(Syzygium aromaticum)

Plant Family



Eugenia aromatica, E. caryophyllata, E. caryophyllus.

Description and Distribution

A slender evergreen tree with brilliant red flowers, attaining a height of about two feet  ( 6 m).  When dried, the flower buds turn reddish-brown and are rich in essential oil.   The tree is believed to be native to Indonesia, but is extensively cultivated in other tropical countries such as the Philippines, the Molucca Islands, Madagascar and the West Indies.

Nature of the Oil

Clove bud: a pale yellow liquid.   The aroma is sweet and spicy with a pleasantly sharp to-note.   Clove leaf: a dark amber liquid with a harsh dry odour.   Clove stem: a pale yellow liquid whose odour is reminiscent of clove bud oil.   The odour effect of clove bud oil is warming and stimulating; a reputed aphrodisiac.

Main Constituents

Clove oils contain an extremely high proportion of the potentially caustic eugenol…Clove bud ( the preferred oil for aromatherapy): eugenol (up to 90 percent), eugenyl acetate, caryophyllene.   Clove leaf: eugenol ( up to 90 Percent), little or no eugenyl acetate ( the leaf oil is ued by the chemical industry to extract eugenol).   Clove stem: eugenol (up to 95 percent) , with other minor constituents.


Analgesic, antibiotic, anti-emetic, antirheumatic, anti-neuralgic, antispasmodic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, carminative, expectorant, larvicidal, stimulant, sto,achic, vermifugal.

Aroma therapeutic Uses.

Although some aroma therapists use clove bud oil on the skin for conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot and as an insect repellent, I would not recommend this.   However, it can be used in a vaporizer as a room scent or fumigant, or as a first-aid measure for toothache while awaiting dental treatment.


Clove oil is highly irritating to skin and mucous membranes.   Therefore, it is advisable for the home user to avoid skin applications and steam inhalations of any type of clove oil.   However, it can be used in a vaporizer as pa fumigant or room scent.

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