Clove, a herb cultivated in parts of Asia, Africa and Brazil, is commonly used in various cuisines for its fragrance and flavor. Several healing qualities have been associated with it. Its oil, also known as eugenol, has been used as a local anesthetic, an analgesic and an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory solution. It is also known to be a dental pain reliever. However, certain side effects of clove oil are important to note.


According to Medline Plus, a subset of the National Institutes of Health, certain individuals have reported allergies to clove oil. These include cases of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions. The symptoms of an allergic reaction include shortness of breath, rashes and itching. In the case of clove oil, an allergic reaction may take place when it is applied to the skin or in the mouth during dental procedures.


According to laboratory research by Creighton University School of Medicine, clove oil can possibly cause an increased risk of bleeding. This is why it is not advised for patients who have bleeding disorders or those who are already taking drugs with the possible side effect of bleeding. For this reason, avoid cloves and eugenol before undergoing surgery.

Hazards of Undiluted Clove Oil

When undiluted clove oil is consumed in large doses it can be hazardous. It may cause sore throat, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, seizures, fluid in the lungs, bleeding disorders and in extreme cases, kidney and liver damage. If you have a kidney or liver disorder you should avoid undiluted clove oil entirely.

Risk for Children

The most serious side effects of clove oil have been seen in infants and young children. Even small doses can be dangerous for children. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from clove oil.

Interaction with Other Products

Because clove oil can have several side effects, you must be careful about using it along with certain other drugs, herbs and dietary supplements. Taken orally, clove oil can reduce blood sugar levels, do diabetics taking medication to reduce blood sugar should beware clove oil.

Furthermore, clove oil can reduce the ability to feel and react to pain. Therefore, if you are already taking a pain-reduction product, such as capsaicin cream or lidocaine/prilocaine cream (EMLA), be aware that their effects might be exaggerated.

References and Resources

Medline Plus
Clove Oil Side Effects