The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Treating anal fistulas with clove oil

    An anal fissure is a painful condition affecting the far end of the intestines. The antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving properties of clove oil provide a rationale for its use in this study.

    First, the details.

    • 55 patients were randomly assigned to clove oil 1% or what the authors called “traditional” treatment of stool softeners and lidocaine cream 5%.

    And, the results.

    • Healing occurred in 60% of the clove oil treatment group vs 12% in the other group, a significant difference.
    • Clove oil treatment was also associated with a significant reduction in resting anal pressure and most other pressure measurements.

    The bottom line?
    Researchers from Mansoura University Hospital in Egypt concluded, “Topical application of clove oil demonstrated significant beneficial effects when applied to patients suffering from chronic anal fistula.”

    Some questions come to mind.

    • How widespread is the use of clove oil for treating anal fistulas? I found no other studies, but it could be included in “natural” treatments.
    • How long were the patients treated? The abstract doesn’t say.
    • What was the severity of the fistulas in these patients? My guess is they were not severe.

    Anal fistulas are not something to treat without professional guidance.

    Background on their treatment can be found here from a private practice of gastroenterologists and here from the University of Michigan. A homeopathic approach is found here.

    6/18/07 21:39 JR

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