Medicinal effects of eugenol are wide ranging and include being a powerful antioxidant with antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic and disinfectant properties. Eugenol is used in dental and oral hygiene preparations including mouthwashes. It has a pleasant scent and spicy taste and is used in perfumes and cooking.
Eugenol has been shown to moderate blood sugar and lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. As a vasodilator it helps reduce blood pressure.
Eugenol is found in plants, especially those of the clove family. Nearly 50% of clove essential oil is comprised of eugenol.
Eugenol, is found in several essential oils including:
- Bay leaf
Scientific Research on the Medicinal Effects of Eugenol
Eugenol has been studied extensively and has many beneficial properties. Here are a small sampling of the medical research that has been done on eugenol.
Antimicrobal Medicinal Effects of Eugenol
An article (Activity of thymol, carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol on oral bacteria) in the European journal of pharmaceutical sciences, Pharmaceutica Acta Helvetiae, reported on the antimicrobial activity of several natural compounds including eugenol (alone and in combination). These compounds were tested against bacteria associated with dental caries.
The results showed that “eugenol shows the best antimicrobial properties when combined with thymol or carvacrol.” The authors concluded that these combinations would be appropriate to fight oral infectious diseases.
Analgesic Medicinal Effects of Eugenol
A article (The Analgesic Effects and Mechanisms of Orally Administered Eugenol) in the Archives of Pharmacal Research reported on the antinociceptive (pain blocking) properties of eugenol. The investigators looked at both models of nerve pain and pain caused by inflammation.
The results showed that “eugenol administered orally produces antinociception [pain blockage] in various pain models.”
Antioxidant Medicinal Effects of Eugenol
An article (Identification of volatile components in basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and thyme leaves (Thymus vulgaris L.) and their antioxidant properties) in the journal Food Chemistry describes tests of antioxidant activity in several compounds. The study determined the concentrations of the chemical components of thyme were required to suppress organic oxidation.
The results show that Eugenol suppressed more than twice as much organic oxidation as Thymol, Carvacrol or 4-Allylphenol at a concentration of 1 µg/mL. And, at 5 µg/mL the suppression rates for Eugenol, Thymol, Carvacrol and 4-Allylphenol were nearly identical. In fact, eugenol showed superior suppression over vitamin E (α-tocopherol) at all analyzed concentrations. The authors concluded that “Major aroma compounds found in volatile extracts of basil and thyme exhibited varying amounts of anti-oxidative activity. In particular, eugenol, thymol, carvacrol and 4-allylphenol, found in basil and thyme, exhibited potent antioxidant activity, comparable to the known antioxidants, BHT and α-tocopherol.”
Ongoing Studies of the Medicinal Effects of Eugenol
Most current studies center around dental research. As of this writing, here are several proposed studies.
- Endodontic Medications for Irreversible Pulpitis: Articaine or Eugenol? [Pulpitis is an inflammation of dental pulp tissue.]
- Root Canal Treatment in Primary Molars With Necrotic Pulp Using Two Different Pulp Therapies [In this study eugenol is a component of both pulp therapies.]
- Influence of the Composition of Temporary Restorative Material in Vital Teeth
The medicinal effects of eugenol are well documented and further research will show additional medical benefits.