I am a big fan of do-it-yourself (DIY) personal care products. Body scrubs, hair conditioners, face masks – just a few things I’ve whipped up at home on the cheap. Why? Perhaps because I’m a chemist. Definitely because I’m cheap. I’m always on the look-out for recipes to review and try. Enter Good‘s tweet from last night…
— GOOD (@good) December 4, 2014
As a chemist, DIY fan, and writer on sexual lubricants (here and here), I was contractually obligated* to review this Good post. It’s mildly chemophobic, makes some claims about marijuana that are dubious, and doesn’t include a warning about using this coconut oil lube with latex condoms. Oh, and I’m assuming the author assumes readers live in Colorado or Washington? Anywho, it was a casual suggestion that really caught my chemist’s eye….
Lavender, clove, lemongrass, or cinnamon oil for scent. Ohhhhhh… cinnamon oil is a warming… sounds intriguing… but let’s back up to clove oil. I’ve used clove oil myself – and not just for scent.
A few years back, a bad toothache was causing me all kinds of trouble. Root canal trouble. Over-the-counter pain medicine helped, but clove oil that made the 3 days between dental exam and root canal manageable. Using a cotton swab, I’d dab a bit of clove oil on the gums surrounding the offending tooth. A short time later… ahhhhhhhh… lovely numbness. That’s due to eugenol, a chemical that comprises 70-85% clove oil by weight.
Eugenol is local analgesic agent – that lovely numbness. Well, “lovely” when we’re talking toothache. Not so lovely when we’re talking sexual lubricant. Unless, of course, one wants to numb one’s genitals. Say, in an attempt to manage premature ejaculation.
Good’s article didn’t mention any of this information about clove oil and that’s my problem with it. You don’t have to be a chemist to cook-up such recipes, or to use them, but you’ve got to do your homework. Especially when you’re suggesting people smear your concoction all over their genitals.
To learn more about clove oil, check out Compound Interest‘s excellent ‘Guarding Against Toothache & Premature Ejaculation – The Chemistry of Cloves‘. The isolation of clove oil from cloves is a classic organic chemistry experiment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to this experiment from San Jose State University.
*contractually obligated = simply compelled
Featured image is from worldfoodist.com