Cloves: 4 Major Side Effects + Dosage

Medically Reviewed By Sarah Spann, Adv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Clove is among the most popular spices. It is used for flavoring foods and beverages. It also is an important ingredient in toothpastes, soaps, and cosmetics.

Though cloves have many benefits, they may also have certain side effects. Studies show that eugenol, an important compound in cloves, can cause allergies (1).

There is more research on the possible ill effects of cloves. Keep reading to get a better understanding of them.

What Are The Side Effects Of Cloves?

1. Can Increase Bleeding

Cloves can increase the risk of bleeding by enhancing the effects of blood-thinning medications, like Warfarin (2).

Cloves also interfere with other antiplatelet medications like aspirin, clopidogrel, dipyridamole, heparin, and ticlopidine. This also increases the risk of bleeding (3).

2. Might Lower Blood Sugar Way Too Much

Cloves help lower blood sugar (4). In a study, clove was found to sustain antihyperglycemic activity for a long time.

This is good news, especially for individuals dealing with diabetes.

But there is a possibility that the spice can lower your blood sugar levels way too much, especially if you are on diabetes medications.

There is no data available to determine if cloves can lower blood sugar levels way too much. But

if you are on diabetes medications, please talk to your doctor before taking cloves.

3. Can Cause Allergies

The eugenol in cloves can cause allergies. The compound reacts directly with body proteins and causes contact dermatitis. It can also cause localized irritation (1).

Cloves may also cause respiratory allergies in a few individuals. This was especially true in the case of workers involved in the spice (clove) processing factories, who inhaled the spice dust. Irritation of the upper and lower respiratory tracts and impaired lung functioning were two of the major symptoms (5).

The eugenol in cloves might also irritate the oral cavity. Individuals consuming too much of it can experience sensations of warmth and pain in the mouth (6).

4. Can Be Toxic

Clove (or the oil) toxicity has been documented in some instances. The oil was found to cause coma, fits, and acute liver damage (7). In the study, a 2-year-old boy administered with 5 and 10 ml of clove oil had slipped into a deep coma in 3 hours.

Though more research is being done on the toxicity of clove oil, there is information on essential oils in general – a group clove oil also belongs to. Essential oils, as a group, may cause fits, coma, renal failure, and even hypoglycemia when used in excess (7).

Cloves have powerful properties. But like any other ingredient, they can cause serious effects if consumed in excess. Hence, it is essential to be aware of the acceptable dosage limits of clove.

How Many Cloves Can You Take In A Day?

According to the World Health Organization, the acceptable daily dosage of cloves per day is 2.5 mg per 1 kg of body weight (8). Anything beyond this can cause complications.


Cloves are an integral part of most cuisines. They add flavor to dishes and offer incredible benefits. But they have a dark side. Do not overconsume them. If you have any serious health issue, please consult your doctor before including them in your diet.

Do you use cloves daily? How do you incorporate them into your diet? Do share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment in the box below.


  1. An unexpected positive hypersensitive reaction to eugenol” BMJ Case Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin.” American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  3. Clove oil” ScienceDirect.
  4. Effects of Clove and Fermented Ginger on Blood Glucose, Leptin, Insulin and Insulin Receptor Levels in High Fat Diet Induced Type 2 Diabetic Rabbits.” Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  5. Occupational exposure and respiratory health problems among nutmeg production workers in Grenada, the Caribbean” International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  6. Eugenol and carvacrol induce temporally desensitizing patterns of oral irritation and enhance innocuous warmth and noxious heat sensation on the tongue” Pain, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  7. Near fatal ingestion of oil of cloves” Archives of Disease in Childhood, British Medical Journal.
  8. Clove: a precious spice” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.