Should You Use Clove Oil for Toenail Fungus?

Clove Oil for Toenail Fungus

Clove has a long and impressive history by ancient cultures. It was notable that the Han Dynasty Chinese Emperors required those who addressed him to chew cloves to freshen their breath. Cloves were also a very profitable resource during the Middle Ages in the Indian Ocean trade.

The Clove tree grows all year round and flowers blossom in late summer and winter. The buds are usually hand-picked and dried, giving them a distinct brown color. Each bud of a clove flower is composed of 10 – 20% essential oil, and other parts wood.

What is Clove Oil?

Clove oil, or Oil of clove or Clove Essential Oil, is an essential oil that is extracted from the clove tree, known as Syzygium aromaticum, which is native to Southeast Asia and South America. Clove oil contains large quantities of Eugenol, the main chemical compound, which is responsible for its strong fragrance and medicinal use. Other chemical compounds contained in smaller quantities in clove oil include caryophyllene, methyl salicylate, and vanillin.

Different types of clove oil

Clove oil is derived from three main sources:

  • Clove Buds. Oil extracted from the flower-buds of S. aromaticum which contains 60–90% eugenol, acetyl eugenol, caryophyllene, and other minor constituents.
  • Clove Leaf. Oil extracted from the leaves of S. aromaticum which contains 82–88% eugenol with little or no eugenyl acetate, and minor constituents.
  • Clove Stem. Oil extracted from twigs of S. aromaticum which contains 90–95% eugenol, with other minor constituents.

How clove oil is made

Clove oil is prepared by placing the desired clove part (buds, leaf, stem) in a dark jar, pouring olive oil into the jar and sealing the lid tightly. The cloves and the olive oil are then allowed to sit in a cool dark place for about a week to allow the clove essence to gradually be extracted by the olive oil. Source.

Health Benefits of Clove Oil


Traditionally, clove oil has been used to relieve toothache in parts of China, South Korea, and India. The oil is applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth or tooth socket remaining after extraction and was noted to be very effective in the relief of toothache temporarily. This property was later found out to be primarily by Eugenol

A study in 2006, which compared the effects of Eugenol and Benzocaine on relief of toothache found that people who were given these compounds instead of placebos reported significantly lower pain scores. The study concluded that Clove oil (Eugenol) could have anesthetic properties.

As Antimicrobial

Clove oil was found to have the ability to kill staphylococcus aureus bacteria growing in liquid culture and biofilm in a 2012 study by researchers from the University of Buenos Aires. This study also demonstrated that clove oil was more potent than many antibiotics which did not have the ability to penetrate biofilms. A biofilm is a colony of growing microorganisms protected by a slimy material.

Mosquito Repellant

Clove oil can be applied on the skin directly to repel mosquitoes for up to 5 hours according to research by Dayan, Cantrell, and Duke in 2009 who reported that clove oil is a rapid-acting insecticide that is effective on arthropod pests, armyworms, thrips, aphids, and mites.

Reduce Acne

Clove Oil acts as a natural remedy to eliminate acne. It acts by killing the bacteria S.aureus which is implicated in the pathogenesis of Acne. Clove oil can be mixed with Honey or Aloe Vera to make face ointments that are very capable of dealing with Acne.

Help to control Blood Pressure

Eugenol was found to play a role in dilating major arteries in the body and causing the systemic blood pressure to decrease (Which is how most anti-hypertensive medications work) according to research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2015 The study concludes, “Eugenol may be therapeutically useful as an antihypertensive agent.” Source

Using Clove oil for Toenail fungus

One of the most potent uses of clove oil is fighting toenail fungus caused by candida and other fungi. To use clove oil to treat your toenail fungus;

  • Apply around half a dozen (6) drops to the affected area, on clean and dry feet, and blend into the skin using clean hands.
  • Leave the mixture to soak in naturally before putting anything on your feet like socks or shoes. This should only take a minute or two.
  • Repeat this application two or three times per day.
  • If the nail is rising from the nail bed, or you have broken or painful skin around the nail, dilute the mixture with two tablespoons of coconut or olive oil.
  • If you wish, or if you have multiple infected nails, you can also try a foot soak. Simply fill a bowl with warm (not hot) water, add a few drops of clove oil, and leave your feet to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this once per day, in addition to the above treatment.
  • Following this simple regime should quickly fix the problem, but bear in mind that if it doesn’t, you could have an underlying issue that is causing your fungal problem.

Adverse Effects.


In Australia, clove oil is one of the many essential oils that have been increasingly causing cases of poisoning, mostly of children.

Liver Problems

Eugenol, the major component, is hepatotoxic and may cause damage to the liver.

Interaction with Blood Thinning Medications

Eugenol is known to slow down blood clotting and interact with blood-thinning medications such as Warfarin, Pradaxa, and Heparin and one should not use clove oil if on such drugs.

Disturbing Normal Gut Bacteria

Clove oil’s strong antibiotic property means that it can also destroy healthy gut bacteria, and the use of a probiotic is usually necessary after consuming clove oil.

Skin Irritation

Clove oil can cause skin irritation in some people. If you’re concerned about your sensitivity to clove oil, test it first. To do this, apply a small amount of diluted clove oil to the inside of your elbow. Source

How to Buy Good Quality Clove Oil for Toenail Fungus

Whether you’re buying clove oil at your local supermarket or online, be sure to look out for good quality clove oil. Here are some basic things to look out for:


  • Oil Purity – Good Quality clove oil can be 100% pure or less, as seen in diluted or extracted with other oils such as Olive or Coconut oil, and good manufacturers mention this clearly. If you need 100% clove oil, check the label or product information table to confirm before purchase.
  • Clove Part used – As mentioned earlier, different clove parts such as leaves, flower buds, and trees have varying concentrations of Eugenol content. This means that while your clove oil might be 100% pure, it could be less or more potent depending on the part of the clove plant that was used for its extraction. Be sure to look out for this
  • Appropriate Packaging – Clove oil, like other essential oils, can be damaged by light and should be ideally packaged in dark-colored sunproof containers or bottles.
  • Reviews – This is only important if you’re buying clove oil online. Check to see if the oil has good reviews from other people who have used it.

The Bottomline

Using Clove Oil for Toenail Fungus has become a common practice with good to great results. This means you should have some of this super oil present – not only for toenail fungus but also for the many other health benefits it has.

And if you have used Clove Oil for several months and your problem persists or returns more than once, it’s recommended that you see your doctor.

Don’t forget to get rid of shoes that have the nasty fungus in the first place!

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