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The Surprising Versatility of Clove Bud Oil

by Annette McDermott

The rich, spicy scent of cloves is often associated with holiday baking and mulled cider but clove bud oil has a wide variety of uses from aromatherapy to relieving toothache symptoms.

Clove bud oil comes from dried clove buds harvested from the Eugenia caryophyllata tree which is native to Madagascar, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

Benefits of Clove Bud Oil

Cloves gets its distinctive scent from its extremely high content of eugenol. Eugenol is also responsible for clove oil's antiseptic, analgesic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. As a result, clove bud oil has many helpful uses:

Relieves Toothache: It turns out Grandma's tried and true home remedy of chewing whole cloves to lessen toothache pain was right on the money. Due to eugenol's analgesic and anti-bacterial effects, dentists sometimes recommend dabbing clove oil directly to an affected tooth.

In addition, EDental Magazine states that dentists use a compound called  IRM (Intermediate Restorative Material) to create temporary fillings. The eugenol in IRM helps relieve pain and may decrease inflammation and limit infection.

Antifungal: According to National Institute's of Health (PubMed) abstract, research shows clove oil to have notable antifungal activity and may be effective in treating certain fungi strains including Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte. What makes this research particularly impressive is that the oil was even effective against Candida strains resistant to fluconazole (a prescription anti-fungal).

Helps Treat Pimples: The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of clove bud oil may help treat pimples. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology concluded that clove oil showed significant antibacterial activity against the primary bacteria that causes acne -- Propionibacterium acnes.

Natural Bug Repellent: Research show many mosquito repellents contain DEET, a controversial and potentially toxic pesticide, leaving many people searching for a natural alternative. Clove oil is believed to help repel those pesky mosquitos. A PubMed abstract concludes that clove oil is the most effective of 38 essential oils against three common mosquito species.

Relieves Anal Fissures: A recent study showed a topical clove oil 1 % cream to be extremely beneficial in reducing anal fissure pressure.

Aromatherapy:  Clove's exotic scent has a calming effect and is perfect for blending with other essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla and ginger.

Clove bud oil makes a wonderful massage oil when combined with nourishing coconut, olive or grapeseed oil. Keep in mind that clove bud oil is extremely strong -- a little bit goes a long way -- so use sparingly. 


Clove bud oil is a wonderful product to add to your essential oil arsenal. The oil is generally considered safe to use but, as with any natural substance, may cause adverse reactions in some people.

Clove oil should not be used by pregnant women or children.  Medline Plus indicates that the undiluted oil can irritate the skin and when taken in large amounts, may cause mouth irritation and damage.  As a result, consult your physician or a certified herbalist prior to using clove bud oil to treat any medical condition.

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