When you think of the holidays, you may not think of clove right away, but for many people, the smell of cloves brings back great memories of winter holidays. Along with feelings of warmth and joy associated with the holiday season, cloves and clove oil have a lot of great uses and healthy benefits.
As with all essential oils, a little bit goes a long way. Clove oil is very strong, and you should only need a drop or two. Clove oil is safe to use during pregnancy, but it is recommended that you not use it directly. You can diffuse it, use it with a carrier oil on your skin, or add it to food or beverages for consumption. You can also chew on a clove bud, but be warned, it is very strong. There is conflicting information as to whether or not clove oil is safe to use on infants. Many people like to use it for teething, but it is very strong. If you want to use clove oil on your baby, I would advise that you use 1-2 drops diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil. Try it on yourself first to make sure it isn't too strong.
Health and First Aid
Headache- Clove oil has a cooling effect. Try diluting it with a carrier oil and applying it to your temples or the base of your skull for relief from headache pain. You can also play with adding other essential oils that are great for headaches such as lavender, peppermint, or basil.
Toothache- I can personally attest to this one. Less than a year ago I had to have a root canal. Leading up to it, my gums were very inflamed and terribly painful. I used clove oil to numb the pain using a few different methods. I put a drop on my finger and rubbed it on the gums, I put a drop on a q-tip and applied it directly to my gums, and I put a drop on my toothbrush before brushing my teeth. All of these worked really well. If you try the toothbrush, just make sure the first area you brush is the inflamed area so that more clove oil gets on it. Don't forget, a little goes a long way. Using clove to numb mouth pain is very effective, but your mouth will burn when it is first applied.
Nausea- Clove is very popular for treating morning sickness. It can also help with other stomach troubles such as gas, indigestion, or motion sickness. Try diffusing it in the room when you are nauseous, or put a couple of drops on your pillow or on a cloth near your bed to breath into during the night.
Ear ache- Mix clove oil with some sesame oil and apply to the inside of your ear to ease pain from an ear ache.
Infections and skin conditions- Clove oil is a great cleanser due to it's antiseptic properties. You can use clove oil to treat many rashes, athlete's foot, heal cuts and wounds, treat bee stings, treat eczema, fungal infections, and acne. Diluting it with a carrier oil is a good idea, especially if the area has any broken skin. See my previous post about carrier oils for ideas. To treat acne, try adding a couple drops of clove oil to your cleanser or moisturizer to boost it's effects.
Splinters- Have a nasty splinter that you can't get out? Try putting a drop of clove on it and it should start to come out. Add a drop every 10 minutes or so until you can grab it with the tweezers. The clove oil will also help to numb any pain it has caused.
Respiratory problems- Smelling clove oil, or chewing on a clove bud can help open up your nasal passages and help you breathe better.
Sore throat- Just as it can help to numb a toothache, it can also help to numb a sore throat. If you have a sore throat or cough, try adding clove to some water. Two or three drops should do it. You can also find throat sprays with clove in them at many health food stores. Remember, clove is strong, and you may have trouble with the strong taste in your mouth. Use the spray sparingly until you see how you react to it. You can also chew on a clove bud to soothe a sore throat. The cooling and anti-inflammatory properties can help numb your sore throat and treat a cough.
Diabetes- Clove oil can help to maintain insulin levels in the body, which can be very helpful if you are diabetic. Try adding clove oil to some water to dilute it, or use clove buds in your food.
Joint pain- Because of it's strong analgesic properties, clove oil is great for arthritis or joint pain. You can rub the oil directly on to the effected joint, or dilute it with a carrier oil.
Stress- Clove oil can be used to promote happy feelings and decrease stress. Try diffusing it in your home by itself or in a blend to help alleviate stressful situations. Some people even feel that clove is an aphrodisiac.
Insect Repellant- Clove oil naturally repels many insects like mosquitos and wasps. It can also be used to repel snakes. Try adding clove when you wash your sheets, or put a couple of drops on your sheets before bed to keep insects off of you at night. You can also put clove buds in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes to set on the table at a picnic or other outdoor gathering. There are many recipes online for homemade insect repellant using clove oil. Play with them and see what works for you.
Cleaner- Clove oil is great for killing mold so it is great to use in places that have a lot of moisture such as a bathroom or kitchen. Try adding it to your favorite cleaner, or make your own cleaner. There are a lot of great recipes out there. If you have a lot of mold problems, vinegar is also a great natural mold killer. Combine them to get the effects from both.
Food- Cloves are used in a lot of food. They are often added to spicy foods to ease digestion. They have a wonderful spicy taste that many associate with winter. Try adding them to baked goods, or even some entrees. Sometimes I like to add a bit of clove to hot chocolate to bring in a spicy flavor. Play with it and see what tastes good. Ingesting cloves is great for your digestive health.
Thieves Oil Blend
Thieves oil blend is one of the most popular ways to use clove oil. It is a blend of 5 essential oils and can be used for pretty much anything. It is a great cleaner, immune booster, cold and flu fighter and so much more. There is a ton of information out there about using thieves oil, and it does too many things to fit at the end of this post, so if you are interested, a quick search on Google or Pinterest will provide you with all of the information you could want.
If you are interested in using thieves oil, but want to make your own, here is a great recipe. You can fiddle with the ratios to find a blend that smells pleasant to you.
Thieves Oil Blend Recipe
40 drops clove bud essential oil
35 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
Mix the oils and store in a dark container.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.