CAMPHOR

Lipstick & Roses Ingredient

Other Names:

Cinnamomum Camphora, Gum Camphor, Laurel Camphore, Camphire, Laurus Camphora, Camphora Officinarum

Parts Used:

distillate from wood

Skin Type:

caution for all skin types; used in small amounts, is good for acne

Comedogenicity Rating:

2 – moderately low ability to clog pores

Natural SPF:

used in many commercial sunscreens as a UV light blocker

Region of Origin, Cultivation & History:

Central China, Japan and India

Constituents:

ketones, safroleborneolheliotropinterpineolvanillinlingans, secoisolariciresinol dimethyl ether, kusunokiol, a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, sabinenephellandrenelimonene1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymeneterpinolenefurfurallinaloolbornyl acetateterpinen-4-olcaryophyllenepiperitonegeraniolcinnamaldehydemethyl cinnamateeugenol

Health & Beauty Benefits:

analgesic, anti-spasmolytic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, cardiac, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypertensive, insecticide, laxative, rubefacient, stimulant, sudorific, vermifuge, vulnerary

People use camphor topically to relieve pain and reduce itching. It has also been used to treat fungal infections of the toenail, warts, cold sores, hemorrhoids, and osteoarthritis.

Camphor is used topically to increase local blood flow and as a “counterirritant,” which reduces pain and swelling by causing irritation. 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.

Some people use camphor topically to treat respiratory tract diseases and to treat heart disease symptoms. Camphor is also used topically as an eardrop, and for treating minor burns.

Some people inhale camphor to reduce the urge to cough.

Although it is an UNSAFE practice, some people take camphor by mouth to help them cough up phlegm, for treating respiratory tract infections, and for intestinal gas (flatulence). Experts warn against doing this because, when ingested, camphor can cause serious side effects, even death.

Camphor oil can be used in the treatment of nervous depression, acne, inflammation, arthritis, muscular aches and pains, sprains, rheumatism, bronchitis, coughs, colds, fever, flu and infectious diseases.

Since this oil can be toxic, it should NOT be used in aromatherapy massage, but could be used in vapor therapy to ease respiratory problems. In some cases it can also be used in compresses.

It also has a positive effect in colds and flu, infectious diseases, bronchitis, coughs, and can assist with muscular pains, rheumatism, sprains, arthritis etc.

  • Burners and vaporizers
    • In vapor therapy camphor oil can be used with great effect for the heart, clearing the lungs and boosting circulation, as well as calming nervous diseases and for convalescence.
  • Cold compresses
    • For bruises and sprains, cold compresses are effective.
  • In a cream
    • Although very small amounts of camphor oil would be included in any formulation, it does have value in fighting inflammatory conditions and reducing redness, making it useful for treating acne, burns and sore chapped hands.

Warnings/Contraindications:

take in small doses – larger does may cause nausea, vomitting, convulsions, palpitations

Camphor is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when applied to the skin in a cream or lotion in low concentrations. Camphor can cause some minor side effects such as skin redness and irritation. Do not use undiluted camphor products or products containing more than 11% camphor. These can be irritating and unsafe. Camphor is also LIKELY SAFE for most adults when inhaled as vapor in small amounts as a part of aromatherapy. Don’t use more than 1 tablespoon camphor solution per quart of water.

Do not heat camphor-containing products (Vicks VapoRub, BenGay, Heet, many others) in the microwave. The product can explode and cause severe burns.

Camphor is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin in higher concentrations for a short time.

Camphor-containing products are LIKELY UNSAFE when applied to broken or injured skin. Camphor is easily absorbed through broken skin and can reach toxic levels in the body.

Camphor is UNSAFE when taken by mouth by adults. Ingesting camphor can cause severe side effects, including death. The first symptoms of camphor toxicity occur quickly (within 5 to 90 minutes), and can include burning of the mouth and throat, nausea, and vomiting.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking camphor by mouth is UNSAFE during pregnancy or breast-feeding. The safety of applying camphor to the skin during pregnancy or breast-feeding is unknown. Do not risk your health or your baby’s. Avoid using camphor during pregnancy.

Children: Camphor is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in children when applied to the skin. Children tend to be more sensitive to the side effects. Camphor is definitely UNSAFE when taken by mouth. Seizures and death can occur if these products are eaten. Keep camphor-containing products away from children.

Liver disease: Taking camphor by mouth or applying it to the skin have been linked to potential liver damage. In theory, using camphor might make liver disease worse.

 

“Camphor” Potters Herbal Encyclopedia (Williamson) [CW Daniel Company Limited 2003] pgs. 91-92

www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-709-CAMPHOR.aspx?activeIngredientId=709&activeIngredientName=CAMPHOR&source=2

www.beneficialbotanicals.com/facts-figures/comedogenic-rating.html

www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/camphor.htm