This study was designed to test the efficacy of eugenol, a compound obtained from the essential oil of cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), a well characterized murine model of rheumatoid arthritis. Macroscopic clinical evidence of CIA manifests first as periarticular erythema and edema in the hind paws. Treatment with eugenol starting at the onset of arthritis (day 25) ameliorated these clinical signs of CIA. Furthermore, eugenol inhibited mononuclear cell infiltration into the knee joints of arthritic mice and also lowered the levels of cytokines (tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor growth factor (TGF)-β) within the ankle joints. Eugenol treatment did not affect the in vitro cell viability as assessed using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Therefore, eugenol ameliorates experimental arthritis and could be useful as a beneficial supplement in treating human arthritis.