spice series - dried cloves on white surface

The Clove tree is native to Indonesia and is now grown in a number of tropical cLimes Madegascar being a preferred source. The 20 to 30 foot tree has large leaves and a pink flower. This flower, as a bud, is harvested and dried yielding the common dark reddish brown ‘Clove’ that we are familiar with. The term Clove is thought to come from the Latin word ‘clavus’ which refers to the shape of the Clove resembling a nail. There are multiple essential oils that can be either extracted from the dried bud, from the leaves, or from the stems of the tree. The bud produces the preferred essential oil as the others are very strong and much more prone to skin irritation. Clove is distilled from the buds of plants and can be found in Madagascar.

Historically it has been known and used for millennia because of its antiseptic and analgesic properties. Its traditional uses include preparations for treating colds, digestive disorders, nausea, neuralgia, parasites, shingles, sinusitis, toothache and even a preservative for meat. Ayurvedic, Chinese, western herbalism and even modern dentistry consider Clove to be strongly antiseptic due to its high content of a compound known as eugenol.




Clove’s traditional use for dental pain is still helpful and is used and recommended by dentists. A few drops on a cotton ball and placed on the painful tooth, dry socket or gum area will provide relief for an hour or two. This application makes it a perfect addition for home dental emergency. Its analgesic properties also make it suitable, when diluted properly with a carrier oil, for help with muscle and joint pain. Further when mixed with water Clove can be used as an antiseptic spray to clean and disinfect surfaces and countertops. Adding one or two drops of Clove with carrier oil creates a stimulating disinfecting rinse. When diffused in to the air in small amounts, Clove is a powerful eliminator of airborne microbes.


Since this oil has strong properties it should be used with care for topical applications. Avoid sensitive areas or those that have sensitive skin. Usually for oils that can cause skin irritation it is best to dilute in a carrier oil at a 1% dilution or less. Use with care during pregnancy.