Clove, also known by the scientific name Syzygium aromaticum is grown primarily in Indonesia, Madagascar, India, Pakistan, Zanzibar and Sri Lanka. It is the dried flower buds grown on trees belonging to the Myrtaceae family. Clove buds are harvested when the colour turns bright red. Clove essential oil is extracted from clove buds . Realizing the health benefits of clove essential oil, Indians and Chinese extensively used the oil for its medicinal properties.
Unique Properties of Clove Oil
Clove is rich in minerals like calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorous and potassium along with Vitamin A and Vitamin C . Also clove is rich in Vitamin K and Magnesium. Clove oil's health benefits are due to its antifungal, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiseptic and aphrodisiac properties. Clove oil contains eugenio a compound which has medicinal properties. Chemical analysis done on clove oil has revealed that it contains 36 important ingredients. The most important ingredient contained in clove is essential oil eugenol. Other constituents are crategolic acid, kaempferol, beta-caryophyllene and vanillin, gallotannic acid, eugenin, rhamnetin, methyl salicylate, and oleanolic acid, eugenitin, stigmasterol and campesterol. Because of the extensive medicinal properties, clove oil is used to treat many diseases.
Health benefits of Clove Essential oil
Clove has a sweet and aromatic flavour with an oily compound which is responsible for its medicinal and nutritional qualities. Almost all major ailments can be treated in one way or the other with the help of this oil. Major health benefits of clove essential oil are summarised here.
Benefits for increasing Immunity : Antiviral properties of clove oil have the ability to purify blood, which further increases body’s resistance to diseases thus giving a boost to Immune System .
Benefits against Tumours : Studies have shown that clove oil helps in preventing lung cancer, delays and reduces the onset of skin cancer and helps against the cancer of the intestines. Studies have shown that sesquiterpene and eugenol compounds present in clove oil act as anti-tumour agents.
Benefits against fungal attacks : Clove essential oil contains eugenol a chemical compound which is found to be very effective as a natural anti fungal against the M. canis dermatophytes (tinia or ringworm) and T. Mentagrophytes. Tests have also shown that clove essential oil is effective against Candida albicans. This antifungal property is less toxic, safe without any side effects and a cheap alternative to commercially available medicines.
Benefits as an Anaesthetic : Owing to the anesthetic, anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties of clove oil, it is used extensively in dental care as a local anesthetic and as a mixture for filling dental cavities. It is also imparts immediate relief from toothache and is quick in healing gum sores. Clove oil tends to numb the place for short interval when placed on the area of dental cavity or toothache . It can also be mixed with mouthwash in low concentration to relieve toothache.
Benefits against Diabetes : Use of clove oil is reported to increase insulin activity by as much as three times. Therefore, it is highly useful for people suffering from diabetes. It is especially useful for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes .
Benefits as an Aphrodisiac : Clove essential oil has also proved to be a good aphrodisiac . Studies have shown that the sexual behavior of male mice increased due to use of clove without any adverse effect. This may be the reason for its traditional use as an aphrodisiac.
Benefits for digestion : Many digestive problems can effectively be cured by clove oil. It is known to be very effective in curing indigestion, flatulence, loose stools and nausea. It is also useful in relieving the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea and gastric irritation .
Beneficial in Massage Oils : Clove essential oil when used in a dilution of 1% or less, blended with massage oil helps fight diarrhea, arthritis, colds, chills, muscular numbness, rheumatism, spasms, and bronchitis. Clove oil can also be massaged on the outer jaw to relieve toothache . Massaging clove oil mixed with mustard oil relieves joint pains and helps increase blood circulation in the body.
Benefits in Treating Coughs : Among other health benefits of clove essential oil it is also found to be very effective in treating spasmodic coughs which occurs during tuberculosis, bronchitis and asthma. It can be treated by taking a mixture of few drops of clove oil and garlic in honey.
Other Health Benefits of Clove Oil
Clove oil is very effective in relieving toothache, ulcer and sore gum because of its germicidal properties. Gargling with a solution of clove oil gets rid of bad breath . Because of its aphrodisiac characteristics clove oil is used as a stress reliever by stimulating the mind and thereby removes exhaustion, weakness, anxiety, insomnia and mental fatigue. It has the capacity to clear blocked nasal passages. Sinusitis can be treated with clove oil. The oil helps to avoid poisoning from pollutants like tetra-chloromethane. Further, it increases blood circulation in the body. Ear pain can be treated by putting 2-3 drops of warm mixture of clove oil and sesame oil. It proves to be effective in treating burns, wounds, abrasions, athletic foot and fungal infections. Eugenol component of clove oil acts as an antipyretic which helps reduce fever. Applying a mixture of clove oil mixed with jojoba oil or coconut oil over acne removes acne as well as leftover spots. The oil is also known to control cholera.
In addition, essential oil of clove diluted in water acts as a natural mosquito repellent which can give protection against mosquitoes for 4-5 hours. The solution also repels other insects .
Precautions to be Taken While Using Clove oil
Even though health benefits of clove essential oil are too many, indiscriminate use of the oil may lead to complications. Clove oil along with cinnamon oil are one of the most popular essential oils with high risk of skin irritation. It is better to know what the adverse reactions of clove oil are. If the person is hypersensitive to clove oil, application of the oil on the skin or inside the mouth can result in a bout of rashes. There may be allergic reactions to clove oil and its compound eugenol. If undiluted clove oil is applied excessively on or near the teeth, some people may experience irritation which ultimately can result in damage to gums or dental pulp. Patients who take blood thinners should avoid using clove oil as it can result in bleeding. In rare instances extensive usage of clove oil can cause seizure, sleepiness, abnormal heart beat rate and breathing difficulties.
There are too many health benefits of clove essential oil, many of which are medically proved. Generally everyone uses the oil as a household remedy for minor ailments. But its extensive use is found in dental health care because of its anesthetic properties.