Eugenol is a polyprophene with the molecular formula C10H12O2. It is known by various other names such as Eugenic acid, caryophillic acid and allylguaiacol.

It is the major constituent of Clove oil. Eugenol is extracted mainly from the essential oils of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil and bay leaf. Clove is the rich source of Eugenol and in Clove bud oil, it exists to an extent of 80-90% and in Clove leaf oil, it is present to an extent of 82-88%.

Eugenol is also present in the plants wormwood, lemon balm, turmeric, hyssop, oregano, Japanese star anise, dill, vanilla, Bay laurel, Pimenta racemosa, greater galangal, marjoram and celery.

Attributes of Eugenol:

Eugenol is a colorless to light yellow viscous liquid and owns a strong spicy smell, which is indigenous to clove.

As a fragrant and flavoring agent:

It is used to enhance fragrances in perfumes. Eugenol is used in cosmetics as a fragrant additive and denaturants. It is also used in formulation of soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, bath products, after shave lotions, skin and hair care products. Eugenol also serves as a flavoring agent.

As a food preservative:

Clove is used as a food preservative and the ability of clove to prevent the food from spoiling is mainly due to the presence of Eugenol in it. The activity of Lactobacillus sakei and Listeria Monocytogenes present in food are greatly reduced by Eugenol.

Therapeutic uses:

Eugenol has many therapeutic uses as it exhibits anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.

As an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory:

As Eugenol is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, it is used in dentistry to destroy the germs and relieve the pain in teeth and gums during tooth extractions, fillings and root canal treatment.  It is combined with zinc peroxide to form a filling in root canal treatment and is also used as a local anesthetic in dentistry.

According to the study titled,” Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of eugenol in experimental animal models”, it had been found that eugenol has anti-inflammatory and peripheral antinociceptive activities. The anti-inflammatory activity was evaluated by carrageenan-induced paw edema tests in rats.

Anti-microbial and antifungal properties:

Eugenol possesses antimicrobial and antifungal properties and so it fights against bacteria and reduce the growth of various fungi including Candida albicans. So it is used to fight numerous fungal infections in the skin, ears and vagina. Further, it is also mainly responsible for the antifungal activity of clove oil.

According to a study named,” Eugenol (an essential oil of clove) acts as an antibacterial agent against Salmonella typhi by disrupting the cellular membrane”, the antibacterial property of Eugenol against the bacteria Salmonella typhi was evaluated. Eugenol when treated on Salmonella typhi completely inactivated the bacteria within 60 minutes of exposure.

In the study “Antimicrobial activities of Eugenol and Cinnamaldehyde against the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori”, it was found that Eugenol is very efficient against the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for gastric diseases such as gastritis, peptic ulcer and gastric malignancy.

According to the study titled “Investigation on mechanism of antifungal activity of eugenol against Trichophyton rubrum”, the antifungal activity of eugenol against Trichophyton rubrum was examined and it was found that eugenol inhibited the growth of Trichophyton rubrum, mycelia growth and conidial germination.

Thus, eugenol is effective against Trichophyton rubrum which is responsible for dermatophytosis.

Anti-cancer properties:

In the research article, “Eugenol Enhances the Chemotherapeutic Potential of Gemcitabine and Induces Anticarcinogenic and Anti-inflammatory Activity in Human Cervical Cancer Cells “, it was made clear that Eugenol exhibits anticancer properties.

Anti-ulcerogenic properties:

In the study” Preventive effect of eugenol on PAF and ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damage”, the anti-ulcerogenic effect of eugenol was examined and it was found that eugenol pretreatment inhibits platelet activating factor and ethanol that were induced on Gastric ulcers. Eugenol reduces the number of ulcers and the gravity of lesions.

Anti-oxidant properties: 

Eugenol is a very effective fat-soluble anti-oxidant which inhibits the fat peroxide to accumulate in red blood cells and helps the anti-oxidant enzymes of the body to act at normal level.

In the research article” Assessment of antioxidant activity of eugenol in vitro and in vivo”, the antioxidant activity of eugenol was examined and it was found that it exhibits antioxidant activity by granting protection against free radical mediated lipid peroxidation.

Prevents Cardio-vascular diseases:

Due to its strong antimicrobial properties, Eugenol is one of the efficient blood purifiers. It inhibits the abnormal clotting of blood platelets and it protects the body from cardio-vascular diseases.


Eugenol serves as an insecticide to destroy pests found mainly in homes and gardens.

Reference Links:

  1. Eugenol by Wikipedia
  2. Biologic properties of eugenol and zinc oxide-eugenol: A clinically oriented review
  3. Investigation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and DNA-protective properties of eugenol in thioacetamide-induced liver injury in rats.
  4. Antifungal Activity of Eugenol and Various Eugenol-Containing Essential Oils against 38 Clinical Isolates of Candida albicans
  5. Antimicrobial activities of Eugenol and Cinnamaldehyde against the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori