12 Benefits Of Clove Oil, How To Use, And Side Effects

From relieving toothache to aiding digestion, this rich oil offers many benefits.

Medically reviewed by Staci GulbinStaci Gulbin, RD, LDN
Fact-checked by Himanshi MahajanHimanshi Mahajan, Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach
Edited by Ravi Teja TadimallaRavi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health
Written by Sindhu KogantiSindhu Koganti, Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

Clove oil is better known for its tooth pain-relieving properties. It has a long history in traditional medicine as a spice used in cooking and has a sharp pungent smell. The benefits of clove oil are numerous, and it can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, anesthetic, and antioxidant properties (1), (2). This article has discussed the benefits of clove oil, how to use it, what to consider while buying it, and the potential side effects. Scroll down to read more.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Clove Oil

What Is It?
A colorless or light yellowish essential oil extracted from clove trees.

What Are Its Benefits?
It kills bacteria, relieves toothache, digestive issues, and respiratory conditions, and stimulates hair growth.

Who Can Use It?
All except people who have recently undergone surgery or suffer from ulcers and bleeding disorders.

How Often?
For topical use on the skin, every day. Every 2-3 hours to relieve toothaches.

It may cause skin irritation or life-threatening allergic reactions in some individuals.

12 Uses And Benefits Of Clove Oil

1. May Relieve Toothache

Woman with toothache may benefit from clove oil
Image: Shutterstock

Clove essential oil may help prevent cavities and relieve oral pain. Traditionally, it is used to relieve toothache. It is also used for dental emergencies like mouth or throat inflammation. Clove oil has also been reported to be used in the preparation of certain toothpaste and mouthwashes (3). Eugenol, an aromatic oily liquid extracted from clove oil, is used as a sedative in dental procedures (4). Clove also has anti-plaque and antiseptic properties. It may inhibit the growth of the oral bacteria that may cause dental plaque (5).

Clove essential oil was also found to exhibit anticariogenici  XThe property of food or medicine that inhibits caries formation or prevents tooth decay. and cytotoxic activity against a large number of oral pathogens (6). Eugenol and eugenyl acetate are the two active components in clove essential oil that help prevent decalcificationi  XA technique used to remove minerals or calcium salts from bone or other calcified tissues. or dental erosion (7). Clove oil is most effective against microorganisms that cause dental caries (8).

2. May Help Treat Skin Diseases And Acne

Clove oil is said to act against Propionibacterium acnes, bacteria that cause acne  (9). However, more studies in this line are needed to reach further conclusions.

A study conducted by the Department of Dermatology, Cairo, Egypt found that clove oil was effective in the topical treatment of chronic pruritus (10).

Another study conducted by the Mansoura University Hospital, Egypt, found that topical application of clove oil cream might help in the treatment of chronic anal fissures (11).

3. May Have Analgesic Properties

Clove oil massage was found to effectively reduce back pain in postnatal mothers (12). Clove oil is said to possess analgesic properties that reduce toothache and joint pain by activating the calcium and chloride channels in the lymph nodesi  XKidney-shaped organs or small oval-shaped balls of lymphatic tissue in the body. (13). The eugenol in clove has also been studied for its analgesic effects (14). Clove oil could also relieve pain in mice (15).

Another study conducted by Kuwait University found that clove gel might possess the potential to replace benzocaine as a topical anesthetici  XA drug that is used to induce temporary loss of sensation and prevent pain during surgery or other procedures. (16).

4. May Aid Digestion

Clove oil for better digestion
Image: Shutterstock

Clove oil may help relieve nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness, thanks to its antiirritant and soothing properties (17). The eugenol in clove essential oil has the ability to stimulate the synthesis of mucus, an important gastroprotectivei  XThe ability of certain endogenous factors and drugs to act against gastric mucosal damage. factor (18). However, further research is required to understand its use in the treatment of gastric ulcers.

5. May Boost The Immune System

The eugenol in cloves protects the cell membranes from free radical damage and oxidative stress (19). In one animal study, the oil could also exert a protective role against radiation-induced oxidative stress (20). Clove oil is said to possess antiinflammatory effects. A study showed clove oil having a dose-dependent antiinflammatory effect on Wistar rats (21). Also, the oil was found to have antinociceptivei  XThe body's response to potentially toxic stimuli, like harmful chemicals. and antipyretic effects in mice (22).

6. May Have Antimicrobial Properties

Clove essential oil is a potent source of antimicrobial compounds that especially act against bacterial pathogensi  XAny agent or organism that causes disease in its host. (23). The oil can be effective in stopping the growth of several types of bacteria and also act against respiratory tract pathogens (24). Clove oil was also found to act against the clinical strains of Escherichia coil, a specific bacteria that are highly resistant to several antibiotics (25). A study conducted by the Seafood Microbiology and Technology Section, Spain, found that clove essential oil efficiently killed Staphylococcus aureus biofilms (26).

In addition, clove oil acts against Candida albicans that causes oral thrush, athlete’s foot, and vaginal yeast infections. The eugenol in clove oil could exert an anticandidal effect (27). A study conducted by the Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University found that a combination of acyclovir A study conducted by the Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University found that a combination of acyclovir (an antiviral drug) and clove in mice could treat the herpes simplex viral infection (28). An essential oil blend with clove oil could significantly attenuate the influenza virus. The viruses treated with the oil blend had minimal expression of viral proteins. This means clove oil could have the ability to fight certain viruses that cause infections (29).

7. May Act As An Insect Repellent

Clove oil may act as an insect repellent and prevent vector-borne diseases (caused in humans by a parasite) (30). A study found that the components of clove essential oil could potentially be useful in the production of body lice repellents (31). Clove oil could also show repellent activity against Japanese termites (32).

A study conducted by the Mahidol University, Thailand, found that clove essentialoil could repel Leptotrombidium chiggers, which are a species of larvae. The oil could also be a safer and cheaper alternative to synthetic repellents that may cause side effects (33). Clove essential oil also showed repellency against Leptotrombidium deliense, another species of larvae (34). Also, a formulation containing clove essential oil was found to be effective against the Aedes aegypti mosquito (35).

The eugenol in clove oil could also work as a promising alternative to common insecticides (36). Eugenol, eugenol acetate, and beta-caryophyllene, the bioactive chemicals in clove, were found to have the ability to repel red fire ants (37).

8. May Reduce Stomach Pain

Woman with stomach pain may benefit from clove oil
Image: Shutterstock

The eugenol in clove oil has been proposed to be beneficial for gastrointestinal complaints, such as abdominal pain. It is also used for treating cough, phlegm, and chest congestion (38). Clove may be used to reduce stomach pain. However, limited data is available to support this claim.

9. May Boost Cardiovascular Health

Clove oil may help boost cardiovascular health. Traditionally, it is known to improve blood circulation. A rat study showed that the eugenol in the oil dilated cerebral arteries. This, in humans, may mean a reduced risk of stroke (39). In rats, treatment with eugenol could lower blood pressure levels and even slow down the heart rate (40). In another study, high-fructose-fed rats, when given clove essential oil, showed an improvement in fatty liver. The oil could also regulate cholesterol levels in the rats. The study suggests the possible cardioprotective properties of clove oil (41).

In diabetic rats, clove oil could also show cardioprotective effects. This could be because of the oil’s antioxidant properties (42). Another study concludes that eugenol could be therapeutically useful as an antihypertensive agent (43).

10. May Promote Hair Growth

Eugenol is known to stimulate the hair roots. A formulation containing clove oil was found to condition hair and enhance its growth. It could repair the hair shaft (44). However, more studies in this line are needed to reach further conclusions.

11. May Have Anticancer Properties

Eugenol was identified as one of the agents that could have anticancer properties. It may also prevent the proliferation of cancer cells and can help with cancer cell death (apoptosis) (45).  

In another study, eugenol could suppress the growth of melanoma or skin cancer. Eugenol treatment could reduce tumor size by 40% and also delayed the growth of tumors (46). The National Toxicology Program based on several long term carcinogenicity studies concluded that eugenol was not carcinogenic to rats (47). Similar observations could be expected in humans as well.

In another study, clove extract was found to inhibit tumor growth. It could be a novel treatment for colorectal cancer (48).

However, it is important to practice caution, as eugenol may also have certain prooxidant properties. The compound may cause allergies and other inflammatory reactions (49).

12. May Act As An Aphrodisiac

In studies on male mice, the therapeutic extracts of clove (along with nutmeg) could enhance sexual behavior (50). In another study, 50% ethanolic extract of clove produced a significant and sustained increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats. The extract also caused no adverse effects (51). However, more studies are warranted in this regard.

These are the major benefits of clove oil. The oil also has other important uses, which we will explore in the following section.

Other Uses of Clove Oil

  • Clove oil blended with cinnamon, orange, nutmeg, or vanilla oils can lift one’s spirits. Using this warming blend in a diffuser will soon fill the room and may also relieve stress.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that sniffing the spicy aroma of cloves reduces drowsiness and fatigue, irritability, and headaches. It may stimulate the mind and also increase memory recall.
  • Cloves encourage the loosening of phlegm from the respiratory system. They also promote sweating during fevers, colds, and flu, which can be very healing. Clove oil is often used in remedies for coughs.
  • Like many culinary spices, clove may help relax the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract. A few drops of the oil in water can relieve nausea. Clove tea may help treat diarrhea, gas, bloating, and intestinal spasms.
  • Clove oil stimulates circulation and blood flow to the skin. This may help those with cold extremities.
  • Clove oil is as effective as oil of oregano in treating athlete’s foot, nail fungus, and other skin problems. It can be applied directly to the skin or nails (unless the skin is sensitive or broken, wherein it must be diluted with extra virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil).
  • One drop of clove oil applied to the roof of the mouth may relieve headaches. However, more research is warranted in this regard.
  • Clove oil is long used in aromatherapy to relieve pain. For general pain relief, add 3 drops of clove oil to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Apply it to the pain areas.
  • A band-aid soaked in a few drops of clove oil can help treat warts. Applying the band-aid to warts may help dissolve them if done regularly for a few weeks.

Clove oil is popularly known as a remedy for toothache. Using oil to relieve tooth pain is simple. Check the following section

How To Use Clove Oil To Treat A Toothache?

Dentists use clove oil as an oral anesthetic and also to disinfect root canals. The oil stops the toothache when dropped into the oral cavity. For temporary relief, dip a cotton swab in clove oil and apply it to the affected tooth. Adding a clove or two to a cup of tea can work miracles on a toothache and helps maintain oral health.

Here is how you can use clove oil to relieve your toothache:

  • Dilute a few drops of clove oil in an edible carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oils.
  • Dab a clean cotton ball into the solution, and allow it to soak in it.
  • Avoiding contact with your gums, apply the cotton ball to the sore tooth. It may take a few minutes of application for you to feel the relief.
  • Apply every 2 hours or as necessary.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Alternatively, you may chew a whole clove or gargle with clove-infused warm water to relieve toothache.

You can use clove oil in various other ways to achieve its benefits. In the following section we have discussed its most popular uses.

How To Use Clove Oil?

Clove oil in a diffuser
Image: Shutterstock


Using the clove oil as a spray is an easy way to add the clove scent to your room. Clove oil possesses antimicrobial properties, and you can also use it as a mild disinfectant.

To make a clove spray:

  • Add several drops of clove oil to water. You would need 10 to 15 drops of clove oil per ounce of water to prepare the spray.
  • Add it to a spray bottle. Be sure to shake the bottle well before spraying.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You may add a few drops of cinnamon and nutmeg essential oils to the clove spray to create a DIY pumpkin spice room freshener!


You can also use the oil in a diffuser. While diffusing clove oil, carefully follow the instructions that come with the diffuser. Make sure the room is well-ventilated when you diffuse the clove oil.


You can add clove oil to your regular skin care routine and apply it directly to your skin to achieve different benefits.

Massage oils

Use 15 drops of clove oil per ounce of carrier oil to create a 2.5 percent solution of massage oil. This solution contains medicinal properties and can be used as a massage oil for pain relief.

Creams, scrubs, or lotions

For use on normal skin, you need 1 to 2.5 percent dilution of clove oil. For sensitive skin, you need 0.5 to 1 percent dilution of the oil. This diluted solution has no aroma and can be used in the preparation of several scrubs, lotions, or creams.

How Do You Use Clove Oil For Hair Growth?

There is not enough information in this regard. But anecdotal evidence suggests that clove oil acts as a natural remedy to promote hair growth as it contains a number of vital vitamins and minerals. Massaging diluted clove oil into your scalp may boost blood circulation. This could ensure more nutrients and oxygen are supplied to your scalp and hair follicles. To experience the benefits of clove essential oil for hair growth, you can indulge in a hot oil treatment or apply a DIY hair mask prepared with clove oil.

Though clove oil benefits are many, it may not be suitable for all. The oil may cause side effects in some.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Using Clove Oil?

Clove oil may trigger skin irritation
Image: Shutterstock

Clove oil may cause local irritation, rare allergic reactions, and contact dermatitis in some individuals. More severe effects include tissue injury and acute onset of seizures, coma, and damage to the liver and kidneys (52). Clove essential oil is generally recognized as a safe substance when consumed in concentrations lower than 1500 mg/kg. The World Health Organization (WHO) established that the daily quantity acceptable of clove per day is 2.5 mg for every kg of body weight in humans (53).


High doses of eugenol may harm the liver and kidneys, as per some rat studies. Several instances of severe acute liver and kidney injury have been reported after an accidental overdose of eugenol containing herbal products, largely in infants (54), (55).

May Cause Skin irritation

Excess usage of clove oil can cause skin irritation in some people. Eugenol is an effective substance that is incorporated into many dental care products. Contact dermatitis due to this chemical is not unusual. However, true serious allergic reactions are extremely rare (56).

As a primary irritant and sensitizer, eugenol is known to cause contact urticaria as well as chronic urticaria (rashes with dangerous swelling) (57). If you are concerned about your sensitivity to this essential oil, do a patch test before using it. Apply a small amount of diluted clove oil to the inside of your elbow. If you notice signs of skin irritation, like redness, itching, or swelling, don’t use clove oil topically.

May Cause Allergies

It is very rare to have an allergic reaction due to clove oil. The eugenol in the oil may cause oral irritation and heat sensation on the tongue (58).

Drug Interactions

Medications that slow blood clotting (anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs) interact with clove. Hence, avoid using clove oil if you are taking any anticoagulants. Acetyl eugenol, a component of clove oil (Syzygium aromaticum L.), inhibits platelet aggregation in humans. This could lead to bleeding (59), (60).

Avoid using clove oil if you have had a recent major surgery, peptic ulcers, or bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia.

You can buy clove oil from your nearest health store. But before you make a purchase, you need to keep a few things in mind.

What To Look For When Buying Clove Oil

Look for a purity statement on the label

Try to buy 100 percent clove essential oil and look for other ingredients listed (if any).

Don’t go by the marketing hype

Generally, essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way as drugs. Hence, you should be more cautious of any oil that claims to cure a specific condition.

Make sure the clove oil is in a dark glass bottle

Light has the potential to damage essential oils. Dark glass helps keep the light out. Always ensure your product comes packaged in a dark glass bottle.

If you can, smell it before buying it

Clove essential oil has a unique fragrance. Smell it before buying. If it does not smell natural, avoid purchasing it.

Infographic: Top 6 Benefits Of Clove Oil

Although clove oil is popularly used for relieving toothaches, its benefits are numerous. The oil helps treat nausea, bloating, intestinal spasms, and headaches and can be topically applied to treat fungal infections. It is also used in various culinary dishes for its distinct aroma. The following infographic lists some of the top benefits of this oil. Check it out to know more!

top 6 benefits of clove oil (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Clove oil benefits extend beyond just being a great spice. It is popular as a toothache remedy, and its natural antibacterial and antifungal properties can help treat skin problems like acne. The oil contains many beneficial bioactive components that boost cardiovascular health, promote gut health, and enhance immunity. However, overuse may have unpleasant side effects. The oil may cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and, in severe cases, even liver damage in some individuals. If you experience any adverse effects, limit its use and seek medical advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drink clove oil?

Ingestion of clove oil can be dangerous. Clove oil ingestion may result in coma, fits, and acute liver damage (61).

Can clove oil damage teeth?

Clove oil is generally considered safe for teeth.

How often can I use clove oil on my tooth?

If you are suffering from toothache, you can use it every 3-5 hours for relief. If you have multiple pain points in your mouth after a dental procedure, you can add a few drops of clove oil to coconut oil and swirl it in your mouth.

Does clove oil help you sleep?

The oil contains eugenol that is a mild anesthetic. It may aid in sleeping. Apply a few drops of warm clove oil with some carrier oil on your forehead for better sleep.

Can you apply clove oil directly to the skin?

First, do a patch test after diluting the oil with a carrier oil. If there is no reaction, you can apply clove oil to your skin.

How long does clove oil take to work?

Clove oil may soothe a toothache and relieve pain within minutes. It generally takes 5-10 minutes to work.

Is clove oil good for wrinkles?

Clove oil may help reduce wrinkles. Animal studies found that it can minimize the signs of photoaging (62).

Is clove oil good for anxiety?

Yes. Clove oil can help reduce stress, which is one of the primary reasons behind anxiety (63). You may use clove oil for aromatherapy when you feel you are stressed or anxious.

Is clove oil good for under the eyes?

No. Essential oils are considered skin irritants and the undereye area is extremely sensitive. Using clove oil in that area may cause irritation and a burning sensation.

Is clove oil good for arthritis?

Possibly. Clove oil contains eugenol and animal studies found that it could minimize pain and inflammation caused by arthritis (64).

Key Takeaways

  • Clove essential oil can help prevent cavities and relieve oral pain.
  • It can be used to treat skin conditions, such as acne and inflammation.
  • It can treat several bacterial and viral infections due to its antimicrobial properties.
  • Clove oil aromatherapy can help reduce stress and relieve pain.
  • Excessive use of clove oil can affect your liver and kidney.

Unveil the incredible benefits and versatile uses of clove oil in improving your overall health and well-being. Gain insight into this incredible natural oil by watching this informative video.


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