Anti-inflammatory activity of clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) essential oil in human dermal fibroblasts

Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):1619-1622. doi: 10.1080/13880209.2017.1314513.


Context: Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata Thunb. [Myrtaceae]) essential oil (CEO) has been shown to possess antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. However, few studies have focused on its topical use.

Objective: We investigated the biological activity of a commercially available CEO in a human skin disease model.

Materials and methods: We evaluated the effect of CEO on 17 protein biomarkers that play critical roles in inflammation and tissue remodelling in a validated human dermal fibroblast system, which was designed to model chronic inflammation and fibrosis. Four concentrations of CEO (0.011, 0.0037, 0.0012, and 0.00041%, v/v) were studied. The effect of 0.011% CEO on genome-wide gene expression was also evaluated.

Results and discussion: CEO at a concentration of 0.011% showed robust antiproliferative effects on human dermal fibroblasts. It significantly inhibited the increased production of several proinflammatory biomarkers such as vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), interferon γ-induced protein 10 (IP-10), interferon-inducible T-cell α chemoattractant (I-TAC), and monokine induced by γ interferon (MIG). CEO also significantly inhibited tissue remodelling protein molecules, namely, collagen-I, collagen-III, macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP-2). Furthermore, it significantly modulated global gene expression and altered signalling pathways critical for inflammation, tissue remodelling, and cancer signalling processes. CEO significantly inhibited VCAM-1 and collagen III at both protein and gene expression levels.

Conclusions: This study provides important evidence of CEO-induced anti-inflammatory and tissue remodelling activity in human dermal fibroblasts. This study also supports the anticancer properties of CEO and its major active component eugenol.

Keywords: Anti-inflammation; cancer signalling; collagen III; eugenol; immune response; interferon γ-induced protein 10; interferon-inducible T-cell α chemoattractant; monokine induced by γ interferon; skin health; vascular cell adhesion molecule-1.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eugenol / isolation & purification
  • Eugenol / pharmacology
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Fibrosis / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Syzygium / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Eugenol

Grants and funding

The study was funded by dōTERRA (Pleasant Grove, UT) and conducted at DiscoverX (Fremont, CA).