Health Benefits of


Cloves can be described as the flower buds of a tree known as Syzygium aromaticum, native to Indonesia. Cloves are used as a spice, food preservative, and medicinal ingredient. Cloves are enriched with phenolic compounds including eugenol and gallic acid, which have pharmaceutical properties. [1] The health benefits of cloves are listed down below. 


Antibacterial Property of Cloves

Antimicrobial resistance is a common problem encountered in the treatment of bacterial infections. Eugenol is an important compound present in clove essential oil. This compound has both non-antibiotic and bacteriostatic properties. Eugenol is an antibiotic agent that protects the skin from bacterial infections and associated acne. [2]

Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Cloves

Cloves essential oil decreases the production and release of inflammatory mediators as well as possess antiproliferative activity concerning human dermal fibroblasts. Cloves also inhibit the activity of matrix metalloproteinase, an enzyme responsible for the degradation of components present in the extracellular matrix of the skin. Eugenol in the cloves essential oil is responsible for suppressing inflammation and promoting the healing of wounds. [3]

Clove as Penetration Enhancer for Topical Applications

Terpenes are found in clove oil. These compounds increase the permeability of skin by altering the lipid content of the transdermal barrier and enhancing the penetration of cutaneous drugs through the deeper layers of the skin. [4]

Cloves for Fungal Infections

Cutaneous candidiasis is a fungal infection of the skin caused by Candida species. Cloves have anti-fungal properties that enable them to prevent fungal infections without giving rise to drug resistance. [5]

Cloves Alleviate Symptoms of Chronic Pruritus

Pruritus is a set of cutaneous and non-cutaneous disorders that are associated with itchy skin. Clove oil contains eugenol that inhibits nerve transmission and treats neuropathic itch. Individuals who are treated with clove oil report a lesser itch score as compared to the score reported before the treatment. [6]

Cloves Protect Against Cancer

Eugenol present in clove oil has anti-cancer properties. This suppresses the genetic expression of carcinomatous genes and promotes the gene expression of genes that induce apoptosis of tumor cells. This prevents cancerous changes of cells at the dysplastic stage. [7]


Figure 2 The average 5-D itch score decreased after treatment with clove oil.

Antioxidant Property of Cloves

UV-induced skin damage leads to the production of free radicals that causes oxidative damage to the tissues. Clove is rich in polyphenol and flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant properties. These compounds neutralize the free radicals and protect the cells from cellular damage. [8]