Eugenol is a compound found in certain plants, such as basil, cinnamon, lemon balm, and nutmeg, but is primarily extracted from clove plants. When extracted, it appears as a clear yellow liquid that smells strongly of clove. It has medicinal value, but it is also used in products such as perfume and clove-flavored cigarettes. Although it is generally considered safe, eugenol may be harmful to people if it is used above the recommended doses.
In medicine, eugenol is used as an antiseptic and an anesthetic. It is believed to relieve pain when applied to skin or to other injured body parts as well. Some men even apply the liquid to their genitals to prevent premature ejaculation. In dentistry, it is often applied to cavities, used during restorative procedures, and rubbed on the gums to numb them before dentures are inserted.
Eugenol also is commonly used as an additive in a particular kind of cigarette, called clove cigarettes. It is also used to attract insects, such as bees, for research purposes. Some people value the compound because it absorbs ultraviolet rays as well.
Despite its varied uses, eugenol may be dangerous, particularly if more than the recommended dosage is taken. In some cases, the compound may cause liver damage. In other cases, it may cause convulsions, nausea, rapid heart beat, and dizziness. Some research studies have indicated that it may be an immune system toxicant, and many people believe it may cause mutations in the body's DNA, leading to cancer. Eugenol typically is safest when taken with food. Researchers do not believe the compound is safe for children, breastfeeding mothers, or pregnant women.
If a person is going to go through surgery, it is generally advised that the person cease using this compound for at least two weeks ahead of time. The compound is thought to slow the clotting of blood. As a result, it may cause extreme and dangerous levels of bleeding at the surgical site. For this same reason, people who suffer from blood-clotting disorders or other bleeding disorders should not consume eugenol.
Although it may be prescribed by a dentist or medical doctor, eugenol may also be purchased at some drug stores or through the Internet. If purchasing it from the Internet, it is essential to make sure it comes from a reputable source. Any questions or concerns should be addressed by a medical consultant before using eugenol, as well.