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The Medicinal Properties Of Clove Oil

Updated on November 14, 2007
Ground cloves surrounded by dried clove buds.
Ground cloves surrounded by dried clove buds.

Clove oil, also known as clove bud oil, was one of three essential oils a lot of the homeless I knew in England carried around with them (the other two being tea tree and lavender). Getting to a dentist is almost as difficult in England as getting to a dentist in America, so when you had a toothache and no money for a dentist, you turned to clove oil.

Got Toothache?

Look at the over the counter tubes of toothache remedies in the pharmacy or chemist. Basically, they are clove oil!

Clove oil can be applied with a clean finger or cotton swab on the place where your tooth hurts. If a filling has popped out, put a few drops on a cotton ball and shove where the gap is. You still need to go to the dentist, though, but at least waiting can be more bearable.

Clove oil was especially useful for when I had painful sinus infections that are almost indistinguishable from toothache of the upper jaw. It also was good when a foreign substance like a strawberry seed went under my gums and I had to extract it myself. (Ugh).

Clove oil is a mild topical anestetic, but more is NOT better with clove oil! It will burn your skin, although a couple of drops on the gums or tooth is usually no problem, probably because it is diluted by your saliva. You will need to wash the clove oil off of your fingers if you apply it by fingertip, or after a little while your fingers will burn.

One tip -- brace yourself for the taste. It's pretty bad, but not as bad as having a toothache.

If you don't know why you have toothache pain, get to a doctor if you can't get to a dentist. You might have an infection that needs painkillers or an antibiotic.

Clove oil is also used to dull the pain of mouth sores. You can use it as a mouthwash, making up one part clove oil to nine parts water.

Soaked To The Skin

One of the most dangerous things we could do as British homeless was to get drenched. You couldn't stay in wet clothes. Modesty went out the hypothetical window when pneumonia was staring you in the face. You got out of those wet clothes and as dry as possible. A hot drink was essential to keep you from going into shock and, whenever possible, a footsoak.

Clove oil was great in my footbath, but only four or five drops. It's powerful. I had the pot bellied stove going in my makeshift squat (called a bender), lean my head over the steam and feel the blood return to my limbs. Ginger tea is also very effective in quickly heating you up when you are shaking with the cold and the wet, but any hot drink, even hot water, is preferable to nothing!

Leg sores

Clove oil is not recommended on open wounds, although it does have disinfecting properties -- but it can also burn! I have never used clove oil on any leg ulcers or skin sores, but have known people who have. They took a plain unscented body lotion and added one part clove oil to nine parts lotion, mixed it up and massaged it on.

If you have a wound or sore that doesn't go away in a week or doesn't seem to be anywhere near helaing, you are best off seeing the doctor. There could be an infection in there. This is especially important if you use intravenous drugs. Your wounds will have difficulty closing, and your nautral immunity is nearly gone.

Insect Repellant

Never put clove oil on your skin full strength! You can mix it in a cream or lotion, or leave a tissue with a few drops on it where moths and little midges like to gather. This usually keeps them away. Insects also don't like lavender or tea tree.

Arthritis Massage

Some people also use clove oil mixed with a vegatable based oil to massage into arthritic limbs. Safe inexpensive base oils include jojoba, olive oil or rapeseed. You really want to splurge, get apricot kernel oil. Again, use one part clove oil to nine parts oil. You need the oil to be at least room temperature, or you'll leap a mile when you touch it.

If you can't work your fingers for a massage or can't get someone to masage the oil in for you, try a hot compress with a few drops of clove oil added. Other oils that are good for arthritis pain are ginger, black pepper and rosemary.

Goldfish Euthenasia

Another use for clove oil is for not so happy a purpose. Unlike other pets, fish can't be taken to the vet. You are their vet. Sometimes, when a goldfish or freshwater tropical fish is obviously suffering, the kindest thing you can do for it is to put it out of it's misery. Don't just flush down the toilet -- they will still be alive.

Get a bowl that contains at least one liter of water. Pour in the one liter of water and add 10 drops of clove oil. Then, say goodbye to your small fish and place him or her in the euthenasia bowl. Death should be quick.

Then have a good cry and try to remember the good times about your dead wet pet.

Natural toothache remedies lesson by HomeRemedySecrets.


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  • Michele Engholm profile image

    Michele Engholm 9 years ago from Hutchinson

    I have never had to think of euthanizing a goldfish, but you are correct, that would be infinitely more humane than a slow death in the sewer or septic system. Nice hub once again Rena...Thanks!

  • RenaSherwood profile image

    RenaSherwood 9 years ago

    You're quite welcome. Thanks for taking time to comment :-)

  • shurepets profile image

    shurepets 9 years ago from Tennessee

    I guess we all forget fish are a live blood creature ,most time we all only think of furbabies as having pain or feelings.

  • profile image

    LadyForce 8 years ago

    Thank you very much about the info re: Clove Oil. Right now I really need it, as I have one heck of a toothache!!Thanks again,


  • profile image

    Jazz 8 years ago

    Thanks for the info... of course, before you euthanize your goldfish, you can first try raising the temperature of the water and adding salt...

    I have saved many lives that way. Often within minutes, they will be swimming around again.

  • profile image

    John Martin 8 years ago

    Another good way of euthanizing a gold fish involves simply a frying pan and a little olive oil. lol

  • profile image

    John Martin 8 years ago

    By the way... you forgot another rememdy for clove oil. take a cutip and rub a strip or two of clove oil on your cigarette. Instead of stinking up the place, you can now have a cigarette and air freshener at the same time. Smells good and numbs any kankor sores you might have at the same time.

  • profile image

    Me 7 years ago

    Just bought an OZ of Clove oil at CVS and it does work much better than the other remedies.


  • profile image

    Fiona 7 years ago

    Long-term, I have had blocked sinuses, pain and headaches about two weeks in every four. It is very debilitating. I have taken to chewing two cloves (boiled for 10 mins in a little water) at night and this seems to quickly open my sinuses, and allows me to sleep better and wake up feeling clearer. Rena, I see you mention cloves helped you with sinus pain, but I am wondering what dose is safe ? Is it ok to chew two boiled cloves (not swallowing the fibrous pulp) every night ? I see they can be dangerous. Are there safer ways to administer, eg breathing oil through steam ? Many thanks.

  • profile image

    Rahul 7 years ago

    How can we use clove oil? Pleas , I want to know the ways of use it.

  • InfinityVal profile image

    InfinityVal 6 years ago from NNY

    Thanks for the tips. I guess I'm glad I don't have a goldfish. But I do sometimes need a little sinus help.

    Will give it a try.

  • profile image

    Godwyn 6 years ago

    I had a root canal bt the crown kept coming off making me go bk to that chair again and again. After three years im having pains on that tooth. The doctor said i ve got an infection so this nice old lady gave me some cove oil. I applied it a bot clumsily and it burnt so much i had to rinse my mouth several times. So i stopped using it so i guess i will go bk to it now.. thnx

  • profile image

    Abul-Khaleel 6 years ago

    I had a tooth ache last week (wisdom tooth?) and I chewed a few cloves, you can't believe it, only one minute and the pain is gone. I don't think it is harmful to swallow since I have don that; otherwise, someone should advise.

  • profile image

    Jonny 5 years ago

    A word of caution. I have a broken molar which is causing me agony, but some clove oil and followed the directions on the bottle. The problem is the tooth is right at the back so avoiding contact with my tongue is impossible.

    Applied a small drop on an earbud and at first was fine. Then my tongue started burning, I looked in the mirror and saw the skin on my tongue literally bubbling, after about a minute my tongue split open and I ended up in a lot more pain than the tooth was causing me.

    The doc at the hospital told me that when it heals the scar tissue will always be very fragile and even spicy food could cause it to rupture again. Mine might be a rare case, but I advise you to only use clove oil as a last resort. I wouldn't wish this on anyone...Except maybe Cristiano Ronaldo, the prick ;-)

  • bizchickblogs profile image

    Tia Danielle Peterson 5 years ago from Tucson

    Can you tell me how you use it to relieve sinus infections?

  • profile image

    cptn nemo 5 years ago

    I chew on a clove or two. After a good chew I swallow the bits &/or shove some bits into an old cavity I doesn't cure everything but it doesn't cause problems.

  • profile image

    Aegeus 5 years ago

    Hmm, much of this disagrees with the conservative info that they have been teaching us ant my aromatherapy certifcate.

    1 part essential oil to 9 parts veg oil is incredibley potent. Another web link said you should only use it at 1 % stregnth. I imagine you could make it a bit more potent for a local application. but 1 part to 9 you would use up your tiny bottle of essential oil pretty quick too. 20 drops = 1 ml.

  • profile image

    Kimberme 5 years ago

    Just used this on my son's infected toe. He's got an ingrown toe and plays basetball 10 hours a week, so the extra pressure on his big toe has cause trauma and it began to be red and sore. We started last night by soaking in warm soapy water with 10 drops clove oil added. This morning the redness had reduced and it felt much better. We soaked it again and this afternoon the pus is coming out and swelling is decreasing. It will probably take another day or two but it sure beats surgery at the podiatrist.

  • profile image

    nem 5 years ago

    I used clove oil on a cotton bud and rubbed it along my upper gum line for root canal numbed the pain straight away, however the next morning my gums were burnt and peeling and were extremely sensitive without me doing very much - just smiling made my gums feel uncomfortable. Clove oil does work for pain but please do be careful and use sparingly!

  • profile image

    joomlabliss 4 years ago

    I used cloves for parasite cleanse and it worked very well. It also works like magic for canker sores, my hubby had it once and I simply gave him 2-3 dry organic cloves to chew, chew well before swallowing - the pain was gone within 2 minutes and the next day it was well into recovery, with no more pain.

    However, I used a very strong clove tea ( 15 cloves on 300 ml of water, steeped for 15 min or longer, never took cloves out, and sometimes finish the tea a couple of hours later) for a few weeks once or twice a day and also chewed 5-7 dry organic cloves daily...and then I started having small tiny skin eruptions (small cuts) and my thumb would hurt badly and some muscle took several tries to notice what was causing it, but luckily, I eventually noticed the correlation, so I wanted to share this info with others. Use clove as medicine and not as food/drink on a regular basis (unless you are using only very small amounts). I also read that it is highly addictive and happens gradually without you noticing it. I have to say, I do miss it.

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