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Grandma Was Right! Science Says Clove Oil Is a Great Painkiller & Antimicrobial

Derived from clove trees or ‘Syzygium aromaticum’, clove oil has been widely used in traditional Chinese and Indian treatments since the 17th century. These studies speak of its medicinal and healing properties.

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After every visit to the dentist my teeth and gums would be in extreme pain. Throughout 2009, I had multiple dentist appointments, thanks to my newly added braces. Only someone who has gone through that kind of excruciating pain can fully understand what I am talking about. 

For the first couple of months I ignored my grandmother’s advice of applying clove oil to the affected area, only to come around later when I had exhausted all my other options. My pain didn’t go away completely but it did subside significantly and provided some relief. 

Back then, the sceptic in me refused to believe that the oil helped at all, and I convinced myself that a placebo effect was at work. 

Cut to 2021, I am writing a piece on the benefits of clove oil, pause for reaction, with proper scientific backings. 

What is clove oil? 

Derived from clove trees or Syzygium aromaticum, clove oil has been widely used in the Chinese and Indian traditional treatments since the 17th century. 

The dried flower buds of the tree are distilled to make the oil which contains a component called eugenol. Other components include thymol, carvacrol, and cinnamaldehyde.

“Eugenol is also used in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industry in restricted concentrations. Its derivatives have been used in medicine as a local antiseptic and anesthetic. The wide range of eugenol activities includes antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant,” noted the Turkish Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Interestingly, eugenol is often used in periodontal and root canal therapy. 

For toothache relief, the eugenol numbs the pain and reduces inflammation in the mouth. According to a study by the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, eugenol is more effective than analgesic. The examination revealed that patients who applied eugenol-based suffered less pain

Due to the strong aroma and spicy flavour, clove has found its way into the kitchens as an essential ingredient. Its leaves and stems are also used for various medicinal and health purposes.

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Why my grandmother was right

Rich in antibacterial and antioxidant properties, clove oil has multifold benefits such as treating acne, relieving pain, developing immunity and reducing headaches. It also contains minerals like calcium, hydrochloric acid, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

The antioxidants keep infections at bay. Antiseptic properties can treat fungal infections, insect bites and help in reducing swelling and irritation. Whereas the anti-inflammatory properties give respite from nasal blockage, sore throats and cold. 

Clove oil also has multiple skin benefits. According to a 2017 research, clove oil reduced chronic itching or pruritus. The study revealed that clove oil was ‘effective, easy to use, safe, cheap and more acceptable’. 

Meanwhile, the anti-inflammatory properties tame Staphylococcus aureus, a strain of bacteria that causes acne. When applied on the face, the oil can prevent bacterial growth and skin wrinkling as well. 

How to use: 

Use a clean tissue or a cotton ball soaked in clove oil and apply it on the gums or affected area. For skin-related issues, take a few drops of oil and apply gently on your skin. 

Please note: Before using this home remedy, it is also advisable to consult your doctor. 

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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