As the weather gets chillier, I like to focus on warming plants/oils such as clove. Native to the Maluku Islands, clove has antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic properties. In addition to its medicinal uses, particularly in Traditional Chinese Medicine, clove also has notable culinary uses as a spice. Clove buds grow on tall, evergreen trees and are picked before blooming and then sun-dried.
Clove oil is most famously used to soothe toothaches. However, clove oil should not be used to treat the pain associated with root canals as this can cause further inflammation. Soothe a toothache by placing a cotton ball with a few drops of clove over the affected area. Clove oil can also be mixed into zinc oxide and used as an analgesic paste or even as a periodontal tooth paste. For a less urgent oral application of clove, mix a couple drops into several ounces of water and use as a mouthwash/breath freshener.
Clove's fiery properties have a wonderful effect on the skin and muscles when used topically. Due to the potency of clove essential oil, it should never be used undiluted on the skin but instead should be mixed into a carrier oil such as jojoba. Add a few drops to a foot bath to revive tired feet. Used in a massage oil, clove helps stimulate the immune system, circulation and soreness. Clove oil is often combined with bergamot, cardamom, cinamon and/or mandarin to create aromatic, warming and healing massages oils.
Due to its stimulating quality, clove essential oil also has aromatherapeutic benefits which improve mental and respiratory functions. Place two drops on a tissue and inhale to enhance concentration. For clearing airways, breathing more easily and healing colds, use a couple drops of clove and myrtle while inhaling steam.
Clove also has a scent which is simultaneously cozy and exotic. Although associated with the holidays, pomanders are a great way to enjoy the purifying aroma of clove yearlong. You can also make your own old skool cologne by mixing and shaking together well 1 pint of alcohol, 20 drops each of bergamot and clove essential oils. Age the mixture for four months and then spritz away!
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Guyton, Anita. The Book of Natural Beauty. London: Stanley Paul & Co. Ltd., 1981.
Harding, Jennie. The Essential Oils Handbook. London: Watkins Publishing, 2008.
Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. San Rafael, CA: New World Library, 1991.