risk of cavities, or sore lips. Undiluted clove oil has a high risk of causing contact dermatitis (rash) and even burns if applied to the skin at full strength. The application of clove combination herbal creams to the penis has been said to cause episodes of difficulty with erection or ejaculation.

Based on an infant case, clove oil taken by mouth may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.

Contamination can occur in clove if improperly stored. Fungi and aflatoxins are amongst the most common contaminants. Ingesting contaminated clove can lead to health problems in humans, as well as in animals.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Not enough information about safety is available to recommend the use of clove supplements in pregnant or breastfeeding women.


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2. Choi HK, Jung GW, Moon KH, et al. Clinical study of SS-cream in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation. Urology 2000;55(2):257-261.

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8. Grover JK, Rathi SS, Vats V. Amelioration of experimental diabetic neuropathy and gastropathy in rats following oral administration of plant (Eugenia jambolana, Mucuna pruriens and Tinospora cordifolia) extracts. Indian J Exp Biol 2002;40(3):273-6.

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14. Pallares DE. Link between clove cigarettes and urticaria? Postgrad Med 1999;106(4):153.

15. Sanchez-Perez J, Garcia-Diez A. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from eugenol, oil of cinnamon and oil of cloves in a physiotherapist. Contact Derm 1999;41(6):346-347.

16. Soetiarto F. The relationship between habitual clove cigarette smoking and a specific pattern of dental decay in male bus drivers in Jakarta, Indonesia. Caries Res 1999;33(3):248-250.

January 01, 2004

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