The essential oil extracted from the dried flower buds of clove, Eugenia caryophyllata L. Merr. & Perry (Myrtaceae), is used as a topical application to relieve pain and to promote healing and also finds use in the fragrance and flavouring industries. The main constituents of the essential oil are phenylpropanoids such as carvacrol, thymol, eugenol and cinnamaldehyde. The biological activity of Eugenia caryophyllata has been investigated on several microorganisms and parasites, including pathogenic bacteria, Herpes simplex and hepatitis C viruses. In addition to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antiviral activity, clove essential oil possesses antiinflammatory, cytotoxic, insect repellent and anaesthetic properties. This short review addresses the chemical composition and biological effects of clove essential oil, and includes new results from GC/MS analysis and a study of its antimicrobial activity against a large number of multi-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis isolated from dialysis biomaterials.
(c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.