What Is Clove Essential Oil Made Of?
Clove essential oil is a combination of several individual components that work together to give the oil its individual properties. Alone, these components will not have the same effect as when they are combined in the oil. It is important to know that there are three types of clove oil: bud, leaf and stem. The names relate to what part of the tree is used. For most treatments and uses of clove oil, bud is recommended. All clove oils contain a main ingredient, eugenol, that can be dangerous in higher amounts. Stem clove oil contains up to 95% eugenol and leaf clove oil contains up to 88% eugenol. Bud clove oil though normally has a eugenol content of 70%. Check with your oil provider to see what percentage your clove oil has so that there are less chances for skin irritation.
Clove bud essential oil is mainly composed of eugenol, eugenol acetate, caryophyllene, humelene, vanillin, furfural, pyrocatechol, methyl ketone, methyl salicylate, actleugenol, benzyl benzoate and benzoic acid.. Here is an explanation of the more common components and how they give clove oil its healing and aromatherapy characteristics.
Eugenol is a colorless or pale yellow liquid compound that is present in clove oil. It can also be found in allspice, bay rum, basil, nutmeg, bay leaf and oregano. It can be toxic when taken internally or absorbed through the skin in large amounts. It does posses a wide range of healing properties though.
Eugenol is a common ingredient in mouthwashes, toothpastes, soaps, insect repellents, perfumes and some veterinary medications. Early research shows that eugenol fights bacteria and inhibits the grown of various type of fungi, including Candida albicans, a pathogen that is responsible for most yeast infections that has recently become more resistant to antibiotics. Because of eugenol, clove oil can be used to treat fungal infections of the skin and ears but should be done so under the instruction of a medical professional for more intimate areas of the body.
In studies on rabbits, eugenol was shown to prevent aggregation (abnormal clotting) and therefore protected against cardiovascular disease. In a separate study, rats were poisoned with carbon tetrachloride, a solution that can damage tissues. Half of the rats were them administered eugenol and results showed that these rats were strongly protected from the toxic effect of the carbon tetrachloride when compared to the rats who did not receive eugenol.
Vanillin is an organic compound but can also be synthetically reproduced. The synthetically reproduced vanillin has slowly been replacing natural vanilla extract when flavoring foods and beverages. Clove oil can be used in sweeter foods, like cakes and candies, and vanillin helps give clove its flavor profile. Clove oil is also added to soaps and perfumes because of its aroma, which is influenced by vanillin.
Humulene is a naturally occurring compound found in clove oil and is common in sage, ginseng and ginger. In studies, humulene was shown to produce anti-inflammatory effects in mammals. Clove oil is often used in creams to decrease pain associated with sore muscles and joints. Humulene may be the supporting ingredient in clove oil when it is used in this manner.
A chemical coupling agent, pyrocatechol occurs naturally in clove oil as a colorless crystalline solid. When separated, it is often added to permanent hair dyes, colors and tints. Clove oil can be used to enhance dark hair color because of this ingredient. But because it can alter hair color, clove oil should be used with caution by individuals with lighter hued hair.
Caryophyllene is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene that is found in rosemary, hops and clove oil. It also adds to the spiciness of black pepper. A study conducted by Jurg Gertsch at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology showed caryophyllene to be anti-inflammatory in mice. It also showed to be an antidepressant. Clove oil is often diffused to help with mild depression symptoms and brain fogginess. Clove oil is also used to help battle cravings and withdrawals from addictions and caryophyllene has been shown to help curb the desires of addiction.
Methyl salicylate is an organic ester that is found in high amounts in wintergreen oil. It is found in minimal amounts in clove oil. This compound woks as an analgesic and can help temporarily relieve pain by numbing the area. Cloves are often used in dentistry to help numb areas that will be receiving an injection or to help ease the pain of a toothache. Methyl salicylate is also a common ingredient in over the counter muscle creams that help to cool and soothe after topical application. It may help clove oil alleviate muscle pain and soreness as well.
This component is an organic compound that occurs naturally in a number of blossoms, including cloves. It is used in veterinary hospitals to eliminate ticks, mites and lice. It is also recommended as an at home treatment for human scabies, a contagious skin infestation by mites that causes severe itchiness and a rash. Benzyl benzoate is also present in many asthma and whopping cough drugs as it works to widen the blood vessels and relax muscles that can make breathing difficult. Clove oil is often recommended as a treatment when breathing may be difficult due to a cold or more serious conditions like asthma and bronchitis.
This naturally occurring acid compound that can be sourced naturally or synthesized artificially. It is often found in topical anti-fungal creams and used for incense sticks. Clove oil is great for fighting fungal infections, including athlete’s foot and ringworm, thanks to benzoic acid’s anti-fungal properties.
Cloves can be classified as a super food, as they are full of vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of vitamins A, K, B1, B2, B6, C and minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron and selenium.
100 grams of cloves:
Dietary Fiber: 5.4g
Vitamin A: 0.5%
Vitamin C: 20%
Vitamin K: 12%