The name is derived from the scientific name for clove, Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata. Eugenol is responsible for the aroma of cloves. It is the main component in the essential oil extracted from cloves, comprising 72–90% of the total.
They are also used in manufacturing stabilizers and antioxidants for plastics and rubbers. Attempts have been made to develop eugenol derivatives for intravenous injection, such as propanidid and G.29.505. The latter produced unacceptable side effects around the site of injection in many patients.
It is one of many compounds that is attractive to males of various species of orchid bees, which apparently gather the chemical to synthesize pheromones; it is commonly used as bait to attract and collect these bees for study. It also attracts female cucumber beetles.
Clove oil is growing in popularity as an anaesthetic for use on aquarium fish as well as on wild fish when sampled for research and management purposes where, readily available over-the-counter from pharmacies, it may be a humane method to euthanise sick and diseased fish either by direct over-dose or to induce sleep before an overdose of ethanol.
Eugenol is subject to restrictions on its use in perfumery as some people may become sensitised to it, however, the degree to which eugenol can cause an allergic reaction in humans is disputed.
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