Image Source: / artur84

Image Source: / artur84

Essential Oil Research – Benefits Of Clove

Continuing my series of articles about the benefits of essential oils, this week I’m focusing on the benefits of clove essential oil, a lovely, aromatic, exotic oil.

I have previously referenced the fascinating 2014 report titled Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View 1, but the information contained therein bears repeating.  As of February 2014, 135 research papers have been written about the anti-cancer properties of essential oils.  Of those 135 papers, 117 were written after 2005, which definitely indicates the increase of interest in essential oils.

Research indicates that clove is known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, analgesic, antimutagenic, antigenotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Only recently, however, has clove been studied for its anti-cancer potential.

Research on Clove Essential Oil and Breast Cancer

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum L.) is one of the oils that has been studied on actual breast cancer cell lines and found to be helpful.  A study reported in 2014 2 evaluated the cytotoxic activity of clove against MCF-7 breast cancer cells, which are invasive ductal carcinoma cells exhibiting both estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER+, PR+).  The study utilized several different extracts, including water, ethanol and essential oil.  The essential oil extract provided the highest cytotoxic (that means cell killing) activity against this particular cell line.  The researchers concluded that “Cloves are natural products with excellent cytotoxicity toward MCF-7 cells; thus, they are promising sources for the development of anticancer agents.”

A study reported in 2013 3 indicated that eugenol, the most prevalent phytochemical within clove, increased apoptosis (planned cell death, a good thing), decreased a protein coding gene known as E2F1 or survivin, inhibited cell proliferation, inhibited oncoproteins known to be highly expressed in breast cancer cells and tissues, and it did this both in vitro (in test tubes) and in vivo (in the body).  The really exciting part about this research study, however, was that they tested various breast cancer cell lines, including triple negative, and found that eugenol exhibited anti-cancer effects on both estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells. Eugenol was found not to be toxic to normal, healthy cells.

A 2012 study 4 indicated that eugenol not only had the ability to inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis (both features which are lacking with cancer cells), it also exhibited the ability to inhibit estrogen, making it similar or even better than tamoxifen and its metabolites for inhibiting estrogen.  Did you get that?  A NATURAL ANTI-ESTROGEN AGENT!

Having said that, I always say that healing from breast cancer is about more than just blocking the body’s own estrogen, a hormone we need in our bodies. There are many other ways to heal from breast cancer than suppressing a hormone that does so much for our health. Find out what some of those things are via my free newsletters – you can sign up for them from any page on my site.

Other Studies on Clove’s Anti-Cancer Effects

Another 2014 study  5 indicated that clove “can be explored as a viable source of bioactives for the development of chemotherapeutic drugs against cancer in addition to acting as nutraceutical and functional food ingredient.” This study found that the phenols found in clove were anti-mutagenic and highly antioxidant, making clove a valuable chemotherapeutic agent (that means cancer preventative).

A Chinese study also reported in 2014 6 investigated the anti-tumor effects of clove on colon tumors, specifically an ethyl acetate extract of cloves (which the first study referenced at 2 below also utilized and found was inferior to the essential oil of clove). They also tested oleanolic acid, one of the constituents of clove, and found the ethyl acetate extract to be superior to oleanolic acid, as well as superior to the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil at suppressing growth of colon tumor xenografts. The study found clove inhibited tumor growth, promoted cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.

Exciting research, is it not?

I am not telling you to cure your breast cancer using essential oils. I would certainly not rely upon essential oils alone to do that job. But in combination with a holistic regimen of nutrition and other lifestyle changes, together with chemotherapy and radiation (should you choose to go that route) I believe that essential oils can be an extremely beneficial healing tool and chemopreventive aid.

You can read my other articles on essential oil research by clicking this link.


1.  Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View –

2.  Anticancer Potential of Syzygium Aromaticum L. in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines –

3.  Eugenol Triggers Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells Through E2f1/Survivin Down-regulation –

4. Structure-based Design of Eugenol Analogs as Potential Estrogen Receptor Antagonists –

5.  In Vitro Antimutagenic, Antioxidant Activities and Total Phenolics of Clove (Syzygium Aromaticum L.) Seed Extracts –

6.  Clove Extract Inhibits Tumor Growth and Promotes Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis –

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