Natural and Organic Skin Care

The Wonderful World of Cloves

Clove essential oil comes from the flower buds of the Myrtacae tree or bush (of the Myrtle family).  It is an evergreen that grows up to 39 feet.  The English name clove is derived from the Latin clavus meaning nail because of their nail-like shape.  The oil is steam distilled from the bud and stems which results in an oil high in the phenol eugenol.  Phenols are the most powerful antibacterial, anti-infectious, antiseptic, anti-viral and germicidal constituents in the all of the plant world.  They are stimulating to the nervous and immune system, and are very oxygenating.  Clove oil is a natural analgesic (relieve pain) and antiseptic (relieve infection) and is often used in dentistry.

Clove oil is great at safely numbing a baby’s sore gums. Simply dilute three drops of clove oil in one-fourth teaspoon of olive or coconut oil and massage the liquid onto your baby’s gums.  It is always advisable to test it on your gums before using it on your baby. If it is found to be too strong, you may dilute it further.

Be sure that your child does not ingest large quantities. Clove oil being an anesthetic, can numb the gums for some time, thereby providing relief for the baby and relieve the tension that often builds around the family during this difficult time of life. However, make sure to apply small amounts, as it can upset the stomach if ingested in large amounts. The concentration of clove oil must be very low, because this oil can cause blistering of the gums, if used undiluted.

If your gums hurt – or if you’ve burned your mouth with hot food or drink , try applying the same mixture (three drops of clove oil to one-fourth teaspoon of olive or coconut oil) to the irritated area.  Adding water to the mixture makes a great mouth rinse as well.

Clove oil can also relieve toothaches.  Simply soak a cotton ball in a mixture of three drops of clove oil and one-fourth teaspoon of olive or coconut oil and place directly on the tooth.  Hold the soaked cotton ball close to your aching tooth.  Make sure to visit the dentist to uncover the source of discomfort.

Some uses for clove outside of teething and tooth pain is for pulling out infections from tissues, flatulence, flu, bad breath, insect bites and stings, nausea, nettles and poison oak (takes out sting), and is known to remove the desire to smoke (by placing oil from finger to tongue).  Its aroma may help improve memory as well as create a feeling of protection and courage.  Clove is also an immune stimulant, and does wonders in the kitchen.

This summer a friend shared her secret to a fly free summer.   Pierce 20 cloves into a ripe apple and keep it close to you.  Fly’s dislike the scent of cloves, and stay away!

Carrie Ibbetson RDH

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