Cloves, also known as clove oil, have been used orally for stomach upset, for its antiplatelet effect, and as an expectorant. Cloves may also be used topically for pain relief from mouth and throat inflammation as well as athlete's foot. Its constituent, eugenol, has long been used topically for toothache, but the FDA has classified this drug into category III, meaning there is inadequate data to support efficacy (Covington et al. 1996). More evidence is necessary to rate clove for this purpose.

Topically, clove can cause tissue irritation and in some people even allergic dermatitis (Kanerva et al. 1996). Moreover, repeated oral application may result in gingival damage and skin and mucous membrane irritation (Covington et al. 1996, Robbers and Tyler 1999).

The eugenol constituent in clove may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding in some people who are concomitantly using herbs such as garlic, ginger, Ginkgo, and white willow bark (Chen et al. 1996). Likewise, patients taking antiplatelet agents such as aspirin, clopido-grel, dipyridamole, ticlopidine, heparin, and warfarin may also experience an increased risk of bleeding.

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