What Not To Mix With Clove Oil?

Clove oil is an essential oil extracted from the flower buds of the clove plant (Syzygium aromaticum) [1]. It has a strong, spicy aroma and flavor. Clove oil contains a compound called eugenol which has antiseptic and analgesic properties [2]. It is commonly used in aromatherapy, as a flavoring agent in foods and beverages, and as a natural remedy for dental pain, cough, and other ailments.

While clove oil has many benefits, it can also be dangerous if mixed with certain other substances. Clove oil can interact with other essential oils, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, alcohol, and more. These interactions may enhance the effects of certain drugs to toxic levels. Clove oil may also cause allergic reactions or skin irritation in some people. Using clove oil safely requires awareness of what not to mix it with.

Other Essential Oils

Clove oil should not be mixed with certain other essential oils, as dangerous reactions can occur. Some essential oils that should be avoided when using clove oil include:

  • Citrus oils like lemon, lime, bergamot, and orange – These can cause photosensitivity when combined with clove oil, leading to increased sun sensitivity and risk of burns or rashes on the skin when exposed to UV light [1].
  • Peppermint oil – The menthol in peppermint oil can react with the eugenol in clove oil, irritating skin and mucous membranes [2].
  • Cinnamon bark oil – Both clove and cinnamon bark oils contain high amounts of phenols which can cause skin irritation when mixed [3].
  • Oregano and thyme oils – Like clove and cinnamon, oregano and thyme contain phenolic compounds that may cause skin sensitization when blended [2].

In general, clove oil should not be mixed with other oils high in phenols or menthol, as this increases the risk of skin reactions. It’s best to dilute clove oil properly and avoid combining it with other “hot” or irritating oils.

Prescription Medications

Clove oil can interact dangerously with several types of prescription medications, especially those that affect bleeding and clotting. Taking clove oil along with these medications can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Some examples of prescription medications that interact with clove oil include:

  • Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs like warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, enoxaparin (Lovenox), dabigatran (Pradaxa), apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), and clopidogrel (Plavix). Clove may enhance the blood thinning effects of these medications, raising the risk of bleeding (https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/clove.html).
  • NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib. Clove may increase the risk of bleeding, especially stomach bleeding when combined with NSAIDs (https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/251.html).
  • Medications for diabetes including insulin, metformin, glipizide, and pioglitazone. Clove may cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar when combined with diabetes medications (https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-251/clove).

People taking any of these medications should consult their doctor before using clove oil, as dangerous interactions can occur. Monitoring blood tests may be required to check for enhanced anticoagulant effects.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Clove oil should not be mixed with common over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. According to Drugs.com, 69 medications are known to interact with clove oil. Clove contains a chemical called eugenol which can slow blood clotting. Mixing clove with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin also slow clotting and can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

a warning sign about mixing clove oil and ibuprofen.

Other common OTC drugs that interact with clove oil include acetaminophen, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, nabumetone, piroxicam, and celecoxib. The blood thinning effects of clove oil can be compounded when taken alongside these medications, heightening the risk of bleeding complications.

Herbal Supplements

There are several herbal supplements that can interact negatively with clove oil:

  • Garlic: According to this source, taking clove oil with garlic supplements can increase the risk of bleeding. Garlic has natural blood-thinning effects, so combining it with clove oil, which also thins the blood, can lead to excessive bleeding.
  • Ginger: Combining ginger and clove oil may also increase the risk of bleeding, as ginger has mild blood thinning effects. According to this source, concurrent use can lead to bruising and hemorrhage.
  • Ginkgo: Ginkgo biloba has blood thinning properties and may interact with clove oil in a similar way to garlic and ginger, increasing the risk of bleeding problems.
  • Turmeric: High doses of turmeric combined with clove oil could potentially increase the risk of bleeding, as turmeric contains curcumin which acts as a mild anticoagulant.

Overall, combining clove oil with herbal supplements that have blood-thinning effects appears most likely to cause adverse interactions. Anyone taking clove supplements should exercise caution when using other herbal remedies concurrently.


Mixing clove oil with alcohol can lead to increased side effects and negative reactions. Alcohol enhances the absorption of essential oils into the bloodstream, causing a boosted effect. Consuming clove oil along with alcohol can irritate the digestive system and cause nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux. The liver has to work extra hard to process clove oil and alcohol together, potentially causing liver damage or toxicity with excessive use. Clove oil also thins the blood, so combining it with alcohol raises the risk of bruising and abnormal bleeding.

According to https://tryverima.com/blogs/all/can-you-mix-essential-oils-with-alcohol, some specific reactions that can occur when mixing clove oil and alcohol include facial flushing, headaches, drowsiness, breathing issues, and increased heart rate. It’s best to avoid using clove oil if you plan to drink alcohol. If you do mix the two, start with very small amounts of each and monitor your reaction.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There are significant risks associated with using clove oil during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Research has found that clove oil can cross the placenta and potentially reach the fetus (1). While limited studies have been conducted, it’s recommended to avoid using clove oil during pregnancy due to potential risks.

Some potential side effects of using clove oil during pregnancy include:

  • Miscarriage or premature birth
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Uterine bleeding or contractions
  • Changes in fetal heart rate

Even small amounts of clove oil may be unsafe. The blood thinning effects increases risks of excess bleeding (2). Other serious concerns include potential toxicity to the fetus’ developing liver and brain.

For breastfeeding mothers, components of clove oil can enter breast milk. This could potentially cause side effects like diarrhea, rash, and changes in eating patterns for the nursing infant (3).

Due to the limited information on safety and potential risks, both pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid using clove oil.

(1) https://www.momjunction.com/articles/clove-oil-when-you-are-pregnant_00363607/
(2) https://babyfacts.com/clove-oil-pregnancy-safe-toothaches/
(3) https://nikura.com/blogs/discover/clove-oil-when-pregnant


Caution should be used for those with allergies to clove oil, as it contains eugenol which can trigger allergic reactions in some people (source). Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe.

Common allergy symptoms from exposure to clove oil include (source):

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

In rare cases, clove oil can cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical care if you experience any severe symptoms after using clove oil.

Skin Irritation

Clove oil is known to cause skin irritation, especially in sensitive areas like the face and genitals. Undiluted clove oil can lead to redness, itching, stinging, and even burns if left on the skin for too long [1]. Those with sensitive skin are most prone to irritation from clove oil.

To reduce the chances of skin irritation from clove oil, it’s important to dilute it properly before applying it to the skin. Mix just a few drops of clove oil with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil before use. Do a patch test on a small area of skin first to check for any reaction. Avoid getting clove oil near your eyes, nose and other mucous membranes. Start with shorter contact times, like 5-10 minutes, and wash off thoroughly with water. Check for any signs of redness or discomfort before reapplying [2].

If you do experience irritation from clove oil, discontinue use immediately and wash the area with soap and water. Cold compresses and hydrocortisone cream can help relieve any stinging or inflammation. Seek medical attention if irritation persists or worsens.


As we’ve seen, there are some dangerous interactions that can occur when using clove oil, especially when combined with certain medications, supplements, or alcohol. The most hazardous interactions are with blood thinners like warfarin and aspirin, which can lead to excessive bleeding or bruising when paired with clove oil. Clove oil can also amplify the side effects of stimulants and antibiotics if used together.

Additionally, clove oil is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it may have negative effects on the baby. People with skin sensitivities or allergies to clove oil should also avoid using it, as it may cause skin irritation, rashes, or other adverse reactions.

The bottom line is that clove oil can be beneficial when used properly, but caution is advised. It’s very important to consult your doctor before using clove oil if you are taking any prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, or even alcohol. Your doctor can help determine if clove oil is safe for you based on your unique health profile and any interactions that may occur.

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