Medicinal Uses of Clove Essential Oil

Medicnal Uses of Clove Oil

For two millennia, clove has been used for fragrance and spice, making international interest a couple hundred years after the Chinese first documented use. Particularly because of its eugenol properties, clove essential oil in particular has found much use in alternative wellness remedies.

Clove – The Spice


Safety Note: Importance of Diluting Oils

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Just as its parent plant is evergreen, thriving in every season, clove essential oil is strong and adaptable. Clove's first form is the handpicked flower buds of the Eugenia caryophyllata of the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Each bud is picked by hand, then dried until the pink blossoms have turned brown. From there, the dried cloves are ground and used in cooking or distilled for their essential oil content.

Clove's nutritional profile is impressive, as well. They are a good source of vitamin K, fiber, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Most impressively, two teaspoons of clove boast over 120% of our daily need for manganese, a mineral that is implicated in the prevention of osteoporosis, anemia, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). (1)

Antioxidant Power

More and more, researchers are discovering just how powerful antioxidants are and how important they are for health. The National Institute on Aging developed a way for us to quantify antioxidant capability in the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) system of measurement. Within the ORAC system, cloves come in as one of the highest valued antioxidants, towering over sorghum, the next on the list, by a difference of more than 50,000. (2) This means that clove is a key ingredient for anyone who wants to detox and rid their body of harmful toxins. As a concentrated essential oil, there is simply no comparison. However, some sources claim the following:


Disclaimer: once hosted by the USDA website, a peer-reviewed table of ORAC valued peer-reviewed resources is not available. The above chart is from BioSource Naturals.

A Note about ORAC Values

While the ins and outs of free radicals and antioxidants aren't necessary to commit to memory, it's important to acknowledge the healing power that antioxidants carry and to become familiar with antioxidant levels in foods and substances. The stronger the antioxidant level, the more you want to utilize that food, spice, or essential oil.

To break antioxidants down to a basic level, they are, on a molecular level, able to target and eliminate free radicals, then reverse the damage that has been done. Free radicals are also molecules, but they set in motion a cascade of cellular problems that can lead to cell death and even cancer. The cellular-level repair that antioxidants are able to accomplish is well-studied, with research connecting it to slowed aging and inhibited disease processes.

In short, antioxidants are a wellspring of healing, and clove essential oil is the tap!

3 Common Uses

With all of that antioxidant healing power, you probably already have a feel for the potential that clove essential oil (CEO) carries. With great power comes great responsibility, though, and CEO carries as much potential for damage as it does for healing.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology, demonstrates this balance between effectiveness and caution. After investigating the effects of eugenol – CEO's most prominent property – on the liver, they discovered two sides of one coin. Eugenol in low doses protected the liver, not only against at least one cause of liver disease but also against inflammation and cell death. On the other hand, “a larger dose amplifies the liver injury via oxidant and inflammatory effects.” (3)

This is both good news and a warning, that:

1. CEO is a powerful substance.

2. Powerful substances should be handled carefully, under the guidance of knowledge, wisdom, and common sense.

With this caution in mind, we can explore the benefits of CEO when used safely and appropriately – and there are many benefits!

We've already seen its anti-inflammatory capability, and with inflammatory illness so heavily plaguing our society, you can imagine the implications that has. There are other effects of eugenol that make CEO beneficial for disease prevention and oral health. Let's explore just a few of these properties in light of current research.

1. Antibacterial – Clove essential oil is widely understood to be generally antibacterial, but the University of Buenos Aires took the time to pinpoint bacteria that clove was especially able to target. They found that E. coli was particularly susceptible to CEO, followed by Staph aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. With all of these connected to significant illness, skin infections, and pneumonia, CEO is a valuable tool for disease prevention. (4)

2. Antifungal – Candida is a devastating, pervasive problem in our culture, and one that remains a personal soapbox of mine. Our diets high in sugar and acidification kill beneficial gut microbes and colonize Candida. In mainstream medicine, nystatin is used to manage yeast infections, though it never addresses the root causes and can bring side effects of its own. Published in the journal Oral Microbiology & Immunology, researchers weighed the effects of clove essential oil against nystatin, finding it just as effective, but as a natural substance rather than chemical concoction. (5)

3. Analgesic and Antiseptic – Clove essential oil is a longtime dental remedy, dating back to 1640 in French documentation “Practice of Physic,” and beyond in Chinese tradition. To this day, clove remains a go-to for dental needs.

The Journal of Dentistry published a comparison between CEO in a gel and benzocaine, the topical numbing agent the precedes needles in dentistry. In over seventy participants, no difference was recorded between benzocaine and CEO gel, indicating the same numbing effects. (6)

Aside from pain relief and numbing, CEO's dental benefits extend to slowed decay and remineralization. Underscoring this point, the Indian Department of Public Health Dentistry conducted a controlled study to evaluate clove essential oil, its lead molecules, and fluoride against decay caused by apple juice. CEO emerged as a promising mineralization tool, “significantly” decreasing decalcification, and actually remineralizing teeth. (7)

As a side note, I find it interesting that fluoride is so heavily used and recommended when there are clear, natural alternatives. It's one more reason to immerse ourselves in the ancient wisdom of natural health and remedies!

Recommended Uses

Clove oil works well when blended with other oils. Personally, I enjoy an immunity blend of equal parts cinnamon, clove, eucalyptusrosemary, orange and lemon essential oils. When using clove, be sure to always dilute! It will burn your skin if you don't and should always be used with much caution. With that said, don't be afraid of using it as clove is a highly versatile oil. Here are some easy applications:

  1. Mix together in a glass bowl and enjoy twice daily at the onset of a cold for up to two weeks at a time.
  2. Wash down with pure, filtered water.
  3. Be sure to not use for more than two weeks at a time.
*Immune Boost Blend:
  1. Equal parts CinnamonCloveEucalyptusRosemary, Orange and Lemon Essential Oils 
* This can be enjoyed straight or with a little bit of water to wash it down. Depends on your palate. ?
* It is not recommended to add this mixture to hot tea because this will kill the enzymes in the honey and can alter the composition of the essential oils and vitamin C. If you want to add to your tea, make sure it is cooled down to room temp.

Safety & Contraindications

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions?

 Let me help take out the guesswork and download my FREE roller bottle guide HERE.

Essential Oil Roller Bottle Dilution Guide

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

<< CLICK HERE to Download My FREE EO Roller Bottle Dilution Chart! >>

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.



This post currently has 39 comments.

  1. Deb
    November 26, 2016

    Himalayan salt is full of fluoride and bromine. Using white iodized table salt is a much better idea.

    • Dr. Z
      November 27, 2016

      Hi Deb,

      I’d caution against the advice to consume white table salt because it’s exceptionally unhealthy for people and there are a number of different ways to get iodine to prevent goiter.

      The naturally occurring trace amounts of fluoride in Himalayan hasn’t been shown to be harmful and my buddy Katie the Wellness Mama wrote up a good report about salts here that you may find helpful –>

    • Monica
      May 18, 2017

      Agree. Himalayan salt is also a non renewable source.

  2. s
    November 26, 2016


    You list vitamin k in cloves – I chew on (and eat) cloves at least once a day after food. I also take calcium and other healthy supplements and organic home-made food. I was told that I have osteoporosis. Wouldn’t that vit. K in cloves help my condition. apparently not!

    Any thoughts?


    • Customer Support
      December 9, 2016

      My apologies, but Dr. Z is legally prohibited from giving medical advice over email. He has, however, created a special Facebook group that can help as we have hundreds of members that are actively engaged in sharing testimonies of how they have overcome similar illnesses as yours. You can be part of it by joining his essential oil’s club here –>

  3. Nancy Bishop
    July 31, 2016

    I recently saw an article from TTAC regarding the use of Clove Oil for Breast Cancer. I just passed my one-year cancer free and I want to use clove oil to help ensure no re-occurrence. Is it best to roll it on my feet or take it internally?

  4. Nancy Bishop
    July 30, 2016

    I am a one-year breast cancer survivor and am fighting reassurance completely naturally. I just read about the use of Clove Oil in fighting Breast Cancer. Can you tell me the best way to use it in this case?

  5. Tasha
    June 11, 2016

    Hi Dr. Z! Your recommendation of using 1 drop CEO in 1tsp honey, maple syrup or coconut oil for antioxidant and immune support – is this daily?

    Is there an amount of CEO that we should not exceed because of the Eugenol?

    Thank you!!

    • Dr. Z
      July 9, 2016

      Hi Tasha, it’s never a good idea to use EOs internally daily for extended periods of time. Couple times a week for immune support or twice daily when sick is what I do. 🙂

  6. Na'ama
    April 15, 2016

    Hello there 🙂
    Thank you for this website and all the information you’re sharing. One of them little did I know helped me greatly.
    I saw you first online in an interview on the Wellness-summit which was a lot of fun. I knew and used just a little of EOs but in the interview with you I revived my interest and learned so much. One of the 3 top oils you were asked to name as you most essential was clove and you also mentioned the use of it for you.
    Well, about a week before I saw the interview I started to notice a great discomfort in one of my teeth, I went to see the dentist which then said I have an infection in the gams where that problematic tooth is, assessing that it needs to be extracted. I needed some time to make a decision, I decided to buy the clove oil and help my gams heal before I went into the procedure, together with peppermint oil and few herb that I took as well in 10 days the infection was gone! That meant that it was less traumatic for the area but also I saved myself from the need of antibiotics.
    So, thank you xoxo

    • Dr. Z
      April 16, 2016

      Wow, praise God! Thank you so much for sharing!!

      • Na'ama
        April 18, 2016

        Is it important for essential oils to be organic?

        • Dr. Z
          April 18, 2016

          Yes, it is! But, like food, even “organic” isn’t a guarantee for purity. Here’s is a good article about this –>

          • Na'ama
            April 19, 2016

            That’s interesting….. It sure does make things even more complicated LOL
            Could you say that if its not organic it’s ineffective?

            I’m looking to possibly buy the 10 essentials oils you recommend on the website but it also needs to be affordable for me.

          • Dr. Z
            April 20, 2016

            Hi Na’ama,

            Organic oils are best, for sure, but even then reports claim that trace chemicals are still present.

    • Tamara K
      November 26, 2016

      Na”ama, what herbs did you take and how did you use the peppermint & clove oil?

  7. Dalia
    April 9, 2016

    I am finish with radiation treatment what oil you recomended for my burn skin. at this moment I am peeling off

    • Dr. Z
      April 11, 2016

      Hi Dalia,

      Many people respond well to a variety of blends including frankincense, lavender, tea tree and myrrh diluted in coconut oil.

      Praying for complete healing!!

  8. Tiana
    April 7, 2016

    How much is safe to give to children? How much is safe for everyone considering the possibility of liver problems you stated?

    • Dr. Z
      April 8, 2016

      Hi Tiana, unfortunately there is no “standard” dose. I put a drop in a teaspoon of honey & coconut oil for my kids and they do just fine.

      • Tiana
        April 21, 2016

        Thank you very much! I’ve really enjoyed your website, seeing many of your interviews online, etc! Keep up the great work!

        • Dr. Z
          April 27, 2016

          Thanks Tiana! Many Blessings to you and yours!

  9. Kate
    April 6, 2016

    We were hoping to use clove for a teething 5 month old. After the dr told us not to use Orajel because it would numb her gag reflex if swallowed I’m hesitant to use such a strong herb on her gums. Any feedback on cloves for teething or any other oils?

    • Dr. Z
      April 8, 2016

      We’ve used clove and chamomile for our children with no problem at all. We put a drop on our finger and rub our finger over baby’s gums.

  10. Toni Bennett
    February 24, 2016

    Great information on your website, thank you! What is the best way to take the CEO when treating candida? I’ve read great things about oregano helping with candida also. Should I try mixing the two?

    • Dr. Z
      February 27, 2016

      Hi Toni,

      Personally, I like a drop of clove in a spoonful of raw honey and/or coconut oil. Taking 1-2 drops in a capsule can also help considerably.

  11. George Papageorgiou
    January 26, 2016

    How should I choose oil brands that are suitable for internal use?

    • Dr. Z
      January 26, 2016

      Hello George,

      To ensure that I continue to provide unbiased, evidence-based material I must remain “brand neutral,” and I cannot recommend specific companies to purchase products from. I trust that you understand.

      With that said, there are several quality, therapeutic grade brands out there. Here’s what I do:

      1) Ask the company that you’re interested in for a report of their sourcing and quality standards. (indigenously sourced, sustainable, organic, non-gmo, etc..)
      2) Check online for some positive and negative reports – be careful to not let MLM propaganda get in the way of truth. (EVERYONE’s brand is the best, right? Especially, when they’re selling something). 😉
      3) Contact the company and see if their grade is safe for internal use.
      4) Try a couple, and test for yourself.
      5) Lemon, lavender and peppermint are common and relatively inexpensive and you should get a good gauge to see if this brand is for you or not.

      Remember, many of these companies get their oils from the same supplier. They just private label them. There are very few suppliers of frankincense, for example.

  12. Carol
    November 3, 2015

    I’m wondering about putting CEO in coconut oil for oil pulling. Any recommendations on this?

  13. Ashley
    November 2, 2015

    Is clove essential oil safe when breastfeeding ? What other oils are high In eugenol ?

    • Dr. Z
      November 3, 2015

      Hi Ashley,

      I haven’t seen anything in the literature claiming there are contraindications that should prevent you from using clove. My wife has used clove oil during all three pregnancies and through nursing the last 7 years with great results!

  14. Theckla
    September 27, 2015

    Good information. I’m always looking for more on essential oils. Thank you.

  15. Marie Poole
    September 26, 2015

    How long are EO good for?

    • Dr. Z
      September 27, 2015

      Hi Marie,

      That’s a good question. Truth is no one really knows – it’s never really been test to give a definitive answer. My wife has used oils after years of first opening a bottle. However, were they as chemically viable and effective? I can’t say for sure, but they smelled great! 😉


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