Here’s the deal.   It’s the weekend and your tooth starts to hurt.   The pain has become so bad you cannot eat or cannot concentrate. What can you do?

Let me let you in on a secret: you can temporarily mitigate the pain and suffering with oil of clove, an inexpensive and readily available essential oil.   Here is what you do: Put a few drops of clove oil on a cotton ball, place the ball on your sore tooth and bite down. Keep your mouth shut for about 5 minutes as the oil numbs the pain and kills the bacteria. Afterward, remove the cotton ball and mix a bit of the clove oil (6 to 8 drops will do it) in water, with a little salt. Swish this around in your mouth for about a minute and spit it out.   You should feel a whole lot better!

(Note:   Undiluted clove oil can cause burning and even nerve damage, so be sure to dilute it if you are applying it to sensitive skin tissue.  You can still use it directly on a tooth by applying it to a cotton ball or cotton swab first.)

The dentist even suggested when in pain to use clove oil.   As a matter of fact, he told me that it was a bit of clove oil on a cotton swab that provided preliminary numbing prior to my procedure.


The use of clove dates back to the Han dynasty (207B.C to 220 A.D.) where it was used to hide bad breath. It was required that those who approached the Chinese emperor hold a clove in their mouth for this purpose. Over the years, traditional Chinese medicine has used cloves to treat indigestion, diarrhoea, hernias, ringworm and also athletes foot and other fungal infections.

Cloves arrived in Europe in the 4th century A.D.   They were considered a luxury and were used as a part of a mixture to treat gout. Once cloves became readily available in Europe, they were used in a manner similar to traditional Chinese medicine.   Europeans used cloves to treat indigestion, flatulence, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. It also treated cough, infertility, warts, worms, wounds and toothaches.

In America, cloves have been used to treat digestive disorders and have been used in bitter herb medicine preparations to make them more tasteful.

FACTOID:   Americans were the first to extract the oil from the clove and it was used on gums to relieve toothaches.

The active component of cloves is  eugenol oil. This oil makes up 60-90% of each clove and has long been thought to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi.   This oil also acts as an antiseptic, anaesthetic, digestive stimulant expectorant, aromatic, antispasmodic and astringent.


Instant Air Freshener:

Make an atomizer in a spray bottle mixing clove oil with water.   Be sure to shake well before each use as oil and water do not stay mixed.   If your household is smelling especially bad or is really stale, simmer some cloves, cinnamon and orange peel on the stove for awhile – the smell will be heavenly.

Got Doggie Destructo?

You can discourage puppy-chewing by dabbing the most likely targets (wood mouldings, your slippers) with a bit of clove oil.   One sniff and one taste and your pup will move on to something else – hopefully his dog food or doggie toys!

Non-toxic Insect Repellent:

Did you know that many insect repellent companies use  Clove essential oil  as one of the active ingredients in their spray products?   If you have some clove leaves or oils, you can simply use these instead of spending money on insect spray.

Another thing you can do is plant cloves around the perimeter of your backyard to replace the number of bugs that come into your yard. You can also put some of the oils on your body so insects and mosquitoes won’t come near you.


As much as I tried, I could only find anecdotal information about the benefits of cloves. There seems to be little or no scientific research into the medicinal uses of cloves which frankly, I find baffling. That said, below are some of the reported therapeutic uses of cloves and oil of clove.

Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal:

An effective aid for food poisoning, clove oil kills many forms of bacterial infections. Clove is also effective in reducing fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.


Clove oil clears the respiratory passages, acting as an expectorant for treating many upper-respiratory conditions including colds, eye sties, bronchitis, sinus conditions, cough and asthma.


Clove oil can be used to reduce infections, wounds, insect bites and stings.

Cancer Prevention:

Preliminary studies suggest that clove oil may play a chemo preventative role, particularly in cases of lung, skin and digestive cancers. The  American Cancer Society  states that more carefully controlled research is needed to determine the role of Chinese herbal medicine, including cloves, in cancer treatment and prevention.

Cardiovascular Health:

The active essential oil in clove, eugenol, has been shown to act as an effective platelet inhibitor, preventing blood clots.

Energy Booster:

When used for aromatherapy purposes, clove oil helps to stimulate the brain. The scent makes you more attentive and can even make you feel more energetic than you normally would.

Improves Blood Circulation:

Clove bud oil is one of the ingredients used in Tiger Balm, which is a herbal formulation that dates back to the times of the Chinese emperors. It is used to soothe muscle aches and pains and is thought to do so by increasing the blood flow in the affected area.


Clove oil offers a powerful action against gas and bloating. It reduces gas pressure in the stomach, aiding in the proper elimination of food and toxins. It also relieves the discomfort of peptic ulcers. Effective for stomach related conditions including nausea, hiccups, motion sickness and vomiting.


Due to its antiseptic properties, clove oil is useful for wounds, cuts, scabies, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, bruises, prickly heat, scabies, etc. It can also be used for treating insect bites and stings.

Powerful Germicidal Properties:

Gargling with clove oil can aids in sore throat conditions and bad breath.

Premature Ejaculation:

Some research has shown that clove may be useful as an aid for premature ejaculation.

Relieves Flatulence:

A tea made of cloves can relieve flatulence. Try steeping 5 cloves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink it when it cools and repeat two of three times daily.

Relieve Headaches:

Clove oil is useful for reducing the pain and discomfort associated with tension headaches. Apply a rag soaked in clove oils to the forehead or temples to get help open the blood vessels and rid yourself of the headache.


An aid for skin disorders, such as acne.

Stress Reliever:

Clove oil stimulates the circulatory system, clearing the mind and reducing mental exhaustion and fatigue. It is also used to aid insomnia, memory loss, anxiety and depression.

Prevention From Toxic Cxposure:

Some studies show that clove oil can prevent toxicity related to exposure to environmental pollution.


Clove oil is easy to make at home. Take 1/8 cup whole clove and cover with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. Let sit overnight or for as long as 24 hours then strain and you are all set.


Remember that   clove oil is very strong in nature and hence should be used in diluted form. Further, it should not be used on sensitive skin. That said, cloves and clove oil are inexpensive and useful for a variety of purposes and ailments.   And for a tooth ache?  Well in my view it sure beats strong pain relievers that require a prescription.