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Clove


What is it?

Clove is an herb. People use the oils, dried flower buds, leaves, and stems to make medicine.

Clove is used for upset stomach and as an expectorant. Expectorants make it easier to cough up phlegm. Clove oil is used for diarrhea, hernia, and bad breath. Clove and clove oil are used for intestinal gas, nausea, and vomiting.

Clove is applied directly to the gums (used topically) for toothache, for pain control during dental work, and for a complication of tooth extraction called “dry socket.” It is also applied to the skin as a counterirritant for pain and for mouth and throat inflammation. In combination with other ingredients, clove is also applied to the skin as part of a multi-ingredient product used to keep men from reaching orgasm too early (premature ejaculation).

In foods and beverages, clove is used as a flavoring.

In manufacturing, clove is used in toothpaste, soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and cigarettes. Clove cigarettes, also called kreteks, generally contain 60% to 80% tobacco and 20% to 40% ground clove. Eugenol, one of the chemicals in clove, acts like menthol to reduce the harshness of tobacco smoke.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for CLOVE are as follows:

Possibly effective for...

  • Premature ejaculation. Research shows that applying a cream containing clove flower plus Panax ginseng root, Angelica root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, Torlidis seed, Asiasari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom (SS Cream) to the skin of the penis improves premature ejaculation.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Anal fissures. Early research suggests that applying a clove oil cream to anal fissures for 6 weeks improves healing compared to using stool softeners and applying lignocaine cream.
  • Dental plaque. Early research suggests that using a specific toothpaste (Sudantha, Link Natural Products Ltd.) containing a combination of clove, Acacia chundra Willd., malabar nut, bullet wood tree, black pepper, Indian beech, gall oak, Terminalia, and ginger twice daily for 12 weeks can reduce dental plaque, bleeding, and amount of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Mosquito repellent. Early research suggests that applying clove oil or clove oil gel to the skin can repel mosquitos for up to 5 hours.
  • Pain. Early research suggests that applying a gel containing ground cloves for 5 minutes before being stuck with a needle can reduce needle stick pain similarly to benzocaine.
  • Toothache. Clove oil and eugenol, one of the chemicals it contains, have long been used topically for toothache, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reclassified eugenol, downgrading its effectiveness rating. The FDA now believes there is not enough evidence to rate eugenol as effective for toothache pain.
  • "Dry socket” following tooth extraction.
  • Vomiting.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Nausea.
  • Gas (flatulence).
  • Diarrhea.
  • Hernia.
  • Pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat.
  • Cough.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of clove for these uses.

How does it work?

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Clove oil contains a chemical that may decrease pain.

Are there safety concerns?

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Clove seems LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in food amounts. Not enough is known about the safety of taking clove by mouth in larger medicinal amounts.

Clove oil or cream containing clove flower is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin. However, frequent and repeated application of clove oil in the mouth or on the gums can sometimes cause damage to the gums, tooth pulp, skin, and mucous membranes.

Inhaling smoke from clove cigarettes or injecting clove oil into the veins is LIKELY UNSAFE and can cause side effects such as breathing problems and lung infections.

Dried clove can also cause mouth sensitivity and irritation, as well as damage to dental tissues.

Special precautions & warnings:

Children: In children, clove oil is LIKELY UNSAFE to take by mouth. It can cause severe side effects such as seizures, liver damage, and fluid imbalances.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Clove is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in food amounts. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking clove in medicinal doses if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Clove oil contains a chemical called eugenol that seems to slow blood clotting. There is a concern that taking clove oil might cause bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Surgery: Clove oil contains a chemical called eugenol that seems to slow blood clotting. There is a concern that it might cause bleeding during or after surgery. Stop using clove at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

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Minor

Be watchful with this combination.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Clove might slow blood clotting. Taking clove oil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Clove contains eugenol. Eugenol is the part of clove that might slow blood clotting. Eugenol is very fragrant and gives allspice and clove their distinctive smell.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

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Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Clove might slow blood clotting. Using it along with other herbs or supplements that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Some of these herbs include angelica, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, red clover, turmeric, willow, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

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There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

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The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
  • In men, to keep from reaching orgasm too early (premature ejaculation): A multi-ingredient cream preparation containing clove flower plus Panax ginseng root, Angelica root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, Torlidis seed, Asiasari root, Cinnamon bark, and Toad venom (SS Cream) applied to the glans penis one hour before intercourse and washed off immediately before intercourse.

Other names

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Bourgeon Floral de Clou de Girofle, Bouton Floral de Clou de Girofle, Caryophylli Flos, Caryophyllum, Caryophyllus aromaticus, Clavo de Olor, Clous de Girolfe, Clove Flower, Clove Flowerbud, Clove Leaf, Clove Oil, Clove Stem, Cloves, Cloves Bud, Ding Xiang, Eugenia aromatica, Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia caryophyllus, Feuille de Clou de Girofle, Fleur de Clou de Girofle, Flores Caryophylli, Flores Caryophyllum, Gewurznelken Nagelein, Girofle, Giroflier, Huile de Clou de Girofle, Kreteks, Lavang, Lavanga, Oil of Clove, Syzygium aromaticum, Tige de Clou de Girofle.

Methodology

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To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.methodology (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/methodology.html).

References

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To see all references for the Clove page, please go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/251.html.

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  2. Hartnoll, G., Moore, D., and Douek, D. Near fatal ingestion of oil of cloves. Arch.Dis Child 1993;69:392-393. View abstract.
  3. Saeed, S. A. and Gilani, A. H. Antithrombotic activity of clove oil. J Pak Med Assoc 1994;44:112-115. View abstract.
  4. Guidotti, T. L., Laing, L., and Prakash, U. B. Clove cigarettes. The basis for concern regarding health effects. West J Med 1989;151:220-228. View abstract.
  5. Jayashankar, S., Panagoda, G. J., Amaratunga, E. A., Perera, K., and Rajapakse, P. S. A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study on the effects of a herbal toothpaste on gingival bleeding, oral hygiene and microbial variables. Ceylon Med.J 2011;56:5-9. View abstract.
  6. Srivastava, K. C. and Malhotra, N. Acetyl eugenol, a component of oil of cloves (Syzygium aromaticum L.) inhibits aggregation and alters arachidonic acid metabolism in human blood platelets. Prostaglandins Leukot.Essent.Fatty Acids 1991;42:73-81. View abstract.
  7. Elwakeel, H. A., Moneim, H. A., Farid, M., and Gohar, A. A. Clove oil cream: a new effective treatment for chronic anal fissure. Colorectal Dis. 2007;9:549-552. View abstract.
  8. Lane, B. W., Ellenhorn, M. J., Hulbert, T. V., and McCarron, M. Clove oil ingestion in an infant. Hum.Exp Toxicol. 1991;10:291-294. View abstract.
  9. Alqareer, A., Alyahya, A., and Andersson, L. The effect of clove and benzocaine versus placebo as topical anesthetics. J Dent 2006;34:747-750. View abstract.
  10. Trongtokit, Y., Rongsriyam, Y., Komalamisra, N., and Apiwathnasorn, C. Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites. Phytother Res 2005;19:303-309. View abstract.
  1. Janes, S. E., Price, C. S., and Thomas, D. Essential oil poisoning: N-acetylcysteine for eugenol-induced hepatic failure and analysis of a national database. Eur.J Pediatr 2005;164:520-522. View abstract.
  2. Trongtokit, Y., Rongsriyam, Y., Komalamisra, N., Krisadaphong, P., and Apiwathnasorn, C. Laboratory and field trial of developing medicinal local Thai plant products against four species of mosquito vectors. Southeast Asian J Trop.Med Public Health 2004;35:325-333. View abstract.
  3. Eisen, J. S., Koren, G., Juurlink, D. N., and Ng, V. L. N-acetylcysteine for the treatment of clove oil-induced fulminant hepatic failure. J Toxicol.Clin Toxicol. 2004;42:89-92. View abstract.
  4. Brown, S. A., Biggerstaff, J., and Savidge, G. F. Disseminated intravascular coagulation and hepatocellular necrosis due to clove oil. Blood Coagul.Fibrinolysis 1992;3:665-668. View abstract.
  5. Kirsch CM, Yenokida GG, Jensen WA, et al. Non-cardiogenic pulmonary oedema due to the intravenous administration of clove oil. Thorax 1990;45:235-6. View abstract.
  6. Prasad RC, Herzog B, Boone B, et al. An extract of Syzygium aromaticum represses genes encoding hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes. J Ethnopharmacol 2005;96:295-301. View abstract.
  7. Malson JL, Lee EM, Murty R, et al. Clove cigarette smoking: biochemical, physiological, and subjective effects. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2003;74:739-45. View abstract.
  8. Chen SJ, Wang MH, Chen IJ. Antiplatelet and calcium inhibitory properties of eugenol and sodium eugenol acetate. Gen Pharmacol 1996;27:629-33. View abstract.
  9. Kanerva L, Estlander T, Jolanki R. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from spices. Contact Dermatitis 1996;35:157-62. View abstract.
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  12. Choi HK, Jung GW, Moon KH, et al. Clinical study of SS-Cream in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation. Urology 2000;55:257-61. View abstract.
  13. Zheng GQ, Kenney PM, Lam LK. Sesquiterpenes from clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) as potential anticarcinogenic agents. J Nat Prod 1992;55:999-1003. View abstract.
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Last reviewed - 11/05/2014




Page last updated: 10 December 2014