The health benefits of clove oil can be attributed to its long list of properties. It’s antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antiviral. In more recent years, science has begun to explore the uses of the oil in controlled studies with promising results that support many of the medicinal uses involving clove oil by people for centuries. The studies also help to introduce new ways that the oil can be used, both in daily life and in more serious conditions, paving the way for a bright future for clove oil.
Many characteristics of cloves make them a candidate to be used as a cancer treatment. Researchers from the UAE University tested clove extract on four cancer cell lines, including T-cell lymphoma, cervical carcinoma, human neurolblastoma and human leukemia. On all four lines, the clove extract caused apoptosis, or the self-destruction of cancer cells, in various degrees. Scientists have begun to see a pattern between spices and anti-carcinogenic properties, including clove oil. As research continues, clove oil could be the next treatment for certain types of cancer.
A study was conducted that involved both clove oil and clove oil extract that focused on the solutions’ effects on food spoiling bacteria. They were tested against ten bacteria and seven fungi. Overall, the clove oil performed better than the extract and inhibited both the bacteria and fungi from further development. It was found to be especially effective against Staphylococcus epidermis and Staphylococcus sp. The fungi Aspergillus niger was found to be highly sensitive to the clove oil. In conclusion, clove oil may have the potential to be an incredibly effective food bio-preservative.
Clove oil contains manganese, which has been shown to stabilize the nervous system which in turn alleviates depression, irritability and anxiety. A French study that involved 265 patients with generalized anxiety disorder found that after the participants were put on a magnesium regimen, a significant number of them reported extreme improvement. A similar study found comparable results when magnesium was given to patients suffering from depression. Depression and anxiety usually go hand in hand and the hypothesis behind these results focuses on the fact that the main reason for experiencing anxiety and depression is linked to an already existing magnesium deficiency. Therefore, if magnesium levels are not deficient and anxiety or depression is present, a magnesium regimen is less likely to help.
Candida albicans is an opportunistic form of yeast that is the cause of many uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from joint pain to fatigue and also weight gain and digestive issues The yeast is a necessary microorganism that lives in the mouth and intestines of humans but can exceed healthy numbers. When this happens it weakens the intestinal wall, penetrates the bloodstream and releases toxic byproducts throughout the entire body. Many doctors claim that Candidiasis is a leading cause for many undiagnosed medical symptoms, as the main cause of an increase in this yeast is from the over-consumption of sugar and carbohydrates, common in the Western diet.
A 2009 study focused on clove essential oil and its anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans. Results showed that in a germ tube formation, clove oil nearly completely inhibited the growth of Candida albicans and is therefore deserving of further investigation to see if it is a viable treatment for the overgrowth of the yeast.
Clove oil may be able to help increase sexual performance in males. A study was conducted on male albino rats where they were given an oral dose of clove extract once a day for a week. The study concluded that the clove extract produced a significant increase in the sexual activity of the rats without any obvious side effects. Therefore, clove oil may be able to help with sexual disorders, including low libido and premature ejaculation.
A 2006 study that was published in the Journal of Dentistry found that clove oil works just as well as benzocaine for relieving toothaches and chronic tooth pain. The study focused on 73 adult volunteers. Some were prescribed benzocain, others were prescribed clove oil and the rest were given a placebo. Researchers concluded that the clove oil effectively numbed oral tissue without the worry of harmful side effects.
Chiggers are the larvae of mites and can leave red, itchy bumps on your skin. Clove essential oil was used in a simple in vitro test and was so effective that the researchers reported that clove oil may be safer than commercially available synthetic chemicals, like DEET, without the risk of harmful side effects, while being just as effective. Another study at Mahidol University in Thailand focused on clove oil and mosquitoes. When the undiluted oil was applied to a researcher’s arm, he was completely protected from mosquito bites for nearly four hours.
Scientific studies have found conflicting results when using clove oil in the following circumstances. A large amount of clove users have still benefited from the oil though when using it for these conditions.
- Warts: Clove oil may be a natural treatment for wart removal but further investigation is needed.
- Lupus: When taken in a veggie capsule, clove oil may be able to help with the symptoms of Lupus but scientific evidence is currently lacking.
- Hypothyroidism: Many use clove oil for hypothyroidism by diluting it and placing it directly over the thyroid once a day. Though there are many successful documentations, scientific data is inconclusive.
Clove oil is likely unsafe if taken by mouth by children. It can cause life threatening side effects such as seizures, liver damage and fluid imbalances. Clove oil may be used on children topically but only if it is severely diluted with a carrier oil.
Clove oil should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is recommended as a treatment for morning sickness and may be used if approved by a doctor.
Clove oil’s main ingredient, eugenol, may slow blood clotting. For this reason, clove oil should be avoided in anyone with a bleeding disorder. For this same reason, the oil should be avoided for two weeks prior to any scheduled surgery. It should also be avoided with certain medications that slow down blood clotting, including aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, heparin and warfarin.