Clove is an herb of which the oils, dried flower buds, leaves, and stems are used to make medicine. Clove is often used for upset stomach and as an expectorant. Expectorants make it easier to cough up phlegm. The oil of clove is used for diarrhea, hernia, and bad breath. Clove and clove oil are also used for intestinal gas, nausea, and vomiting.
Clove can be applied topically to the gums for toothache, pain control during dental work, and for a complication during tooth extraction called “dry socket.” It can also be applied to the skin as a counterirritant for pain and for mouth and throat inflammation. When combined with other ingredients, clove is also applied to the skin as part of a multi-ingredient product used for premature ejaculation. Clove is used as a flavoring in foods and beverages. Clove is also used in toothpaste, soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and cigarettes. Clove cigarettes, also called kreteks, generally contain sixty to eighty percent tobacco and twenty to forty percent ground clove, while eugenol, one of the chemicals in clove, acts like menthol to reduce the harshness of tobacco smoke.
Also known as: Bourgeon Floral de Clou de Girofle, Bouton Floral de Clou de Girofle, Caryophylli Flos, Clavo de Olor, Clous de Girolfe, Clove Oil, Cloves, Cloves Bud, Ding Xiang, Feuille de Clou de Girofle, Fleur de Clou de Girofle, Flores Caryophylli, Gewurznelken Nagelein, Girofle, Giroflier, Huile de Clou de Girofle, Kreteks, Lavang, Lavanga, Oil of Clove, Tige de Clou de Girofle
Diseases and Conditions
Clove is possibly effective for premature ejaculation. Research has shown that applying a cream containing clove flower plus Panax ginseng root, Angelica root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, Torlidis seed, Asiasari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom (SS Cream) to the skin of the penis improves premature ejaculation. There is insufficient reliable information available about the effectiveness of clove for other uses.
Clove has been used for the following conditions:
- Upset stomach
- Bad breath
- Intestinal gas
- Pain control during dental work
- Complication during tooth extraction called “dry socket"
- Counter-irritant for pain and for mouth and throat inflammation
Clove may be safe when taken orally in food amounts; not much is known about the safety of its use in medicinal amounts. Clove oil, cream, or other products may safely be applied topically; however, it may irritate the mouth and gums when used frequently or be an irritant to the mucous membranes. It is unsafe to inhale clove smoke; doing so can damage the respiratory system. Intravenous use of clove oil may cause hypoxemia, acute dyspnea, and pulmonary edema.
Using dried clove may also cause irritation to the mouth and dental problems. It is likely unsafe for children to orally consume clove oil as cases of liver damage, coagulopathy, and other side effects have been reported. It may be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to consume clove in amounts found in food although not much is known about its safety when used medicinally. Ingesting clove in large amounts, in undiluted form, or through the use of clove cigarettes may all cause side effects including depression of the central nervous system, seizures, pulmonary edema, bronchospasm, hepatotoxicity, and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy especially in children and infants. Clove has antiplatelet properties which can cause excessive bleeding; discontinue use at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Clove has a minor interaction with anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs. Clove may slow blood clotting, which means taking clove oil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Some medications that slow blood clotting include:
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others)
- Dalteparin (Fragmin)
- Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
Supplement and Food Interactions
Clove may slow blood clotting, which means using it along with other herbs or supplements that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Some of these herbs include:
- Red clover
For premature ejaculation, it is recommended to use a multi-ingredient cream preparation containing clove flower plus Panax ginseng root, Angelica root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, Torlidis seed, Asiasari root, Cinnamon bark, and Toad venom (SS Cream) applied to the glans penis one hour before intercourse and washed off immediately before intercourse. There is insufficient reliable evidence available to determine a dosage for clove for other uses.
Clove is used as a flavoring in many different types of foods and beverages.