Camphor or Cinnamomum camphora is considered to be a terpene (organic compound) which is most commonly used in lotions, ointments and also creams.
So, the oil that is mainly extracted from the wood of camphor trees and processed by steam distillation is the camphor oil. It can also be topically used to relieve itching, irritation, and pain. Thus, there are several camphor uses i.e. it is used to relieve inflammatory conditions and chest congestion.
Camphor is easily absorbed through the skin and it has a strong taste and odor. Currently, camphor is made out of turpentine but, still, it is safe to use as long as it is used in a correct manner. Especially, in case of camphor is used in high doses, it has the potential for side effects.
- 1 Is Camphor Toxic?
- 2 What Is Camphor Used For ?
- 3 Health Benefits of Camphor
- 4 Camphor For Skin
- 5 Other Uses of Camphor
- 6 Risks and Precautions of Camphor
Is Camphor Toxic?
There are some of the people who are aware of the camphor poisoning i.e. it has the potential for side effects in case you use it in high doses. So, it is advised to never take camphor internally or apply it to the broken skin as it can be toxic.
What Is Camphor Used For ?
Mainly, there are several camphor benefits i.e. it can be preferably used for a wide variety of topical uses due to its antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Apart from that, you can also make use of camphor powder to relieve pain, improve respiratory function and also treat skin conditions.
Health Benefits of Camphor
Camphor For Skin
The creams and lotions which contain camphor can be used to relieve itchiness and skin irritation. Along with that, it helps in the improvement of the overall appearance of the skin. It also possesses antifungal and antibacterial properties and so, it is known to be useful in healing infections.
Certain studies found camphor to be very effective in treating ultraviolet light-induced wrinkles and treating wounds and thereby making it a potential ingredient in anti-aging cosmetics.
This may again be used due to its ability to increase the production of collagen and elastin. It is advised to use a camphor cream on the specific area which you like to treat at least once per day.
Application of camphor to the skin helps to relieve pain and also inflammation. A specific study found that spray containing natural ingredients like menthol, camphor and essential oils of eucalyptus and clove was known to be effective in relieving mild to moderate pain.
This particular spray was applied to the shoulders, joints and lower back for a period of 14 days. When you use camphor products, you may feel a warming, tingling or cooling sensation. You can also apply a camphor spray or ointment to the affected area several times per day.
Both, the camphor creams and balms can be used to heal burn wounds. A specific study has also found that the healing time for second-degree burn wounds can be decreased by an ointment containing honey, sesame oil, and camphor.
So, it was especially found to be more beneficial rather than using Vaseline. It is advised to apply this ointment to the affected area once a day.
Treats Toenail Fungus
Camphor possesses antifungal properties and so, it is known to be beneficial in the treatment of toenail fungus. Several types of research have also found that using Vicks VapoRub containing camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol was effective in the treatment of toenail fungus.
In a specific study, using the ointment for 48 weeks contributes to give positive results in 15 of 18 people. So, the application of Vicks VapoRub to the affected toenails a few times per day helps to provide relief.
Camphor products are found to be effective in relieving inflammation, pain, and swelling due to arthritis. You may be distracted from the pain due to the hot or cold sensations which arise after the application of these creams.
Camphor has also known to be useful in treating arthritis due to the anti-inflammatory effects in animal models. In this regard, you need to apply the camphor cream to any affected areas several times per day.
Preferably, the camphor products may be used as a muscle rub and so, it may help to relieve stiffness, spasms and muscle cramps. Several studies have also found that camphor has relaxant and antispasmodic properties. So, one should massage a muscle rub onto your sore muscles a few times a day.
Relieves Coughing and Congestion
Camphor oil mainly works as a cough suppressant and decongestant. So, a vapor rub is found to be much effective in relieving congestion, night cough and also sleep difficulty in children with upper respiratory tract infections.
For this, you need to place 2 teaspoons of Vicks VapoRub in a bowl of hot water. Just hold your head over the bowl and cover your head with a towel as you inhale the vapors. To get maximum relief, you can also apply the balm to your feet or chest and after that, cover them with socks. But, you should avoid putting it in or around your nostrils.
Other Uses of Camphor
Apart from that, camphor oil can also be used in the treatment of:
- Hair loss
- Cold sores
- Poor blood circulation
- Heart disease symptoms
- Low libido
- Muscle spasms
Risks and Precautions of Camphor
When camphor is used in the correct manner, it is found to be safe for the adults. Creams or lotions which contain small amounts of camphor can be applied to your skin. So, you should never use undiluted camphor or products containing more than 11 percent of camphor.
Consider doing a skin patch test before application of camphor to your skin. In case any reaction occurs, you should apply a very small amount of the camphor product to your inner forearm and wait for about 24 hours.
Minor side effects of using camphor topically include irritation and redness. As the body could absorb toxic levels, and so, you should avoid using camphor products on injured or broken skin as the body could absorb toxic levels.
When inhaled, it can also cause respiratory problems like wheezing and coughing. Other than that, you should avoid contact with your eyes.
At the time of using it through steam inhalation, you should not use more than 1 tablespoon of camphor solution per quart of water. But, you should never ignite camphor as it may cause burns.
So, it is evident from the above section that although camphor is a very useful product, there are some precautions which are needed to be taken while using camphor. Camphor should never be ingested internally as this can cause some serious side effects and even death.