Herbal Profile: Clove |

Herbal Profile: Clove

Sarena-Rae Santos November 14, 2016

What is Clove

Clove is also known as clove flower, clove flowerbud, clove leaf, clove oil, clove stem, cloves bud, or its scientific name Syzygium aromaticum. Clove is a beautiful tropical tree of the Myrtaceae family with tiny reddish-brown flower buds indigenous to the Moluccas or Spice Islands of Indonesia (1). 

Health Benefits of Clove

Cloves have been used for many medicinal purposes and have been a spice in cooking worldwide for many years. Some excellent medicinal benefits of cloves include: 

Rich In Antioxidants

Several studies have been done on cloves and their antioxidant compounds (2). Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (3). Due to the antioxidant compounds of clove, known as eugenol, test-tube studies have found that this compound stopped oxidative damage caused by free radicals and was five times more potent than vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant (4).

Antibacterial Properties

An antibacterial property is when a substance, or in this case, an herb, can destroy or suppress the growth and reproduction of bacteria (5). One test-tube study showed that clove essential oil killed three common types of bacteria: Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (6). In another test-tube study, they found cloves to stop the growth of two types of bacteria that contribute to gum disease (7). 

May Reduce Stomach Ulcers

Some research suggests that the compounds in cloves may help reduce and even treat stomach ulcers. Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are painful sores that occur in the stomach’s lining, usually as a result of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (8). An animal study found that using clove essential oil increased the production of gastric mucus, which in turn protects the stomach lining (9). Another animal study found clove extract to help treat stomach ulcers while exhibiting similar effects to several anti-ulcer medications (10). These findings have led researchers to believe there could be promising results for humans, but research is limited to animals only.

May Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Several studies have found that cloves have compounds that possess insulin-like effects on blood sugar. One animal study found clove extract helped moderate blood sugar increases in diabetic mice (11). In another study, they found cloves and nigerucun to increase sugar uptake from the blood into the cells, which led to increased secretion of insulin and improved function of cells that produce the insulin (12). Though research is currently limited to animals, researchers believe there could be promising results for humans.

May Promote Bone Health

Low bone mass affects an estimated 43 million older adults here in the United States, which can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fractures and breaks (13). Cloves are rich in manganese (14), an essential trace element cofactor for many bodily functions such as blood clotting, hemostasis, bone formation, immune response, and even reproduction (15). One animal study found that taking manganese supplements for 12 weeks increased bone mineral density and growth (16). In another animal study, clove extract improved several markers of osteoporosis and increased bone density and strength (17). Although research is limited to animal studies currently, researchers believe there could be similar results for humans.

May Improve Liver Health

Studies have shown several beneficial compounds in cloves that may help promote and improve liver health, especially eugenol. One animal study found a decrease in oxidative stress and inflammation and improved liver function in mice with fatty liver disease who were given mixtures containing clove oil or eugenol (18). In another animal study, the eugenol compound found in cloves helped reverse signs of liver cirrhosis or scarring of the liver (19). Although most studies are limited to animal studies, one human study found that taking a eugenol supplement for just one week resulted in decreased glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), a family of enzymes involved in detoxification, often a marker of liver disease (20).

Anticancer Properties

Some research signifies that the compounds found in cloves may help protect against cancer. In a test-tube study, they found that clove extract stopped the growth of tumors and killed cancer cells (21). In another test-tube study, clove oils killed 80 percent of esophageal cancer cells (22), and another test-tube study promoted the death of cervical cancer cells (23). Studies are currently limited to test-tube studies, and further research is needed to determine the proper dosage for these effects on humans safely.

Safety Concerns

According to the mainstream, although clove is commonly consumed in foods, they claim there isn’t enough reliable information to know if clove is safe to use in more significant amounts when pregnant or breastfeeding and recommend staying on the safe side and sticking to food amounts (24). 

After searching many scientific databases, I could not find any studies that warranted concern while pregnant or breastfeeding. Every study I came across simply stated there is no information at this time, leading me to believe there is no reason to recommend against using clove during these life stages. Nonetheless, herbalists consider clove a safe herb with no adverse events reported at this time (25).

Additionally, a study found eugenol in therapeutic doses is safe in normal whole herb consumption and in low doses of oil. This study compares the effects of higher doses to the overdose of acetaminophen (26).

Many confuse fresh clove with clove essential oil, but there is a reason Why Clove Tincture is Safer Than Clove Essential Oil, especially for children.

According to aromatherapist Wendy Robbins, essential oils should never be taken internally or applied undiluted. Clove essential oil has a moderate risk for mucous membrane irritation, may inhibit blood clotting, and pose a drug interaction hazard. It may cause embryotoxicity. There is a moderate risk of skin sensitization, and it should be diluted at the recommended dermal maximum of 0.5%. Additionally, it is advised not to use clove essential oil topically on children younger than two years old (27). 

How to Use Clove

You can find clove in dried bulk, teas, capsules, powders, extracts, essential oils, and even herbal tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs.  Teas are also an option. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:

Follow the recommendations of any supplement; some of my recommendations include:

  • Earthley’s Candida Cleanse helps to fight yeast and candida overgrowth to restore gut health. Made with 100% natural ingredients, this herbal tincture is safe and effective in bringing the relief you’ve been looking for.
  • Earthley’s Elderberry Elixir (Original Formula) is a liquid supplement that combines elderberries and other immune-supporting herbs for everyday wellness. It’s an elderberry tincture (not syrup) that’s a potent cold and flu fighter, shelf-stable for up to 2 years, and super concentrated, which makes it the most cost-effective option.
  • Earthley’s Elderberry Syrup DIY Kit Cough & Cold makes it easier than ever to make your own elderberry syrup! No need to overbuy herbs or spend time researching the best recipe. Simply boil in water and add honey, syrup, or a sweetener of your choice. Each kit makes about two cups of syrup, which is enough to last one month for a family of four.
  • Earthley’s Gut Health Oil is an herbal tincture created to help detox your gut for improved health. This product can help to eliminate candida, parasites, and other stomach issues like bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and more. It’s also a prebiotic, which encourages the growth of good bacteria in your gut to support better wellness.
  • Earthley’s No More Yeast Salve is an all-natural, anti-fungal solution to help fight infections caused by yeast and candida. This salve uses oils that naturally fight yeast. It can help with female yeast infections, athlete’s foot, jock itch, cradle cap, yeast diaper rashes, and more. Get rid of itchy, fungal rashes fast with No More Yeast!
  • Earthley’s Pumpkin Spice Natural Lip Balm (Seasonal) is as natural as it gets. Three simple, safe, and edible ingredients combine to nourish and moisturize the lips. Natural essential oils are added for a pleasant smell without artificial ingredients. Keep an eye out for seasonal and limited edition scents!
  • Earthley’s Pumpkin Spice Whipped Body Butter (Seasonal) combines nourishing, organic butters and oils to moisturize the skin. Use this luxurious lotion all over the body to hydrate and protect. All scents are 100% natural and made with pure essential oils. Try them all, and check out the seasonal scents too!
  • Earthley’s Remineralizing Tooth Powder (Spice Flavor) is a 100% natural and fluoride-free option for healthy, clean teeth. This tooth powder is whitening and remineralizing, so it will help improve the look, strength, and health of your gums and mouth. Not recommended for people with metal-based tooth fillings.
  • Earthley’s Teeth Tamer naturally soothes pain, drooling, and irritability due to tooth pain. Instead of using harmful medications or synthetic gels with unsafe ingredients and potential side effects, experience the relieving power of herbs. Whether you’ve got a toothache or a teething baby, Teeth Tamer is the best natural solution!  Made with whole organic cloves, absolutely no essential oils.
  • Earthley’s Tension Relief Essential Oil Roller is great for tension headaches or tension held in other muscles! Don’t just take a painkiller when a natural remedy can improve the situation. Our combination of oils can relieve tightness and pain from tension in no time.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

If you have clove in your natural medicine cabinet, how do you use it?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos
Sarena-Rae Santos' journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.

1 Comment

  1. How would you use cloves as a parasite cleanser? In a tea??


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

Meet My Family
Love our content? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get our FREE Nourished Living Cookbook!