Clove oil for autumn

An article about using clove oil for autumn months. A quick introduction provided by certified aromatherapist Sharon Falsetto Chapman.

Clove (Syzigium aromaticum) is one of several traditional spice oils that are suitable for the autumn months. Autumn brings to fore those muddy, earthy, warm aromas from leaf-kicking walks to steaming beverages by the fire. Clove has a warming, spicy, sweet aroma which, as a base note oil, is great to combine with sweet notes such as sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) This makes clove oil for autumn an ideal choice!

But clove essential oil has a dark side too and should be used with caution. Let’s take a closer look at clove and find out how to use it for the colder autumn months.

Botany of Clove

Clove is an ancient tree which has been cultivated for over 2,000 years; it is thought to be a native tree of Indonesia. 

The clove tree is a tall, evergreen tree, of the Myrtaceae plant family, which grows up to 39 feet in height; it has a gray trunk, which is smooth, and paired, large leaves on short stalks. The cloves of the clove tree are produced from the mature, red buds which appear in the rainy season; the cloves are “beaten” from the tree and dried.

Clove Essential Oil 

There are various varieties of clove essential oil available; clove is distilled into clove bud, clove leaf and clove stem essential oils but it is often clove bud essential oil which is of greatest value in aromatherapy use, as it contains the lowest percentage of the chemical component eugenol. To further confusion, all three clove essential oils share the same botanical name, so it is important to identify which part of the plant the oil was extracted from.

Clove essential oil is distilled in the following ways:

  • clove bud essential oil is water distilled from the buds of the clove tree
  • clove leaf essential oil is water distilled from the leaves of the clove tree
  • clove stem essential oil is steam distilled from the stalks or stems of the clove tree.

Clove bud essential oil is yellow in color with a sweet-spice fragrance; clove leaf essential oil is brown in color with a wood fragrance. Clove stem essential oil is a “combination” of both clove bud and clove leaf characteristics; clove stem oil is also yellow in color but with a wood fragrance.

Traditional Use of Clove

Clove has been in use for thousands of years in many shapes and forms, before its use as an essential oil in aromatherapy today; clove was considered to be one of the most valuable commodities in 16th and 17th century Europe. It has been used as a culinary spice and in tinctures for skin problems, digestive complaints, toothache, and childbirth.

Clove oil has been used in Chinese medicine for bronchitis, diarrhea, and hernia. Clove has powerful antiseptic properties and was used in the outbreak of the Plague in Europe; clove has also been used in perfume, liqueurs, mulled wine, dental products, and love potions.

Use of Clove in Aromatherapy

Clove essential oil is antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-biotic, a stimulant, an expectorant and an aphrodisiac. It is used in aromatherapy to treat digestive problems, exhaustion, infection, burns, cuts, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and colds.  Clove oil has also been used as an insect repellent, especially for mosquitoes.

Clove Oil for Autumn 

If you want to take advantage of the uses of this spicy oil for the autumn months, try some of the following suggestions:

  • Diffuse in an aromatherapy diffuser combined with sweet orange and cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) essential oils. Pay attention to the aromatherapy diffuser’s manufacturer instructions before using and check the cautions below. Diffuse for short bursts of time (no more than 20 minutes) in a well-ventilated area.
  • Try making some of these pumpkin-spice aromatherapy blends for autumn!
  • Use clove essential oil in a digestive blend with dill (Anethum graveolens), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and lemon (Citrus limon) essential oils. Blend at total of 2% dilution in an unfragranced white lotion base, paying attention to cautions and contra-indications for use for each essential oil.

Cautions for using Clove Essential Oil

Clove essential oil can cause, or irritate, skin problems such as dermatitis. Avoid use of clove essential oil in cases of hemophilia, alcoholism, prostate cancer, kidney problems, liver problems and in conjunction with the use of anti-coagulants. Clove essential oil should be used in less than 1% dilution due to its active chemical components.

All varieties of clove essential oil can cause reactions, but clove bud essential oil is considered to be the least irritable due to the chemistry of the essential oil (lesser eugenol content). As is the case when using any essential oil, care should be taken and professional advice sought, if unfamiliar with the use of essential oils and the potential risks they may present to each individual.

Learn More About Essential Oils

If you enjoyed this article and would like to discover how to blend essential oils safely, enroll in our Certificate in Community Aromatherapy Program where we have a ton of resources to help you!

About the Author:

The author of this article has been working in the health care industry since the 1990’s and in the aromatherapy industry since the 2000’s. She is a UK-certified aromatherapist, a NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist®, a gardener, and a certified herbalist with several years of study. She is also a botanical perfumer, working on launching her first fragrance line.

Sharon is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, and custom blend formulator. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. Sharon works from her garden studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she gardens and distills plants from her own aromatic gardens, surrounded by natural fauna and flora on an original pioneer homestead property.



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