Terpenes (general)

The Fragrant and Spicy Terpenoid Eugenol

Written by Lisa Rennie

There are thousands of terpenes in nature and hundreds in the cannabis plant, each of which possess their own unique properties that may be used in the world of health and medicine. One such interesting terpenoid is eugenol.

A spicy, clove-scented monoterpenoid, eugenol is commonly used in food preservatives and health and beauty products such as makeup and skincare products. The terpene can also be found in consumer products like soap, toothpaste, and mouthwash, as well as essential oils and of course, plants such as clove and cinnamon. [1,2] It’s also present in other plant species, such as turmeric, pepper, oregano, ginger, thyme, nutmeg, bay, basil, and marjoram. [2]

As far as cannabis is concerned, eugenol is not typically a major component of a variety’s overall terpene profile. It also has not been as widely studied as other, more common terpenes or those in higher abundance in cannabis. That said, eugenol has some promising medicinal properties that have been discovered in pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Health Benefits of Eugenol

Eugenol’s therapeutic properties include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activities. [3] It also possesses analgesic, antiviral, antioxidant, and anticancer attributes and has been shown to promote wound healing. [3] In addition, the terpene is also found in antiseptic and anesthetic products used by doctors to treat pain. [1]

Eugenol’s medicinal properties are widely used in the world of dentistry. More specifically, the terpenoid is used to treat toothaches and pulpitis and is also found in over-the-counter oral care products designed to minimize tooth discomfort. [4] Eugenol has also been linked to the inhibition of Streptococcus sobrinus, a major bacterial species involved in the loss of calcium and phosphate of teeth. As such, it may be used by the dental industry to inhibit bacterial activity in order to promote remineralization and reverse demineralization. [4]

When ingested by arthritic rats, eugenol’s anti-inflammatory properties minimized pain and swelling in joints and muscles. [5] It has been described as an antispasmodic agent that may reduce the intensity and frequency of muscle spasms. [5] Eugenol has also been used in agriculture as a plant-source digestive aid and antibiotic effective against Escherichia coli. [6]

Given eugenol’s wide range of medicinal properties, it can offer a slew of health benefits, both topically and internally.

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/spices-jar-kitchen-cooking-wooden-2546297/


  1. Bendre RS, et al. Outlooks on medicinal properties of eugenol and its synthetic derivatives. Natural Products Chemistry & Research. 2016;4(3). Impact Factor: 1.71; Times Cited: 21
  2. Khalil AA, et al. Essential oil eugenol: sources, extraction techniques and nutraceutical perspectives. RSC Advances. 2017;7:32669-32681. Impact Factor: 3.049; Times Cited: 43
  3. Barboza JN, et al. An overview on the anti-inflammatory potential and antioxidant profile of eugenol. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018;2018(6):1-9. Impact Factor: 4.58; Times Cited: 22.
  4. Xu J, et al. The effect of eugenol on the cariogenic properties of Streptococcus mutans and dental caries development in rats. Exp Ther Med. 2013;5(6):1667–1670. Impact Factor: 1.785; Times Cited: 25.
  5. Kamatou GP, et al. Eugenol—From the remote Maluku Islands to the international market place: A review of a remarkable and versatile molecule. Molecules. 2012;17(6):6953-6981. Impact Factor: 3.267; Times Cited: 255.
  6. Yan L, Kim IH. Effect of eugenol and cinnamaldehyde on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, blood characteristics, fecal microbial shedding and fecal noxious gas content in growing pigs. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. 2012;25(8):1178–1183. Impact Factor: 1.664; Times Cited: 20 Cited: 20.

About the author

Lisa Rennie

Lisa Simoneli Rennie has been working as a freelance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content dedicated to informing consumers. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others, and in her spare time, Lisa enjoys trying funky new recipes, spending time with her dog, and of course, reveling in the joy of family.

Leave a Comment