Eugenol is a major volatile constituent of clove essential oil obtained through hydrodistillation of mainly Eugenia caryophyllata (= Syzygium aromaticum) buds and leaves. It is a remarkably versatile molecule incorporated as a functional ingredient in numerous products and has found application in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, fragrance, flavour, cosmetic and various other industries. Its vast range of pharmacological activities has been well-researched and includes antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-oxidant and anticancer activities amongst others. In addition, it is widely used in agricultural applications to protect foods from micro-organisms during storage, which might have an effect on human health, and as a pesticide and fumigant. As a functional ingredient, it is included in many dental preparations and it has also been shown to enhance skin permeation of various drugs. Eugenol is considered safe as a food additive but due to the wide range of different applications, extensive use and availability of clove oil, it is pertinent to discuss the general toxicity with special reference to contact dermatitis. This review summarises the pharmacological, agricultural and other applications of eugenol with specific emphasis on mechanism of action as well as toxicity data.