Clove stimulates circulation and digestion, warms the body, and disinfects the skin, liver, kidneys, and mucous membranes of the bronchials. In vitro studies show that it is effective against E. coli, strep, staph, and pneumococci.

Internally it is used (as a tea, h. p.) for inflammatory and spastic conditions of the gastrointestinal tract (nausea, flatulence, cramps, diarrhoea, minor peptic ulcers) and upper respiratory tract (bronchitis, laryngitis with hoarseness, the common cold, influenza). Clove may be helpful for primary dysmenorrhea (= painful menstruation without pathology) by taking it 24-48 hours before the menstrual flow, then continuing through 1-2 days of the cycle. Clove is widely used as a flavour ingredient in the food industry.

Externally it is used (as a mouthwash, gargle) for inflammations of the mouth and throat, (as a mouthwash, chewing) for bad breath, (as a cotton swab or pasty mass applied to the tooth, or by chewing the herb) for toothache, and (as a liniment, paint) for fungal skin infections.

Botanical Name

Syzygium aromaticum

Part Used


Common Names

Clavos, German: Gewurznelkenbaum; French: clous di girofe; Italian: chiodo di garofano; ding xiang (Chinese); Lavanga (Sanskrit); Long (Hindi); choko (Japanese); chonghyang (Korean)

Brief History

Traditional Chinese physicians have long used the herb to treat indigestion, diarrhoea, hernia, and ringworm, as well as athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. India’s traditional Ayurvedic healers have used clove since ancient times to treat respiratory and digestive ailments. America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians used clove to treat digestive complaints and added it to bitter herb-medicine preparations to make them more palatable. The Eclectics were also the first to extract clove oil from the herbal buds.


Volatile oil containing eugenol (up to 85%), acetyl eugenol, methyl salicylate, pinene, vanillin

Therapeutic Properties

Aromatic, antioxidant, local anaesthetic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory (by inhibiting biosynthesis of prostaglandins and leukotrienes), astringent, antiulcer (= prevents or helps in healing peptic ulcers), platelet aggregation inhibitory, and possibly liver protective.

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Hot

Moisture: Dry

Therapeutic Indications

altitude sickness, anorexia, appetite loss, candida, colds, colic, cough, depression, diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, erectile dysfunction, flatulence, flu, halitosis, hernia, hiccups, hypotension, indigestion, laryngitis, lupus, malabsorption, parasites, poor circulation, rheumatism, sinusitis, stomach cramps, vomiting, and worms.

Primary Uses

Food poisoning

Clove oil kills some types of bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella (all species), Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae, all of which can be involved in food poisoning. However, it is not known as a food poisoning treatment.


In one study, clove oil–containing ointment was effective in treating headaches. The ointment was rubbed on the forehead at thirty-minute intervals. Compared to a placebo, the participants had less pain at five minutes and at two hours. Another group got the standard treatment of paracetamol (acetaminophen), but the clove group got faster relief.


Clove oil increases the effectiveness of acyclovir (Zovirax), a drug used to treat the viral infections underlying these disorders.

Peptic ulcer

Oil of cloves may reduce the sensation of gas pressure within the stomach that is frequently troubling for people with peptic ulcers. The eugenol in clove oil depresses the transmission of nerve impulses that convey a feeling of bloating and gas, although it does not directly stop the production of gas.

Periodontal disease and toothache

Clove blossoms and clove oil have been used around the world for generations to relieve pain from a toothache and dental treatment. Oil of cloves is combined with zinc oxide to make an analgesic paste that is inserted into the region of an extracted tooth to kill bacteria and reduce pain. Clove oil should be avoided, however, in treating pain due to root canal work, as it may cause inflammation.

Clinical Research

  • Antimicrobial activity
    • Ethanol (95%) or aqueous extracts of Flos Caryophylli inhibited the growth in vitro of Staphylococcus aureus.
    • The juice of the flower bud inhibited the increase in vitro of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (minimal inhibitory concentration [MIC] 1:160).
    • The powdered crude drug inhibited the growth in vitro of Yersinia enterolitica when added to the medium at a concentration of 1–3% (w/w).
    • An aqueous extract of the flower buds inhibited the growth in vitro of Bacillus subtilis. A 50% ethanol extract of the flower buds inhibited the growth of Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium oxysporum, Penicillium digitatum, Rhizopus nigricans, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Candida albicans and Saccharomyces pastorianus at a concentration of 500mg/ml.
    • Eugenol, one of the active constituents of the flower buds, inhibited the growth in vitro of Staphylococcus aureus, Propionibacterium acnes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with an MIC of 0.05, 0.05 and 0.80mg/ml, respectively.
    • In other studies, eugenol had a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity in vitro, inhibiting the growth of Clostridium sporogenes, Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella pullorum, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus faecalis and Comamonas terrigena at various concentrations.
    • Eugenol also had a broad spectrum of antifungal activity in vitro, inhibiting the growth of Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Cladosporium werneckii, Cladosporium cucumerinum, Colletotrichum capsici, Helminthosporium oryzae, Microsporum canis, Penicillium expansum, Phytophthora parasitica, Rhizopus nodosus, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and T. rubum at various concentrations.
  • Antiviral activity
    • An aqueous extract of the flower buds suppressed the replication of herpes simplex virus (HSV) in vitro at a concentration of 50mg/ml.
    • An aqueous extract of the flower buds had antiviral activity against HSV-1 in vitro (IC50 60mg/ml), and in mice (250mg/kg body weight by gastric lavage).
    • A hot Flos Caryophylli aqueous extract of the flower buds suppressed the replication of HSV-1, measles virus and poliovirus-1 in Vero cells in vitro at a concentration of 0.5mg/ml.
    • Intragastric administration of a decoction of the flower buds (750mg/kg body weight) decreased HSV-1 genome titres and the severity of HSV infection in mice with recurring herpetic lesions induced by ultraviolet light.
    • Eugenol at a concentration of 0.1–10mg/ml demonstrated antiviral activity against HSV and adenovirus-6 in vitro.
    • Eugeniin isolated from the flower buds exhibited anti-HSV-1 activity in mice.
  • Anti-inflammatory activity
    • A methanol extract of the flower buds inhibited interleukin-8 production induced by lipopolysaccharide in rat macrophages in vitro at a concentration of 0.1mg/ml.
    • Intragastric administration of eugenol to rats (33 mg/kg body weight) suppressed footpad and knee oedema induced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

Dried Powder: 1,500 – 5,000mg

Tea: 9,000 – 15,000mg

• Liquid Extract: 1.5 – 15mL (1:1 liquid extract)

Buy Cloves Loose Powder or Capsules
Cloves Powder


Clove oil and eugenol should be used in moderate amounts as they irritate the mucous membranes.

Side effects

None known

Interactions with other drugs

None known


  1. Balch, P. A., & Bell, S. J. (2012). Prescription for herbal healing (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Avery.

  2. Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopaedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.

  3. Herbalpedia (2013)
  4. Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.
  5. Skenderi, G. (2003). Herbal vade mecum: 800 herbs, spices, essential oils, lipids, etc., constituents, properties, uses, and caution. Rutherford, N.J.: Herbacy Press.

  6. World Health Organization., & Ebrary. (1999). WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants (pp. electronic text.). Retrieved from

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

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