Cloves

Clove that itch

Clove oil comes from the dried flower buds of the clove tree, a highly aromatic Asian tropical evergreen. Although cloves are believed to have been among the first spices ever traded, we are still learning about this plant and its actions in humans. In fact, a new study from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research suggests that clove oil might be the answer to an itchy problem from Australia’s top end.

The most widely known use of clove oil is as a reliever of toothache. In this capacity it is well studied and has proven to be highly effective. It is also known to improve oral hygiene, so much so that during the Han Dynasty (207 BC to AD 220) those who spoke to the Chinese Emperor were required to hold cloves in their mouth to mask bad breath. In the most recent research however, it is the anti-microbial activities of clove oil that have been highlighted.

Scabies is an itchy rash cased by the scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabei) which burrows under the skin to lay eggs. The mite is becoming increasingly resistant to treatments, especially in northern parts of Australia where scabies is common.

Essential oils are well known to kill animal parasites such as ticks and mites. So these researchers decided to test clove oil, nutmeg oil, and ylang ylang oil against scabies mites. Clove oil was found to kill all mites within fifteen minutes.

The researchers then tested eugenol, which makes up 80 per cent of clove oil, against the scabies mites and found that it was comparable to existing treatments for scabies.

At the least clove oil will be a handy assistant in treating this troublesome disease. If you are heading north for a spot of camping then it won’t hurt to have some clove oil in the first aid kit. Even if you don’t come down with scabies or some other itchy bug, you might break a tooth eating toffee on the first night and you never know when a Chinese Emperor might drop by.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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