Eugenol is one of the active components of the spice clove. Clove has a long history of use as a dental preparation because it has both analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Clove is one of the richest plant sources of phenolic acids, a group of phytochemicals with high antioxidant capacity. Eugenol and thymol are found in the toothpaste Euthymol. One interesting feature of eugenol is that it can inhibit the growth of both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. This may also explain its beneficial effects on mouth health. Eugenol is able to destroy bacteria by damaging the cell walls and cell membranes, bursting the cells. The analgesic effects of clove oil and eugenol are established, at least in animals, and anyone who has taken concentrated clove oil will attest to its mouth numbing properties. Eugenol is also an antioxidant, which gives it general health effects, particularly against cancer. Therefore eugenol appears to have local health effects in the mouth as well as a wider more general health effect in the body.
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