|Camphor laurel in fruit|
Camphor laurel contains volatile chemical compounds in all plant parts–the wood and leaves are steam distilled for the essential oils.
Camphor, a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong aromatic odor, is found in the wood of the camphor laurel. Dried rosemary leaves, in the mint family, contain up to 20% camphor. Camphor is used for its scent, as an ingredient in cooking (mainly in India), for medicinal purposes, and in Hindu religious ceremonies. Camphor oil was one of the ingredients used by ancient Egyptians for mummification.
• Camphor was used in ancient Sumatra to treat sprains, swellings, and inflammation.
• In the 18th century, camphor was used in the treatment of mania.
• Based on the writings of Hahnemann, camphor (dissolved in alcohol) was also successfully used to treat the 1854-1855 cholera epidemics in Naples.
• In ancient and medieval Europe, camphor was used as an ingredient in sweets, and as a flavoring for drinks.
• Camphor is believed to be toxic to insects and is thus sometimes used as a repellent.
Camphor, readily absorbed through the skin, produces either a cool or warm sensation–acting as a slight local anesthetic and antimicrobial substance. It is the active ingredient in anti-itch gels and cooling gels. Camphor (along with menthol) is used as a cough suppressant and as a decongestant–an active ingredient in vapor-steam products. Camphor cold compresses are impressive for sprains, strains, and minor bruises. It is used carefully and in low dosage in baby oil for its calming effects. It is used as a cough suppressant and as a decongestant. It is also used for aromatherapy. Camphor may also be administered orally in small quantities (50 mg) for minor heart symptoms and fatigue.
Effects on the body
- Small dose - Its effects on the body include heart rate exceeding the normal resting rate (tachycardia), widening of blood vessels in skin flushing, slower breathing, reduced appetite, diuretic, increased secretions and excretions such as perspiration.
- Large Dose Toxicity - Camphor is poisonous in large doses, producing symptoms of irritability, disorientation, lethargy, muscle spasms, vomiting, abdominal cramps, convulsions, and seizures. Lethal doses in adults are in the range 50–500 mg/kg (orally)–generally, 2 grams cause serious toxicity and 4 grams are potentially lethal.
Astringent - To tighten and tone the skin, mix 1 cup of rose water, to ½ cup of witch hazel along with 1 tablespoon of camphor oil. To help make the astringent stronger, include a pinch of alum. (Also store a small amount of crushed camphor mixed with water in the refrigerator, to energize and refresh. Simply dip a cotton ball in the mixture and wash over the face.)
Massage Oil/Cream (for every-day use) - Heat equivalent amounts of coconut oil and lanolin, gradually adding warm rose water. Beat the mixture thoroughly, and add a tablespoon of camphor oil to create an invigorating massage cream. Camphor helps sweating and is also relaxing.
Chest rub - Heat 1 ounce olive oil in a small sauce pan. When the olive oil is warm, add 2 teaspoons of beeswax pellets, stirring until melted. Add 3-5 drops of camphor oil, blending completely. Pour the mix in a tiny jar and allowed to cool just before putting the lid on and store at room temperature. Add vitamin E oil to the mixture for longer shelf life.
Liniment – Combine 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 teaspoons beeswax pellets, 2 teaspoons camphor crystals or 5 drops camphor oil, 2 teaspoons menthol crystals or 5 drops peppermint oil, 5 drops ecualyptus oil.
Melt the coconut oil and beeswax pellets together in a small saucepan on the stove for 1-2 minutes, turn the burner off (can be heated in microwave, or a double boiler). Add the coconut oil and beeswax. Stir until melted.
Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, add camphor crystals or oil, menthol crystals or oil, and the eucalyptus oil.
Put in a container and allow to cool completely. When it is completely cooled it will be a solid (but when applied to warm skin it will liquefy again). Makes it perfect for massaging onto sore muscles and joints.
Keep in the fridge for a longer shelf life. Also, adding vitamin E oil to the mixture helps to preserve it.
Bath Soak - Add 3-5 drops of camphor oil towards hot running water. Soak sore muscles and aching joints. It will also open respiratory cavities to assist in cold and flu relief.
CAMPHOR OIL USES
Acne & Anti-aging - Camphor extracts have considerable antioxidants which assist in lessening the process of oxidation (creating free-radicals). Free-radicals are chemicals which could disrupt or damage skin tissue as well as cells within the body, over time. Antioxidants are reducing agents that limit oxidative damage.
Camphor’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents treat acne and eliminate dark scars, keeping skin free of oil and eliminating impurities through the surface offering a fresh glow and improving complexion.
Mix camphor oil with olive oil, apply to assist in relieving pain and swelling of pimples, acne, and boils.
Antiseptic - Camphor oil is a wonderful disinfectant and germicide. Ayurvedic herbal tooth powders include camphor, simply because it assists in eliminating bad smelling breath. For painful gums, combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda, pinch of salt with a pinch of edible camphor to make a paste. Massage your teeth and gums and rinse.
Anxiety - It behaves as an excellent local anesthetic, leading to numbness of the sensory nerves in the area of application. Additionally, it decreases the harshness of nervous disorders as well as convulsions, epileptic attacks, nervousness, as well as chronic anxiety.
Aphrodisiac – Food grade camphor oil, when consumed, stimulates the portions of the brain responsible for sexual desire. Externally utilized, it will act as a stimulant which boosts the activity of the circulatory system and increase blood flow.
Arthritis & Joint Pain - As a detoxifier and stimulant, camphor oil excites blood flow and provides relief to rheumatic diseases, arthritis, and gout. Applied topically camphor has a healing icy feel causing numbness and decreasing pain. Massaging the body with hot coconut or sesame oil, combined with camphor right before a warm shower or bath reduces inflammation, aches and pain due to the sedative and stimulating qualities of camphor.
Burn Scars – To lessen burn scars, mix a pinch of camphor in water and apply daily. It is not advisable to apply to fresh burns as it may irritate affected area.
Cold & Flu - The powerful aroma of camphor oil is an effective decongestant, instantly reducing blockage. Inhaling the vapor of camphor, (by placing 2-3 drops in a vaporizer), provides advantages for clearing mucous, assisting normal breathing through the elimination of congestion of the lungs and nasal passages, as well as bronchial tracts.
The chest rub recipe can be utilized (or, if accessible, heat a few drops of eucalyptus oil with a couple drops of camphor) by applying to chest, back and forehead.
Use this on babies over the age of 6 months. For infants, it is advisable to treat the lactating mother. If the mother isn’t breastfeeding, decrease the camphor to the mere grain as well as rub the oil only around the baby’s back. Alternatively, you can preserve a pot of water or a vaporizer using a drop of camphor oil and leave it in the baby’s room.
Cracked Heel - One of the advantages of camphor is it treats cracked as well as rough heels. Soak feet in camphor bath for a couple of minutes and follow up with a scrub.
Cramps/Spasms - It is an extremely powerful antispasmodic and provides instant relief from spasms as well as cramps. Additionally it is efficient at healing severe spasmodic cholera.
Digestion - Camphor has been to promote digestion as it works well for secreting numerous juices and enzymes necessary for digestion of food.
Fungal infection - Feet and toe nails are definitely the main regions for fungal infections. A combination of camphor as well as water whenever placed on these areas (should avoid using it on broken skin) helps heal these types of infections. Camphor ointment/oil relieves onychomycosis (toenail fungus) and the sign of warts, eczema, hives, as well as psoriasis.
Hair Growth - Camphor is wonderful for the hair as well, fortifying roots and giving it shine, as well as combatting dandruff or dry scalp. When combined with various other essential oils, camphor oil can easily boost hair growth, relax the mind and reduce stress. Massaging camphor oil heated with coconut oil assists in strengthening weak roots as well as encouraging hair growth.
Indigestion/Gas - Camphor energizes the secretion of gastric juices eliminating gas and aiding in digestion. For treatment of vomiting, take edible camphor, cardamom, and ajwain or caraway seeds and boil in water. This is often stored for later use and can be transported when traveling, to utilize for indigestion, vomiting and diarrhea.
Insecticide - Camphor is an insect and moth repellent. The lingering aroma on a piece of cloth soaked in camphor oil (or place 2-3 drops in a diffuser/nebulizer) and left in the open or placed in cupboards helps drive away insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, and flies. The oil is additionally great for eliminating head lice.
Insomnia - For an excellent night’s sleep, add a pinch of edible camphor to warm milk and consume at bedtime.
Rashes/Itchy Skin - Skin problems such as irritation from rashes and itchy skin may be treatable by making use of camphor around the affected region. Simply use a few drops of camphor oil diluted in olive oil, massaging around the affected area for immediate relief. Using a liniment or soaking in a bath with camphor, will provide significant relief.
In ancient and medieval Europe, camphor was used as an ingredient in sweets. It was used in a wide variety of both savory and sweet dishes in medieval Arabic language cookbooks. It also appears in sweet and savory dishes, in a book written in the late 15th century, for the sultans of Mandu, the Ni'matnama. An early international trade made camphor widely known throughout Arabia in pre-Islamic times, as it is mentioned in the Quran 76:5 as a flavoring for drinks. By the 13th century, it was used in recipes everywhere in the Muslim world, ranging from main dishes such as tharid (a traditional Arab dish made of pieces of bread in vegetable or meat broth), and stew to desserts.
Currently, camphor is used as a flavoring, mostly for sweets, in Asia. It is widely used in cooking, mainly for dessert dishes, in India where it is known as kachha karpooram or "pachha karpoora" ("crude/raw camphor"), and is available in Indian grocery stores where it is labeled as "edible camphor".
Solid camphor releases fumes that form a rust-preventative coating and is therefore stored in tool chests to protect tools against rust.