Eugenol’s name comes from Eugenia caryophyllata, the former scientific name for cloves. Eugenol makes up over 80% of clove leaf oil and is commonly isolated from cloves. This terpene is commonly known for its woody, spicy smell that’s a favorite among many when cooking. Eugenol is a monoterpenoid that has a pale yellow to transparent look with a liquid or crystalline consistency when isolated.
One of the most common uses for eugenol is as a cooking ingredient. Many are familiar with this terpenoid from the comforting smell of a holiday feast. Eugenol is most abundant in cloves but has also been used in other foods for its antimicrobial activities. Researchers at University of Manitoba found that eugenol directly reduces common food bacterium Listeria monocytogene and Lactobacillus sakei.
Akin to eucalyptol, eugenol acts as a repellent to some insects while simultaneously attracting others as well. If used to rid an area of mosquitos, Eugenol may be a great option but will also attract orchid bees or cucumber beetles.