What Is Camphor?

What Is Camphor?

Camphor: Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) is a terpene (organic compound) that are commonly used in creams, ointments, and lotions. Camphor oil is the oil extracted from the wood of camphor trees and processed by steam distillation. It can be used topically to relieve pain, irritation, and itching. Camphor is also used to relieve chest congestion and inflammatory conditions.

It has a strong odor and taste and is easily absorbed through the skin. Camphor is currently made out of turpentine, but it’s still safe to use as long as you use it correctly. It has the potential for side effects, especially if you use it in high doses. Never take camphor internally or apply it to broken skin, as it can be toxic.

What Is Camphor?

Camphor Tree

Camphor used to be made by distilling the bark and wood of the camphor tree. Today, camphor is usually manufactured from turpentine oil. It is used in products such as Vicks VapoRub.

Camphor products can be rubbed on the skin (topical application) or inhaled. Be sure to read the label to find out how the product should be administered.

People sometimes apply camphor to the skin to relieve pain and reduce itching. Some people inhale camphor to reduce the urge to cough. There is some good evidence to support these uses. Camphor has also been applied to the skin to treat toenail fungus, warts, insect bites, cold sores, and hemorrhoids, but there is no good scientific research to support these other uses.

It is important not to apply camphor to broken skin, because it can enter the body quickly and reach concentrations that are high enough to cause poisoning.

Although it is an UNSAFE practice, some people take camphor by mouth to help them cough up phlegm, treat infections of the airway, treat intestinal gas (flatulence), and decrease body weight. Experts warn against doing this because, when ingested, camphor can cause serious side effects, even death.

Camphor is a well-established folk remedy and is commonly used. Camphorated oil (20% camphor in cottonseed oil) was removed from the U.S. market in the 1980s because of safety concerns associated with accidental intake by mouth. It continues to be available without a prescription in Canada.

Camphor Oil

IDENTIFICATION AND USE: Camphor is a solid, translucent, white crystal with penetrating aromatic odor used as a rubefacient/counter-irritant medication. It is also used in liniments as a counter-irritant for fibromyalgia, neuralgia, and similar conditions. In dermatology, when it is applied as a lotion (0.1 to 3%), it is an anti-pruritic and surface anesthetic (when applied gently, it creates a feeling of coolness). Camphor is no longer used as a pesticide in the US. Other uses of camphor include insect repellant use (particularly to control clothes moths); cosmetic ingredients.

HUMAN EXPOSURE AND TOXICITY: The main target organs of camphor exposure are the CNS and kidneys. Convulsions, depression, apnea, asystole, gastric irritation, colic, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, excitement, delirium, and severe post-convulsive coma may occur after the intake of camphor. The symptoms may appear 5 to 90 min after ingestion depending on the product ingested (solid or liquid). Poisoning by camphor is associated with an initial excitatory phase, with vomiting, diarrhea, and excitement, followed by CNS depression and death.

Toxic effects appear after the ingestion of approximately 2 g (lethal dose adults: 4 g, children: 0.5-1 g, infants: 70 mg/kg of pure camphor). There have been reports of instant collapse in infants after camphor has been applied to their nostrils. Camphor is irritating to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. When camphor is applied to the skin, it is analgesic.

Camphor Tablets

Camphor Tablets

Camphors, an organic compound of penetrating, somewhat musty aroma, used for many centuries as a component of incense and as a medicinal. Modern uses of Camphors have been as a plasticizer for cellulose nitrate and as an insect repellent, particularly for moths. The molecular formula is C10H16O.

Camphors occurs in the Camphors laurel, Cinnamomum Camphors, common in China, Taiwan, and Japan. It is isolated by passing steam through the pulverized wood and condensing the vapours; Camphors crystallizes from the oily portion of the distillate and is purified by pressing and sublimation. Since the early 1930s, Camphors has been made by several processes from the compound α-pinene.

Camphors belongs to a group of organic compounds defined as terpenoid ketones. The structure and the reactions peculiar to it were important problems of 19th-century organic chemistry. The pure compound is a white, waxy solid that melts at about 178°–179° C (352°–354° F).

What Is Camphor

Camphors, scientifically known as Cinnamomum Camphor, is a combustible, translucent white solid which has a piquant smell and sour taste, though some people quite like its menthol-like, nose tingling fragrance.

Camphors is obtained from the bark of the tree Cinnamonun Camphors. Only 50-years old trees produce a waxy substance which is used as camphor oil. The process of steam distillation is used to extract Camphors oil from the stems of the tree. The camphor tree is said to be a native of Hiroshima, Japan. It is evergreen and now grows all over Asia, primarily in Indonesia. The Indonesian variety is named Dryobalanops camphora.

Camphor can be used in multiple ways. It is considered an important ingredient in vapor rubs, balms, and liniments as the oil is said to allay pain and reduce itching. It also helps in keeping cockroaches, moths and other insects at bay from our wardrobe. Camphor is used in religious ceremonies too. Besides, it is beneficial for the skin and hair.

On the skin, it acts as a counter-irritant and is therefore used topically to relieve pain and swelling. It causes numbness of sensory nerve endings of the skin, thereby relieving pain and inflammation, and preventing skin redness.

Camphor Uses

Camphor is an aromatic, volatile, terpene ketone derived from the wood of Cinnamomum camphora or synthesized from turpentine. Camphor oil is separated into four distinct fractions: white, brown, yellow, and blue camphor (Tisserand, 1999). White Camphors is the form used in aromatherapy and in over-the-counter (OTC) products (brown and yellow fractions contain the carcinogen, safrole, and are not usually available).

OTC products vary in form and Camphors content; external products contain 10% to 20% semisolid forms or 1% to 10% in camphor spirits. Camphor is used as a topical rubefacient and antipruritic agent. Camphors is rapidly absorbed from the skin and gastrointestinal tract, and toxic effects can occur within minutes of exposure. In humans, signs of intoxication include emesis, abdominal distress, excitement, tremors, and seizures, followed by CNS depression characterized by apnea and coma.

Fatalities have occurred in humans who ingested 1 to 2 g of Camphors -containing products, although the adult human lethal dose has been reported to be 5 to 20 g (Tisserand, 1999; Emery, 1999). One teaspoon of camphorated oil (∼1 mL of Camphors ) was lethal to 16-month-old and 19-month-old children. Long-term ingestion in children can result in hepatotoxicity and neurotoxicity.

Is it safe to eat camphor?

Camphors is also LIKELY SAFE for most adults when inhaled as vapor in small amounts as a part of aromatherapy. … Camphors is easily absorbed through broken skin and can reach toxic levels in the body. Camphors is UNSAFE when taken by mouth by adults. Ingesting Camphors can cause severe side effects, including death.

What does camphor smell like?

Odor: Camphors has a very characteristic odor, for which the tree is named. The most recognizable product that contains the extracts of Camphors is medicated chest rubs, which have the same distinct scent.

How do you make camphor?

Camphors has been produced as a forest product for centuries, condensed from the vapor given off by the roasting of wood chips cut from the relevant trees, and later by passing steam through the pulverized wood and condensing the vapors.