19 August 2013

How to make clove oil - a natural remedy for toothache

One of my teeth has been hurting me pretty badly over the last few days.  I have put off thinking the worst because I had a full check up and clean just two weeks ago when we were in the UK.  I figured it must just be some sensitivity because I had forgotten to buy a sensitive toothpaste.  I collected some from the shop and expected the problem to go away in a day or two...only it didn't.

A quick call to my dentist in the UK confirmed my fears, yes it was likely to be a latent cavity, sheer bad luck on the timing and no, there is nothing I can do to put treatment off for the 12 months until I am in the UK again.  I am a nervous patient at the dentists at the best of times; I had some fairly harrowing experiences with Norwegian and English dentists when I was younger (although that was probably a function of the years (1980/90's) as opposed to the location and my mother's teeth were destroyed for life by a well meaning but desperately incompetent dentist in Nigeria in the 1970's. The net result is that I take years to build up confidence in a dentist.  I was seriously thinking about buying a flight back to my kind, understanding and gentle dentist in the UK but realised that that is truly pathetic.  I need to man up, give a good example to the kids and find a dentist here in Astana.  I have asked some friends,colleagues and checked the listings at the international community website and hope to get some recommendations soon.

In the meantime I am stuck with an increasingly painful tooth.  Because all the family teeth have been in such good condition I have not brought any clove oil with me.  This natural antiseptic can help with toothache by numbing the pain (a useful top up for painkillers) and helping keep the area clean.  It is possible to make it but, of course, it takes time to infuse.

I have put a batch on to make today because I am not sure how long it will take to get an appointment at a good clinic, it won’t be too strong to start with but it will be good to have some in the store cupboard for future use and anything is better than nothing.  In the meantime I am adding a couple of cloves to my hot drinks. 

The process is fairly simple, not dissimilar to making vanilla essence.  Take four to six fresh cloves and grind in a spice mill.  You could use a mortar and pestle if you do not have a mill but this is hard work.

A mini mill makes short work of small quantities of spices.
Take a muslin infusing square and place the cloves inside and tie tightly.  Unfortunately I have none in the house at the moment, I used to cut up and sterilise old baby muslins but the kids have long outgrown the need for these and I have run out, you can also sterilise some clean unworn pop socks, again I had no unworn ones in the house.   At a pinch you could use a clean coffee filter or, as I did this time round, sacrifice a posh teabag.
My posh, silk teabag works well as an ersatz infusing bag.
Filled with ground cloves, the teabag even comes with its own string.
While you are doing this, sterilise a small jar.  Put the bag in the jar and cover with olive oil, cover with foil and  place in a water bath, either on the hob or in the oven (150 degrees) for 45 minutes.  When this has completed close the jar with a sterilised lid and leave to infuse for a week.  It will keep indefinitely and get stronger with time.  When you need to use it dip a cotton bud in the oil and dab the sore gums/teeth.

I will be using the oil pretty much immediately in the hope that the placebo effect will kick in.

Click the picture for more posts on the challenges of expat cooking.

Ersatz Expat


  1. Dear Ersatz,

    I am a Venezuelan expat and just arrived in Astana. I have plans to settle down with my wife in this beautiful and exotic city. However, we don´t speack neither Russian nor Kazakh yet. Could you please send me recommendations on clothings (what and where to buy a reasonable prices) please?. I am aware of the cold winter coming soon and would like to be prepared in advance.

    I live close to Keruen, so places nearby will be even more appreciated, but recommendations around are also really welcome.

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful blog; you are doing a humanitarian job for expats! it´s quite helpful!!


    1. Dear Luis

      Thank you for your kind comments. I hope that you are enjoying life here so far.

      There are some amazing fur shops in Keruen and the Khan Shatyr but the clothes there are very expensive. If you want fur the shops in Eurasia and Artyum are probably the best places to look to start with.

      Down coats are available in most places - Asia Park and the Khan Shatyr are good places to look and some of the shops in Mega as well. I like to buy boots here because they are better adapated to the winter than the ones you can buy outside Kazakhstan. Most shoe shops will start to stock the winter collection in early October but some of last years stock may be on sale now in smaller shops in Eurasia.

      Megasport (in Mega) is also a good place to pick up stuff for outdoor winter activities.

      All the very best


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  5. Great Post!
    Thanks for sharing the useful information.
    Get the best treatment and medication from the Best Dentist in India at an affordable price. You can just come to Ludhiana dental centre and consult with Dr Bikramjit Singh Dhillon about your problem.

  6. Nice Blog
    Dwibhashi’s Lavanga Oil(Clove oil) is an Ayurvedic oil. It is Anti-fungal, anti-septic and has stimulations properties. Lavanga Tailam(Clove oil) is used for treating tooth ache and skin issues.

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