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Eugenia caryophyllata

Eugenia caryophyllata

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Clove, lavanga, carophyllus, clovos, mother cloves, tropical myrtle, eugenia aromatica.

Original Habitat

The clove plant is a small evergreen tree that rarely grows over 15 metres high. Its origin is thought to be Indonesia, but it is presently found throughout Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. The petals of the red flowers produced drop as soon as the flower opens. The bud has a strong aroma that is characteristic of its reputation.[1]

Plant Part Used

Flower buds


Clove oil is use extensively in the food, beverage, cosmetic and perfume industries. It is found in dental hygiene products and in oral analgesics. In aromatherapy it is used as single oil and in formulations.


The moderately thin oil is steam distilled from the flower buds and sometimes stems. It is a dark yellow-brown and turns a darker brown as it ages. It has the distinctive clove aroma with a base note.

Chemical Constituents

Sesquiterpenes: Beta caryophyllene (5%)
Terpenic esters: Eugenyl acetate (22%)
Terpenic phenols: Eugenol (70-80%)
Terpenic oxides (traces) [2][3]

Medicinal Uses

Antibacterial with a wide range of uses ++++
Antiviral +++
Fungicidal, paraciticidal ++
General stimulant, nerve tonic, uterine tonic +++
Cutaneous purifier +++ [2][4]

Antifungal- The main constituent of E. caryophyllus, eugenol, has strong antifungal effects against Candida albicans, the most causative fungus in candidiasis.[5] Additional research demonstrated that the oil had positive results against other strains of Candida as well.[6] The oil also demonstrated strong antifungal action on fungal strains isolated from onychomycosis.[7]

CytotoxicEugenol isolated from Clove oil was shown to induce apoptosis in human promyeloctic leukemia cells.[8]

Anti Herpes simplex– E. caryophyllus oil and eugenol as extracted from the oil were tested against multiple isolates of HSV. The total virus yield was reduced and some could not replicate when the eugenol was added to the challenge.[9]

Antioxidant - Pre-clinical and laboratory analysis have supported the antioxidant properties of Clove oil. [2][6]

AntibacterialNumerous studies have examined the antibacterial properties of Clove oil against a variety of pathogens.[10][11][12][13] Its use as an antibacterial agent is universally accepted.

Anticonvulsant- Clove essential oil was evaluated in seizure-induced mice. The essential oil showed anticonvulsant activity in maximal electroshock-induced seizure, however not in pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure.[14]

Traditional Use

Buccal and dental infections: abscess, tonsillitis, and odontalgia +++
Sinusitis, bronchitis, influenza, tuberculosis ++
Cystitis, salpingitis, metritis +++
Viral neuritis, zona shingles, multiple sclerosis ++
Cutaneous parasitosis, scabies, infected acne ++
Viral hepatitis and enterocolitis  +++
Amebic dysentery, spasmodic and bacterial enterocolitis +++
Cholera, malaria, "bourbouille" (miliary sudamina) ++
Severe physical and mental asthenia +++
Difficult childbirth ++[15]

Clinical research is limited on the medicinal uses of E. caryophyllus oil though there is an ancient history of use for multiple applications specifically those listed above.

Other usesSmall studies have evaluated E. caryophyllus essential oil has been used as a topically as an analgesic in toothache alone and when combined with a gel.[16] It has also been used to treat anal fissures [17] and as an insect repellent.[4]

Contraindications and Precautions

When used in its pure form and on large areas of the skin, this essential oil is strongly dermocaustic.

It may be assumed that the eugenol content may indicate that the essential oil of E. Caryophyllus is hepatotoxic.[18]

 Due to the eugenol content, Clove oil should not be used by those taking anticoagulant drugs.[18]



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


  1. Iwu M. Handbook of African Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 1993.
  2. Chaieb K. The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review. Phytother Res. Jun2007;21(6):501-506.
  3. Jirovetz L. Chemical composition and antioxidant properties of clover leaf essential oil. J Agric Food Chem. 23 Aug2006;54(17):6303-6307.
  4. Fichi G, Flamini G, Giovanelli F, Otranto D, Perrucci S. Efficacy of an essential oil of Eugenia caryophyllata against Psoroptes cuniculi. Exp Parasitol. Feb2007;115(2):168-172.
  5. He M. In vitro activity of eugenol against Candida albicans biofilms. Mycopathologia. Mar2007;163(3):137-143.
  6. Chaieb K. Antioxidant properties of the essential oil of Eugenia caryophyllata and its antifungal activity against a large number of clinical Candida species. Mycoses. Sep2007;50(5):403-406.
  7. Gayoso CW, Lima EO, Oliveira VT, Pereira FO, Souza EL, Lima IO, Navarro DF. Sensitivity of fungi isolated from onychomycosis to Eugenia cariophyllata essential oil and eugenol. Fitoterapia. Mar2005;76(2):247-249.
  8. Yoo CB, Han KT, Cho KS, Ha J, Park HJ, Nam JH, Kil UH, Lee KT. Eugenol isolated from the essential oil of Eugenia caryophyllata induces a reactive oxygen species-mediated apoptosis in HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells. Cancer Lett. 8 Jul2005;225(1):41-52.
  9. Bullock SG. Harrison and essential oil, eugenol. Tragoolpua Y, Jatisatienr A. Anti-herpes simplex virus activities of Eugenia caryophyllus (Spreng.) Phytother Res. Dec2007;21(12):1153-1158.
  10. Larhsini M. Antibacterial activity of some Moroccan medicinal plants. Phytother Res. May2001;15(3):250-252.
  11. Pérez C. Antibacterial activity of alimentary plants against Staphylococcus aureus growth. Am J Chin Med. 1994;22(2):169-174.
  12. Prabuseenivasan S, Jayakumar M, Ignacimuthu S. In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils. BMC Complement Altern Med. 30 Nov2006;6:39.
  13. Ramanoelina AR, Terrom GP, Bianchini JP, Coulanges P. Antibacterial action of essential oils extracted from Madagascar plants. Arch Inst Pasteur Madagascar. 1987;53(1):217-226.
  14. Pourgholami MH. Evaluation of the anticonvulsant activity of the essential oil of Eugenia caryophyllata in male mice. J Ethnopharmacol. Feb1999;64(2):167-171.
  15. Lis-Balchin M. Aromatherapy science. Great Britain:Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.
  16. Alqareer A, Alyahya A, Andersson L. The effect of clove and benzocaine versus placebo as topical anesthetics. J Dent. Nov2006;34(10):747-750.
  17. Elwakeel HA, Moneim HA, Farid M, Gohar AA. Clove oil cream: a new effective treatment for chronic anal fissure. Colorectal Dis. Jul2007;9(6):549-552.
  18. Tisserand R. Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals. Scotland: Churchill Livingston; 1995.

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