8 Surprising Benefits Of Camphor

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Benefits Of Using Camphor

There are plenty of reasons to add camphor to your medicine cabinet. Ranging from treating an itchy skin to clearing up a stuffy nose, it’s no wonder camphor has been used as a remedy for centuries. Camphor is used to control pain around joints and muscles. It can also treat minor wounds and burns.

Chinese and Indians have been using camphor for centuries as a remedy to treat ailments and even for religious purposes. They believe camphor has deep healing powers. But it’s not just a popular folktale. In Ayurveda, burning camphor is considered to be healing for the human mind and body – a reason why several religious rituals would begin with it

Benefits Of Camphor

Camphor, from the tree cinnamonum camphora, has a white wax-like appearance. It is available in the form of blocks, tablets, oil, and powder. Here are the reasons you need it in your medicine box.

1. For Treating Itchy Skin

If your skin is acting up and you can’t help but itch, reach out to camphor essential oil. Camphor is known to provide relief for an itchy irritated skin.1 It gets absorbed by the pores and gives your skin a cooling sensation.

How to use it:

  • Mix a cup of coconut oil and a teaspoon of crushed camphor. You could apply this mixture on the itchy area 1-2 times a day. Coconut oil is another great source of relief for a stubborn itch.2

2. For Clearing Acne

Camphor can work wonders for your skin by tightening your pores and revitalizing it. Camphor also helps to get rid of bacteria buildup (a cause for acne) and acts as an anti-infective agent.3 4One study pointed out that camphor is especially beneficial to people with oily skin, making it useful for acne treatment. 5

How to use it:

  • Make a mix of tea tree oil and camphor essential oil. Take a cotton bud and dip it in the diluted camphor oil. Apply this to the affected skin. Tea tree oil is another known method to reduce acne.6
  • Another option is to gently rub camphor lotion on the affected area and sleep on it. Wash it off in the morning with a mild soap and lukewarm water. 7
  • Spirits of camphor can be used for spot treatment. All you need is to dab a little on the pimple and it should dry off quickly.8

3. For Treating Burns And Wounds

Camphor Helps Treat Burns And Wounds

Camphor can help heal minor burns. Not only does it relieve you of the pain and irritation from burns or wounds but regular application can also lighten scars. This is because camphor oil stimulates nerve endings, which in turn causes a cooling sensation.9

How to use it:

  • Mix two cubes of camphor in a cup of coconut oil. Apply the mixture on the affected area. Continue applying it till you see a difference.
  • For an even quicker remedy, dilute camphor with water. Rub it on your skin once a day.

4. Can It Help With Hair Issues?

Several sources claim camphor can help solve hair loss, treat dandruff, and strengthen your hair. A few experts claim that massaging camphor with coconut oil can help stimulate healthy hair growth. While coconut oil has proven benefits like preventing hair loss, reducing dandruff and acting as a conditioner, no research proves camphor is beneficial for the hair.

5. For Controlling Pain

If you are experiencing pain around your joints and muscles, camphor might be the answer you are looking for. One study reveals that camphor oil creates a warming sensation, resulting in desensitization of sensory nerves, which relieves you from pain.10

How to use it:

  • For cramps, you would need to heat sesame oil and then mix it with crushed camphor. Massage the ointment on your joints.11

6. For Treating Coughs And Colds

Stuffy nose? Stubborn cough? You might want to consider using camphor. One of the most popular benefits of camphor is its potential to clear a congested chest and nose.1213 This is because camphor oil has a strong smell that unclogs a congested respiratory tract.

How to use it:

  •  Mix equal parts of sweet oil and camphor essential oil and rub it gently on the chest. 14

7. For Treating Toenail Fungus

Camphor For Treating Toenail Fungus

Popular anecdotal evidence reveals that people get rid of their toenail fungus just by rubbing Vicks VapoRub on their toes. Why does this happen? Because camphor is an active ingredient. Its antibiotic property helps destroy the fungus and lets your toe breathe freely again.15

8. For Getting Rid Of Insects

Did you know? Camphor was popularly used in embalming by Egyptians in their mummification process, owing to its antimicrobial property.16

Mosquitoes bugging you? It’s time to let camphor into your house. Studies have proven camphor acts as a natural mosquito repellant.17 It has also been used traditionally to get rid of moths. Camphor crystals are popularly kept in cupboards to repel cockroaches and other tiny insects. Burn a camphor tablet in the corner of your room.

A Note Of Caution

  • Camphor oil is very strong to apply directly on the skin. It could cause skin irritation. You need to mix camphor oil with a carrier oil.
  • Children below 2 years of age shouldn’t use camphor. It is highly toxic to them.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid camphor as it could be dangerous to them and their baby.
  • Using camphor beyond the recommended dosage is also toxic. It could act as a skin irritant.
  • For topical application, a camphor concentration of 3 – 11% is the approved dosage from the FDA.
  • Do not take camphor orally. It is highly poisonous.

References   [ + ]

1. Staubach, Petra, and Martin Metz. “Magistral formulations and pruritus therapy–What is established, what is confirmed, what is new?.” JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft 11, no. 11 (2013): 1049-1055.
2. Agero, Anna Liza, and V. Verallo‐Rowell. “P15 A randomized double‐blind controlled trial comparing extra‐virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis.” Contact Dermatitis 50, no. 3 (2004): 183-183.
3. Soković, Marina, Jasmina Glamočlija, Petar D. Marin, Dejan Brkić, and Leo JLD van Griensven. “Antibacterial effects of the essential oils of commonly consumed medicinal herbs using an in vitro model.” Molecules 15, no. 11 (2010): 7532-7546
4. Compound Summary for CID 2537. National Center for Biotechnology Information.
5. Sellar, W., 1992. The Directory of Essential Oils. Daniel, New York, ISBN-13: 9780852072394
6. Enshaieh, Shahla, Abolfazl Jooya, Amir Hossein Siadat, and Fariba Iraji. “The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study.” <i>Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology</i> 73, no. 1 (2007): 22.
7. S. R. Vas, Luis. The Joy of Natural Living. Pustak Mahal, 2001
8. Mars, Brigitte, and Chrystle Fiedler. The Country Almanac of Home Remedies: Time-Tested & Almost Forgotten Wisdom for Treating Hundreds of Common Ailments, Aches & Pains Quickly and Naturally. Fair Winds Press (MA), 2014.
9. Donkin, R.A. Dragon’s Brain Perfume: An Historical Geography of Camphor. Brill, 1999
10. Hamidpour, Rafie, Soheila Hamidpour, Mohsen Hamidpour, and Mina Shahlari. “Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), a traditional remedy with the history of treating several diseases.” International Journal of Case Reports and Images (IJCRI) 4, no. 2 (2013): 86-89.
11. Madhavi, M. Green Remedies. Pustak Mahal, 2001
12. Paul, Ian M., Jessica S. Beiler, Tonya S. King, Edelveis R. Clapp, Julie eirsonallati, and Cheston M. Berlin. “Vapor rub, petrolatum, and no treatment for children with nocturnal cough and cold symptoms.” Pediatrics 126, no. 6 (2010): 1092-1099.
13. Eccles, Ron, Martez Jawad, David L. Ramsey, and J. David Hull. “Efficacy of a Topical Aromatic Rub (Vicks VapoRub®)-Speed of Action of Subjective Nasal Cooling and Relief from Nasal Congestion.” Open Journal of Respiratory Diseases 5, no. 01 (2015): 10.
14. Jefferis, Benjamin Grant; Nichols, James Lawrence; Nichols (Grandma). The Household Guide, Or, Domestic Cyclopedia : a Practical Family Physician, Home Remedies and Home Treatment on All Diseases : an Instructor on Nursing, Housekeeping and Home Adornments. J. L. Nichols, 1905
15. Ramsewak, Russel S., Muraleedharan G. Nair, Manfred Stommel, and Louise Selanders. “In vitro antagonistic activity of monoterpenes and their mixtures against ‘toe nail fungus’ pathogens.” Phytotherapy Research 17, no. 4 (2003): 376-379
16. Wisseman, Sarah. “Preserved for the afterlife.” Nature 413, no. 6858 (2001): 783-784.
17. Ansari, M. A., and R. K. Razdan. “Relative efficacy of various oils in repelling mosquitoes.” Indian journal of malariology 32, no. 3 (1995): 104-111.