10 Surprising Health Benefits And Uses of Cloves: Side Effects & Warnings


As a spice, clove confers significant nutritional benefits. According to nutrition data, one teaspoon of ground cloves contains 30% of the RDI of the mineral manganese, 4% of the RDI of vitamin K, 3% of the RDI of vitamin C, and trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. It is also a good source of fiber.

Vitamin C and eugenol are both antioxidants that can help slow the development of chronic disease. Manganese is important to bone health.

Toothache and Dental Pain

Many of the health benefits of clove oil are thought to result from its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects.

Clove oil is perhaps best known as a remedy for toothache and dental pain. In a 2006 study of 73 adults, for instance, researchers found that clove-based gel was comparable to benzocaine (a local anesthetic) in its ability to ease pain resulting from injections in the mouth.1

The antibacterial properties of clove may help reduce oral bacteria that can lead to the development of plague, gingivitis, and cavities.2

In Germany, a governmental regulatory agency known as Commission E has recommended clove for use in treating mouth and gum inflammatioin and as a topical anesthetic in dentistry.3


There is some evidence that clove may benefit people with diabetes or prediabetes. This is based on research that suggests that clove may help reduce blood sugar (glucose) before and after eating food.

According to the 2019 pilot study, significant reductions were found in the glucose levels of healthy volunteers who ingested a polyphenolic clove extract, building off of promising results in preclinical studies regarding the effect of clove on helping to regulate blood sugar.4

Further research is needed to determine whether the same effect can be achieved in people with diabetes.


Although tea tree oil (an essential oil used in aromatherapy) is better known as a natural spot treatment for acne, clove oil is sometimes also used for pimples.

According to a 2017 in vivo study, ethanolic clove extract containing eugenol suppressed activity of the bacterium P. acnes and reduced a related inflammatory response in a mouse model.

As P. acnes is associated with acne, this supports the conducting of further research into whether clove oil can be an effective treatment for breakouts.5

Food Poisoning Prevention

According to a 2018 review, clove oil, and specifically the constituent eugenol, shows advantages over potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and other chemical food preservatives in terms of antimicrobial activity, safety, and aroma, making it worthy of consideration as a substitute food preservative.6

Clove oil has been found to have an antibacterial effect on common food source Gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosaSalmonellaE.coli, as well as Gram-positive bacteria such as Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus.

In lab tests published in 2009, scientists found that clove bud oil (as well as essential oils of cinnamon and allspice) also helped suppress the growth of listeria, another common bacteria known to cause food-borne illness, indicating clove oil may be helpful in protecting against food poisoning.7

Possible Side Effects

While generally recognized as safe for topical use, clove oil has been found to impact the diversity of the intestinal microbiota when ingested due to the sensitivity of even some helpful bacteria in the gut biome to eugenol, as shown in a 2012 study.8

It is generally recommended not to ingest clove oil in large amounts. If swallowed, cloves may cause a burning sensation. Applying clove oil to the skin or gums, or using it as a mouthwash, is recommended instead. Clogard Clove Mouthwash is one commercial rinse preparation that is available.

Pay special attention to prevent infants and children from swallowing clove oil. In 1992 there was a case report detailing a child who ingested clove oil and experienced disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and hepatocellular necrosis.9 Another case report from 1991 describes central nervous system depression in an infant who swallowed clove oil.

While a direct link between clove oil use and these issues is not certain, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Due to insufficient research regarding the effects on pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is best to avoid clove products during these periods.10


Eugenol slows blood clotting and can lead to an increased risk of bleeding. It should be avoided by people with bleeding disorders, those scheduled for surgery, and people on anticoagulant medications.

Cloves have been shown to lead to lowered blood sugar levels and should be avoided by people who are hypoglycemic.

Selection, Preparation & Storage

Clove oil is available at most health food stores and supermarkets. When preparing clove oil remedies for younger children, cutting the clove oil with a carrier oil such as almond oil or olive oil helps mitigate any irritating effects.

According to the review on cloves in the Commission E Monographs, detailing the German authority’s approved preparations of clove oil, 1% to 5% essential oil solutions are recommended for mouthwashes, and undiluted oil is recommended for official dental use.11

According to a 2011 study, clove buds that had been cleaned, ground to a fine powder, and stored in air-tight containers at room temperature indicated significant anti-microbial activity after being added to a meat emulsion at the level of 0.1%.12

Common Questions

Can I grow my own clove spice?
Growing cloves requires a hot and humid climate. This evergreen tree would do the best in USDA Zones 9b through 12, though clove trees can be grown in pots and taken indoors in temperate zones during the winter. Clove trees prefer partial shade and can be propagated from either seeds or cuttings; it takes 15 to 20 years for them to reach their full flowering potential, however.

Are clove cigarettes safe?
Clove cigarettes, also known as kreteks, are popular in Indonesia and distributed worldwide. They typically contain 60% to 80% tobacco and 20% to 40% ground clove buds and clove oil, along with some other spices. The numbing action of the eugenol in clove cigarettes allows for longer and deeper inhaling. This may make the act of smoking tobacco less harsh in the moment, but it does nothing to prevent the risks associated with inhaling nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar.

Cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen also known as Syzygium aromaticum (1Trusted Source).

Found in both whole and ground forms, this versatile spice can be used to season pot roasts, add flavor to hot beverages, and bring spicy warmth to cookies and cakes.

You may know cloves as one of the main ingredients in gingerbread baked goods or a staple spice in Indian cuisine.

Cloves are best known as a sweet and aromatic spice, but they have also been used in traditional medicine.

In fact, animal studies have found that the compounds in cloves may have several health benefits, including supporting liver health and helping stabilize blood sugar levels (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

This article reviews 8 of the most impressive health benefits of eating cloves.

10 impressive health benefits of cloves

  1. Nutritional facts of cloves: Cloves are known for their important nutrients contents. The presence of manganese in the spice is good for a healthy brain and bones. About 2 grams of the spice contains Calories (6), Carbs(1gm), Fiber (1gm), Manganese (55%) of the daily value, Vitamin K (2%) of the daily value.
  2. Full of antioxidants: It has an adequate amount of antioxidants, which combat free radicals and protect you from various infections and bacterial activity. It contains a phytochemical substance called Eugenol, which has greater relevance to stop oxidative damage.
  3. Keep your liver healthy: The presence of eugenol in cloves helps to clean your liver, protect you from liver cirrhosis, and improves its health. This antioxidant also acts as an anti-inflammation and reduces the activity of oxidative stress.
  4. Reduces blood sugar level naturally: Cloves contain nigericin, which helps to absorb sugar from the blood and stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin thereby ensures in regulating blood sugar.
  5. Cloves for healthy bones: Low density in bones leads to risk of fracture and osteoporosis. Eugenol in cloves is good to overcome osteoporosis and also increases the density of bones. On the other hand, manganese is also good for bone density, its formation, and overall health.
  6. Anti-bacterial: Cloves are having anti-microbial properties. In a recent study, it has been confirmed that it can kill E.coli thus save the stomach from becoming upset.
  7. Relieve stomach ulcer pain: The biochemical substances present in cloves are helpful in mitigating the problems of stomach and peptic painful ulcers. Cloves help to release mucous, which prevents the stomach lining from digestive acids.
  8. Oral health care: Cloves are extremely beneficial if somebody has toothache pain. Using cloves rinse is effective to fight against plaque, gingivitis, and other dental care and health and also useful to minimize inflammation.
  9. Reduces obesity and overweight risks: In a study with mice, it has been confirmed that clove extract helps to reduce the incidence of obesity, less abdominal and liver fat.
  10. Cancer prevention: The use of it is also beneficial in the prevention of cancer. However, it should be taken after the consultation of a physician.

10 potential uses of cloves

Cloves oils, dried flower buds, leaves, and stems are used for various purposes including medicine. Some of the important uses of it are:

  1. It is used in soups, stews, meats, sauces, and rice dishes, and other various cookings.
  2. It is an important ingredient in condiments like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. There are the cloves, which are used for aroma purposes in the case of various perfumes.
  4. It is used in the case to cause a numbing sensation.
  5. It is used to give flavor to oatmeal, muffins, and cookies.
  6. It is used to make chai, which is a combination of tea, spices, and cloves.
  7. It is used to make sweet dishes like ‘pumpkin pie’ along with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  8. Drinks like mulled wine and cider are also prepared from it.
  9. It is an important ingredient in making gingerbread cookies and Briyani.
  10. Its essential oil is used in aromatherapy for stress relief and also as a stimulating substance.

10 side effects and warnings of cloves

  1. Cloves shouldn’t be taken in high amounts as the chemical Eugenol may cause serious liver damage.
  2. Cloves may cause skin, eye, and respiratory problems.
  3. Skin allergy can also be observed.
  4. It should be taken very cautiously because entering it into the airway may cause serious problems.
  5. The presence of eugenol facilitates slow blood clotting. Therefore, it shouldn’t be taken by people who have bleeding disorders.
  6. The application of clove oil on gums may damage gums and mucous membranes.
  7. Inhaling smoke from cloves can cause breathing and lung problems.
  8. Cloves, generally shouldn’t be given to children as it may cause seizures, liver damage, and fluid imbalances.
  9. It is better to be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  10. Avoid using clove oil at least two weeks before surgery.

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