Clove oil is an essential oil extracted from the flower buds of the clove tree. It is popularly used for aromatherapy and reducing pain caused by a toothache. It also has health benefits like strengthening blood vessels, anti-inflammatory, and cure acne. However, in countries where it originated, freshly harvested cloves are more commonly used as a spice.
Brief History on Clove Oil
In most Asian, African and Middle Eastern cuisines ground cloves are usually included to add extra-spicy flavors like marinades and curries. Because of its aromatic qualities and spicy taste that makes you warm inside, it’s also sometimes used in beverages. In Indonesia, it’s even used as cigarettes called kretek.
Archeologists can trace the first use of clove (including essential oil products) between 900 and 1000 CE in Sri Lanka. There were also earlier archeological finds in Syria about 1700 BCE which first thought to be cloves. In ancient records, cloves are traded by Muslim nations in the Middle East to India. The trade of clove spices and essential oil was even mentioned in the travel logs of Ibn Battuta (a Muslim Moroccan scholar) and in the folk stories in the Arabian Nights.
There was even a story in Europe, during the plague of the “Middle Ages”, that a band of robbers despite being openly exposed to the risk of bubonic plague, they weren’t ill and still alive. They said they had covered their entire body with a potion they call thieves oil with a mixture of clove oil.
Where Clove Oil Comes From
The clove tree, with a scientific name of Syzygium Aromaticum, belongs to the family of Myrtaceae plants. The tree can grow up to a height of twenty-six feet, while clove trees found in the wild can grow to a maximum height of about thirty-nine feet. It has large leaves and prominent bright red flowers. The clove tree is native to tropical countries in Asia like India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. And some countries in Africa like Tanzania and Madagascar. In ancient times, the cultivation and exportation of clove were made in Indonesia until the seeds were smuggled in the late 1700s by Pierre Poivre of France.
Cloves are harvested at any time of the year. The flower buds are harvested when it turns crimson red with four petals appears initially opened and a tiny ball-shaped in the center. The cloves contain fifteen to twenty percent essential and a high content of caryophyllene, acetyl eugenol, and eugenol about sixty to ninety percent. The flowers are dried until it turns brown, and then it is steam-distilled to extract the essential oil. The high concentration of eugenol in the clove bud is responsible for its strong, spicy, and warm fragrance.
The cloves leaf and stem can also be produced into essential oils, but clove buds are more preferable because of its strong aromatic feature.
Benefits of Clove Oil
Clove essential oil has many uses and potential health benefits. In some studies, it is believed to be abundant in antioxidants. For medicinal purposes, it is well-known to treat toothache and usually used as home remedies for any type of illnesses because of its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Listed are only a few of its beneficial effects:
The first documentation of clove oil as a potential treatment for dental problem mas made in the early 1600s in France but it is believed that the Chinese were the first people who use clove oil as a dental remedy.
It eases pain from dental problems and maintains healthy gums. It doesn’t only treat toothache but also various dental problems like mouth ulcers and sore gums. Clove oil has high levels of eugenol, which we can find in most toothpaste and mouthwash products. Eugenol is known to fight harmful bacteria’s living in your gums and may be an alternative to fluoride-rich dental products.
In one study conducted by the Health Department of India, they observed that regular use of clove oil for dental hygiene slows decaying of teeth and some results even showed complete elimination of bacteria’s causing tooth decay.
According to a study made by the Journal of Dentistry in 2006, they said that in case of any dental discomforts, the effects of clove oil may have similar effects of numbing as benzocaine. Benzocaine is an ester local anesthesia and usually used as topical pain relievers.
Clove essential oil is also known to treat digestive problems like constipation and bloating. As mentioned, cloves are abundant in eugenol and this compound is also responsible for clearing the digestive tracts. It can also treat motion sickness and hiccups.
There were also studies that suggest that the eugenol compound present in clove oil may decrease the risk of ulcer. They argue that eugenol enhances the protective linings in the stomach preventing the development of disease-causing gastritis and ulcers.
Improves immune system
Clove essential oil contains potent amounts of antioxidant and antibacterial compounds that increase the body’s defense against viruses and harmful free radicals.
Its antibacterial properties were studied in an institution in Brazil, where they observed that the antibacterial property of clove oil has a significant effect against E. coli and staph aureus (the primary cause of acne). They also suggest that it may prevent a virus called Pseudomonas aeruginosa– pneumonia-causing virus.
Its antibacterial property eliminates and prevents acne-causing bacteria’s. These bacteria’s are Staphylococcus aureus and plankton cells, studies have shown that regular use of olive oil prevents these bacteria’s from coming back. They suggest that after you wash your face with soap; gently massage your face with a mixture of two teaspoon of pure honey and three droplets of clove oil. Then after two minutes, wash it away with water. It may also cure warts, shingles, and eliminate scars.
According to a study, clove oil may not only eliminate acne but will also make your skin look radiant. They said that it has compounds that stimulate proper blood flow to the skin, making your skin healthier.
There is no conclusive evidence to support these claims but there are soap manufactures that have included clove oil in their ingredients. And there is no known potential health risks linked to clove oil. But it is advisable to consult a health professional or doctor before you incorporate clove oil in your daily routine.