Clove Essential Oil (Syzygium aromaticum)


Clove may also be referred to as Clove Tree, Clove Bud, Clove Stem, Tropical Myrtle, Zanzibar Redhead, Cengkih, Chengkeh, Chingkeh, 丁香. It is typically processed using steam or hydro distillation, or co2 select extraction as a method for extracting oil from the flower buds, stems, or leaves.


Clove oil comes from the flower buds and leaves of the Syzygium aromaticum (also known as Eugenia caryophyllata) tree. It has a strong spicy scent. It has an analgesic and stimulating effect. Clove stem and clove leaf essential oils are also available, but essential oil distilled from the buds is generally favored due to its composition and aroma.

Clove Bud Essential Oil generally contains up to 85% Eugenol, a phenol that dramatically contributes to the oil's aroma, therapeutic properties, and safety precautions. Clove Bud Essential Oil is also comprised of a number of other constituents, particularly the sesquiterpene B-caryophyllene and the ester Eugenyl acetate.

Essential Facts

  • Aroma Description:

    Rich Sensual Slightly bitter Slightly spicy Soft Sweet Warm Woody

  • Common Name(s): Clove Tree, Clove Bud, Clove Stem, Tropical Myrtle, Zanzibar Redhead, Cengkih, Chengkeh, Chingkeh, 丁香
  • Synonyms(s) for Syzygium aromaticum: Caryophyllus aromaticus, Caryophyllus hortensis, Caryophyllus silvestris, Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia caryophyllus, Jambosa caryophyllus, Myrtus caryophyllus

  • Botanical Family: Myrtaceae
  • Botanical Genus: Syzygium
  • Chemical Family: Phenols
  • Major Compounds: Eugenol, B-Caryophyllene, Eugenyl Acetate, a-Caryophyllene, Isoeugenol, Methyleugenol
  • Perfumery Note: Base/Middle
  • Consistency: Medium
  • Strength of Initial Aroma: Strong
  • Aroma chemistry: The main chemical family for Clove Bud and Clove Stem Essential Oil and Clove Bud Co2 Select Extract is Phenols.  Phenols are terminator oils.  They are very powerful and highly anti infectious. The phenolic component that is high in clove is eugenol.  Clove Bud Essential Oil had about 80% or so eugenol and about 9% Eugenol acetate.  Clove Bud Co2 extract has a bit less eugenol and a bit more Eugenol acetate (20% or so).  Clove Stem Essential Oil has a higher amount of Eugenol 92-96% percent and very little Eugenol acetate.  Eugenol acetate if a component belonging to the chemical family ester.  In general esters are highly anti spasmodic and relaxing.
  • Color: Pale Yellow
  • Indigenous Country: Madagascar
  • Cultivation: Unsprayed and organically grown
  • Processing Methods: Steam or Hydro Distillation, or CO2 Select Extraction
  • Part Typically Used: Flower buds, stems, or leaves
  • Shelf Life: 5 - 8 years
  • Vegan Vegan

Essential Details

Cautions & Safety

Cautions when using Clove:

Tisserand and Young indicate that when using Clove Bud Oil, there is moderate risk for mucous membrane irritation, may inhibit blood clotting and pose a drug interaction hazard. It may cause embryotoxicity. There is a moderate risk of skin sensitization, and Tisserand and Young recommend a dermal maximum of 0.5%. They advise not to use topically on children age 2 or younger. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 255.]

This essential oil poses a higher risk of causing irritation and sensitization when used in the bath. Avoid using it in the bath, even if it is solubilized/diluted.

Safety Precautions for Clove:

Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

According to Tisserand & Young, Clove Bud Essential Oil  (oral usage) may inhibit blood clotting, cause drug interactions, cause skin & mucous membrane sensitization. Contraindications: May interact with pethidine, MAOIs or SSRIs, anticoagulant medication, major surgery, peptic ulcer, hemophilia & other bleeding disorders.    Eugenol belongs to the Phenol chemical family.  Phenols   are  potentially  irritating  components  to  the  skin  and  mucous  membranes,  and  they  can  cause dermatitis  and  sensitization.  If phenols  are  present  in  high  concentrations in the essential oil,  the  essential  oil should  be  used  in  very  low  dilutions  on  the  skin,  diluted  well  in  carrier  oil,  and  only  used  for  short periods  of  time. Phenol-high oils  are  skin  irritating  if  used  in  a  bath. Use in  small  amounts  when  blending  phenol-rich  oils  for  diffusing  (no  more  than  10%  of  the  pure essential  oil  blend). Phenol-rich oils  should  not  be  used  on  people  with  skin  issues  such  as  dermatitis,  or  on  babies  or children. Oils high  in  eugenol,  thymol  or  carvacrol  inhibits  platelet  aggregation,  and  are  not  to  be  used  by people  with  blood  clotting  disorders,  by  people  taking  anticoagulant  drugs  such  as  aspirin  or  Warfarin, or  before  surgery.  According to Tisserand, Holy basil may inhibit blood clotting, have skin sensitization effects & possible mucous membrane irritation.  Suggested  maximum  topical  use  of  eugenol  is  0.5%.  In small doses,  eugenol can  be  liver-protective, however,  in  high  concentrations,  it  is  hepatotoxic  and  can  cause  tissue  damage. Maximum dermal level 1.0% (based on 50.4% eugenol content with a dermal limit of 0.5%


Botanical Description of Clove:

The Clove tree is an evergreen that grows up to 50 feet tall, with large leaves and crimson flowers grouped  clusters. At first the flower buds  have a pale hue, gradually turn green, then become a bright red. Now they are ready for harvest. Cloves are usually  harvested at 1.5–2.0 cm long, and consist of a long calyx that terminates in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals that form a small central ball. The clove tree lives a long long life.  It is said to be a productive tree for 150 years!

Traditional Folklore

Traditional Folklore of Clove:

The reason that we know about cloves is Marco Polo.  He is the one that wrote about cloves in a publication in AD 1928.  Actually the name Clove comes from the French word Nail (clou).  When you look at the clove bud it does look like a nail. Clove is native to the Maluku or Molucca Islands (often referred to as the Spice Islands, due, in part, to the abundance of clove) in Indonesia.   Cloves were traded in the 13th century via the Arabs in Europe.  (At this time Venice was the leading source for cloves.) . The Arabs had a monopoly for centuries!   Then  the Portughese broke that monopoly and had one of their own for over a century. Then came the Dutch.  The Dutch were ruthless and to guarantee that their monopoly would live on, the issued a proclamation in 1621 that stated that ll Clove Trees were to be destroyed with the exception of the trees on Ambinia and the adjacent islands,  Eventually Clove trees were introduced into Zanzibar( Part of Tanzania)  in the 19th century.     The very first recorded use of the clove was the Chinese between 220 - 206 BC.  They used the clove to sweeten their breath by chewing it. During the Renassaince, Cloves were used to make Pomanders ( a container containing scented herbs) to ward off the plague In the Molucca Islands, a clove tree was planted each time a child was born leading to the abundance of the this spice. It was believed to be imbued with the magical powers of protection, love, and, burned as incense to attract financial abundance. It was thought that burning it as incense would stop others from gossiping about you.  It also was used in exorcisms to expel evil spirits.


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