By Gaye Levy
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
It has happened to all of us: It is the weekend, you are miles away from civilization, and your tooth starts to hurt. The pain is excruciating and has become so bad you can not eat, drink, concentrate, or get through the normal day-to-day activities of life. If it is night time, you can’t sleep either. A trip to the ER is not practical and, of course, what dentist is open for business on the weekend?
Let me let you in on a secret: You can temporarily mitigate the pain and suffering of a toothache with with the oil of clove, an inexpensive and readily available essential oil commonly referred to as clove oil or clove bud oil.
Not only is clove essential oil an amazing natural intervention for dental pain, there are many other ways to benefit from using it, for both home and health…
How to Mitigate Dental Pain with Clove Oil
Here is what you need to do.
- Put a few drops of clove oil on a cotton ball, place the ball on your sore tooth and bite down. Keep you 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), water, and salt into a cup. Swish this around in your mouth for about a minute and spit 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.
Just so you know, I did not come up with this pain-relieving trick on my own. While on vacation, I was experiencing major dental woes. When I got home, my dentist had one piece of advice for me: always travel with a small bottle of inexpensive clove oil. In addition, he told me he was such a proponent of clove oil that he frequently used it with patients to provide preliminary numbing prior to a procedure.
I was convinced and, wanting to learn more, I decided to investigate additional uses for this miracle oil.
The History of Cloves
The use of clove dates back to the Han dynasty (207B.C to 220 A.D.) where it was used to hide bad breath. Anyone approaching the Chinese emperor was required to hold a clove in their mouth for this purpose. Over the years, traditional Chinese medicine has used cloves to treat indigestion, diarrhea, hernias, ringworm, 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 it was used to treat gout. Once cloves became more readily available in Europe, they were used in a manner similar to traditional Chinese medicine. Europeans used cloves to treat indigestion, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. 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. In fact, Americans were the first to extract the oil from cloves and use it to treat the gums and 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, anesthetic, digestive stimulant expectorant, aromatic, antispasmodic, astringent and accounts for its various uses.
20 Ways to Benefit from Clove Oil
Since my first experience using clove oil for dental pain, I have incorporated cloves and clove essential oil into other aspects of daily life. Here is a list of 20 ways you can benefit from clove essential oil, for home and health.
1. 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. You can also use an essential oil diffuser to automatically mist clove oil in the air.
2. Taming ‘Doggie Destructo’: You can discourage puppy chewing by dabbing the most likely targets (wood moldings, 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. This worked with Tucker the Awesome Wonder Dog (my Yorkie) and he never did develop and penchant for chewing anything but his treats and toys.
3. 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 bug spray. Another thing you can do is plant cloves around the perimeter of your yard to replace the number of bugs that cross into your yard. You can also put some of the oils on your body so bugs 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 given the huge sums that are devoted to the research of toxic pharmacy products. With that said, however, here are some of the reported therapeutic uses of cloves and clove oil:
4. Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal: As an aid for food poisoning, clove oil effectively kills many forms of bacterial infections. Clove is also effective in reducing fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
5. Anti-Inflammatory: 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.
6. Antiseptic: Clove oil can be used to reduce infections, wounds, insect bites and stings.
7. 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.
8. Cardiovascular Health: The active essential oil in clove, eugenol, has been shown to act as a an effective platelet inhibitor, preventing blood clots.
9. Detox from toxic exposure: Some studies show that clove oil can prevent toxicity related to exposure to environmental pollution.
10. 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.
11. Germicidal Properties: Gargling with clove oil can aid in sore throat conditions and bad breath.
12. Improves Blood Circulation: Clove bud oil is one of the ingredients used in Tiger Balm, which is an herbal formulation that dates back to the times of the Chinese emperors. It is used to sooth muscle aches and pains and is though to do so by increasing the blood flow in the affected area.
13. Indigestion: 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.
14. Infections: Due to its antiseptic properties, clove oil is useful for wound, cuts, scabies, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, bruises, prickly heat, scabies, etc. It can also be used for treating insect bites and stings.
15. Mitigate Dental Pain: Clove creates a numbing sensation that becomes a powerful pain reliever for dental pain.
16. Premature Ejaculation: Some research has shown that clove may be useful as an aid for men experiencing premature ejaculation.
17. Relieve Flatulence: A tea made of cloves can relieve the foof’s. 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.
18. Relieves 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.
19. Skin: An aid for skin disorders, such as acne.
20. 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.
How to Make Your Own Clove Oil Infusion
While not as potent as an essential oil, an clove oil infusion is a cinch to make at home for very little cost. (Not that clove essential oil is expensive, but sometimes, it is nice to have a DIY alternative.)
Here is what to do:
Using a mason jar, take 1/8 cup of whole clove buds and cover them with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I recommend using olive oil for its own unique healing qualities, but any high quality oil will work.
Cover the jar and set it in a warm place such as the top of the refrigerator, next to the fireplace, or a sunny window sill. Every couple of days, give the jar a good shake. At the end of two weeks, strain the cloves from the oil and you are all set.
This clove oil infusion makes a fantastic carrier oil to mix with other essential oils or herbs when creating your own salves, such as my DIY ‘Miracle’ Healing Salve recipe.
What about “Thieves” or “Bandit” Blends?
According to the Essential Oils Desk Reference, “cloves were reputed to be part of the “Marseilles Vinegar” or “Four Thieves Vinegar” that bandits who robbed the dead and dying used to protect themselves during the 15th century plague.” These days, there are many popular thieves-type blends put out by essential oils companies. I personally use the Spark Naturals Shield Blend, but you can also make your own using this recipe:
DIY Shield or Thieves/Robbers Blend
- 45 drops clove essential oil
- 35 drops lemon essential oil
- 25 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 20 drops cinnamon essential oil
- 10 drops rosemary essential oil
Combine the all essential oils and store in a dark 15 ml glass bottle.
The Final Word
Clove oil has become an important addition to my first aid kit and is a frequent visitor to my diffuser. There is simply something calming about breathing air that is infused with the smell of cloves!
When selecting the essential oils, be mindful that you want to use 100% pure, undiluted, essential oils. I get mine from Spark Naturals because I feel that they are the best quality I can buy at a reasonable price. (If you are interesting in giving them a try, you will enjoy an extra 10% by using coupon code ‘backdoorsurvival’ at the checkout.)
One caution: please remember that clove oil is very strong in nature and hence should always be used in a diluted form. In addition, if you have sensitive skin, do a patch test first. That said, cloves and clove oil are inexpensive and useful for a variety of purposes and ailments. And for a toothache or dental pain? In my personal view, a dab of clove oil sure beats strong and potentially toxic pharmaceutical pain relievers.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Recommended articles by Gaye Levy:
- Essential Oils 101 – How to Apply Essential Oils for Health and Wellness
- Using Nature’s Remedies for Health and Wellness
- 20 All Purpose Remedies Using Essential Oils
- The Powerful Healing Qualities of Rosemary Essential Oil
- 15 Alternative Uses for Honey
- Vermiculture: How To Build A Worm Bin the Cheap and Easy Way
- 21 Home Remedies for a Toothache Emergency
- The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival
- Creating a Healing Garden: 9 Healing Herbs You Can Grow Yourself
- A Big Fat List of Essential Oils for Health and Survival
- Clean Your Toilets Naturally with DIY Toilet Bombs
About the author:
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software and accounting industries, she abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State.
Through her website, BackdoorSurvival.com, Gaye lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle, speaks her mind, and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times we are living in.
Gaye describes herself as “an ordinary gal trying to make sense of our changing world. I am addicted to prepping, DIY projects, adult coloring books, and ballroom dancing. I live what I call a strategic life, and I believe you should too. Everyone needs to prepare for the worst and live for the best. Won’t you join me?”
You can connect with Gaye through her website Backdoor Survival.com, plus Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And if you sign up to receive Gaye’s email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of her e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.
Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.