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Clove is harvested from the evergreen clove tree. It is basically a flower bud that turns bright red in color from green. It generally reaches the height of 1.5 to 2 cm long before it is harvested. It has quite a pretty appearance with a long calyx, that spreads into four sepals with a small ball in the center, and develops an aromatic smell and flavor as it begins to dry. Full of health benefits, clove oil is used abundantly. It has antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, and stimulating properties. It is a rich source of many vital vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, hydrochloric acid, sodium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Clove oil is extracted from its stem, leaves and buds. Water distillation is usually the process involved in extraction. The primary component of clove oil is eugenol; a member of class of chemical compounds. The oil is mostly colorless or pale yellow. There are three types of clove oil.

• Stem Oil: Extracted from the stems and twigs.
• Leaf Oil: Extracted from the evergreen leaves of the clove plant.
• Bud Oil: Extracted from the clove's flower buds.
Various Uses of Clove Oil
Clove oil properties make this a very popular essential oil in the preparation of many Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines. Modern medicines too use this oil for its analgesic and anti-bacterial qualities. Following are the uses of this wonderful oil.
Dental Care
The adage, 'use clove oil for tooth pain' completely stands true. Its germicidal properties and the compound eugenol, help relieve tooth pain, sore gums, and mouth ulcers, while gargling eases throat ache. Placing a piece of soft cloth dipped in clove oil inside the tooth socket helps relieve pain and reduces the chances of inflammation.
The pungent smell so characteristic of clove oil is used for refreshing bad breath. It is a primary component used in many dental care products like mouthwashes, toothpastes, gargling solutions, and tooth pain medications.
Blood Purifier
Clove oil's antimicrobial and antiseptic properties help purify the blood by inhibiting the development of infections. As it's a stimulant too, it's used in medications and herbal preparations to boost metabolism and the immune system, by increasing blood circulation. Diabetics who use it as a part of their treatment, swear by its blood sugar controlling properties. Antiviral properties help keep infections and diseases at bay. Immune boosting and blood purifying syrups make use of this oil.
Skin Care
Its antiseptic and aromatic properties make it a vital ingredient in many skin care products; cosmetic and reparative. Emollients and lotions make use of clove oil to heal and soothe skin conditions like cuts, bruises, wounds, prickly heat rashes, and a variety of fungal infections. The oil, when combined with other essential oils, can be used for massaging the skin. Acne is treated effectively with creams, face washes, and soaps that make use of clove oil.
A word of caution is, as the oil is very strong, it should not be directly applied to the face. Either dilute it or combine it with other oils. Being strong, improper use can cause dermatitis and can irritate the skin and its mucus membranes.
Indigestion
One of its many uses is for treating indigestion. Clove oil's analgesic and stimulating properties help in treatment of many stomach-related conditions like motion sickness, indigestion, hiccups, flatulence, and feeling of nausea and vomiting. To rule out indigestion, it is very widely used all over Asia as a culinary spice.
Other Uses
A mix of some salt and clove oil drops helps relieve headaches. Warm clove oil dropped into the ears will ease earache. Clove oil when applied with a cotton swab on eyelashes will help to reduce inflammation and heal the infection. People suffering from cough, cold, bronchitis, sinusitis, and asthma can use it infused in hot water to relieve nasal and chest congestion.
Although clove oil uses are abundant and very effective, it is advisable to consult a doctor on its proper usage and dosage, especially when it has to be used by pregnant women and infants. And always remember to dilute the oil before use!