Medicinal plants

Carthusian clove - history, ingredients and effects

Carthusian clove - history, ingredients and effects

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The Carthusian carnation grows on lime-rich grasslands. It is also called monastery carnation, since monks cultivated and used it medically in monastery gardens - especially against rheumatic complaints and pain in the muscles. It was also used unsuccessfully as a remedy for snake bites and plague and was only partially effective against worms.


  • Scientific name: Dianthus carthusianorum L.
  • family: Carnation family (Caryophyllaceae)
  • Common names: Karthuselke, Thonnelkeel, Blitzblümchen, Blutnelke, Bluttröpfchen, Stoanagl, Echte Steinelkeel, Donnernäglein (Thuringia), Heidenblümlin, Hundsflette (Eifel), Friesnails, Clustered Carnations (Klosternelken), wild Pechagel, Bacon (Küstrin)
  • Occurrence / distribution: Carthusian carnations grow as neophytes throughout Europe (except the north), in West Asia and in North America. They colonize sun-warm slopes on dry limestone grass, embankments, sandy, light forests and heaths.
  • Parts of plants used: all parts of the plant
  • application areas:
    • Skin diseases
    • Muscle aches
    • rheumatism
    • Toothache
    • Snake bites (historical)

Where does the Carthusian carnation grow?

Thunder clove occurs in pine-steppe forests and on grassland as well as on fescue, snaffle, dry and semi-dry turf. Carthusian cloves endure soils that contain lead and zinc and are pioneering plants on earth that are contaminated with these heavy metals.


The generic name Dianthus means flower of the gods and probably referred to the Greek godfather Zeus. The German name “Nelke” means in German the Nägelchen (negelkin) and refers to the “nail-like” shape of the ovary.

Carthusian clove - active ingredients

The best-known active ingredients are saponins (mucilages) and eugenol. Apart from the isolated eugenol, the Carthusian carnation (also known as the "Carthusian carnation") has been scientifically deficiently examined.

The intensely fragrant eugenol is used by the perfume industry for oriental smells. It is also an important tool in dentistry,

  • to relieve pain
  • To fight bacteria
  • to prevent pulpitis
  • treat a broken out pulpitis
  • and to combat acute periodontitis.

Eugenol against bacteria

Eugenol is a so-called phenylpropanoid and has an antibacterial effect, for example against salmonella and staphylococci and antifungal against candida. In addition, the substance has an effect against roundworms (Nematoda), trichomonads and similar worms. It helps against mites and ticks and is an effective insect repellent - except for orchid bees and silk beetles, because these are even attracted to it.

In humans, phenylpropanoid soothes pain and inhibits inflammation. In laboratory tests, it inhibited the tumor necrosis factor, as well as the enzymes thromboxane, COX-1 and COX-2 and cytochrome P450. To sum up: Eugenol inhibits inflammation, has an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect and in the laboratory against cancer.

Clove oil

The Carthusian clove contains clove oil, which is used in dentistry due to its eugenol content, for example in root canal fillings, where it kills fungi, viruses and bacteria, soothes and sedates pain. But the oil used in dentistry is obtained from the so-called cloves, the flower buds of a myrtle plant, which has a much higher concentration of eugenol than the “lightning flower”.

Carthusian carnation against snake bites

The Carthusian carnation was traditionally used against snake bites, in Central Europe specifically against the venom of the adder and the aspis viper. There is no valid evidence for such an effect as an antidote.


Carthusian carnation, like many other things, should help against plague. Thunder clove has an antibacterial effect. However, effective substances against the plague bacterium such as streptomycin, gentamycin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline or sulfonamides have not been found in Dianthus carthusianorum.

Lightning and thunder

Blitzblümlein and Thonnelelke - such names were given to the Carthusian carnation in popular belief. So the flower should grow where lightning strikes or even attracts. It is called the Carthusian carnation because the Carthusian monks grew the plant in their monastery gardens and used it as a medicine for muscle pain and rheumatic complaints.

Carthusian Carnation - Applications

In folk medicine, people chewed the flowers of the Carthusian carnations as a home remedy for toothache. The flowers are also suitable for the production of a tincture or an extract. This can be applied to inflamed areas, for example in case of mouth rot or inflammation on the lips. You can also gargle with the plant extract to prevent infections in the throat. However, the effect is weaker than with the clove.


Cloves contain much more eugenol than Carthusian cloves, and for this reason thunder cloves largely disappeared from folk medicine. The plant is no longer used in modern phytotherapy. In Germany, according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, it is under special protection - for this reason too, it is hardly used as a home remedy.

Clove root

The real clove root looks like cloves, but it is a rose family. It smells like cloves because it contains eugenol like this one.

Side effects

Side effects of the Carthusian carnation are not known. However, some people are sensitive to bioactive substances in clove plants and should avoid them.

Carthusian carnation as an ornamental flower

Dianthus carthusianorum is not only known as a medicinal plant, but also popular as an ornamental flower. Their small flowers shine purple to pink from June to September, depending on the subspecies.


Cartel carnation is an important nectar plant for butterflies, including thick-headed butterflies, swallowtails and lemon butterflies.

Plant the Carthusian carnation

The Carthusian carnation has become rare in Germany, because its habitat, the lime-rich grasslands, has been largely suppressed by the modern agricultural industry. The over-fertilized soils are far too "fat" for this carnation, they contain too much nitrogen.

To plant Dianthus carthusianorum, look for a sunny spot with dry and loose sandy soil, a southern slope or a southern terrace are ideal. Provide sufficient lime if your soil does not already contain it. Carthusian cloves grow excellently in stone beds, on gravel or in dry stone walls and are very suitable for planting in garage and house roofs. The flowers die off quickly, but they self-sow and maintain their existence.

If the initial conditions are right, then the pioneer plant is an undemanding male and hardy to minus 18 degrees Celsius; it is easy to cultivate and does not have to be additionally watered or fertilized.

Lavender and gold lacquer

Real lavender, gold lacquer and porcelain flowers place similar demands on the habitat. The violet flowers of the lavender with the gold-orange of the gold lacquer to the purple of the Carthusian carnation are a feast for the eyes, the combination of clove and lavender scent is also a feast for the nose. Last but not least, lavender is also a medicinal plant. Mullein and bluebells, camomile and musk mallow also harmonize with Carthusian carnations. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Genaust, Helmut: Etymological dictionary of botanical plant names, Basel, 1996
  • NABU North Rhine-Westphalia: Carthusian Carnation - Dianthus carthusianorum (accessed: February 26, 2020), NABU
  • Kim, Sun Suk; Oh, O-Jin; Min, Hye-Young et al .: Eugenol suppresses cyclooxygenase-2 expression in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated mouse macrophage RAW264.7 cells, in: Life Sciences, 73/3: 337-348, June 2003, ScienceDirect
  • Muszyńska, E .; Hanus ‐ Fajerska, E .; Ciarkowska, K .: Studies on lead and cadmium toxicity in Dianthus carthusianorum calamine ecotype cultivated in vitro, in: plant biology, 20/3: 474-482, May 2018, Wiley Online Library
  • Abdullah, Mashan L .; Hafez, Mohamed M. et al .: Anti-metastatic and anti-proliferative activity of eugenol against triple negative and HER2 positive breast cancer cells, in: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 18 (1): 321, 2018, PMC
  • Wójcik, Małgorzata; Dresler, Slawomir; Tukiendorf, Anna: Physiological mechanisms of adaptation of Dianthus carthusianorum L. to growth on a Zn-Pb waste deposit - the case of chronic multi-metal and acute Zn stress, in: Plant and Soil, 390: 237-250, January 2015, SpringerLink
  • Bennett, Joanne M .; Thompson, Amibeth; Goia, Irina et al .: A review of European studies on pollination networks and pollen limitation, and a case study designed to fill in a gap, in: AoB Plants, 10 (6), 2018, PMC

Video: Sermon Padre Hewko Carthusian Martyrs November 26th 2016 (July 2022).


  1. Murdoc

    Same urbanization one

  2. Kagagar

    What a talented phrase

  3. Dorrel

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