A GUIDE TO CAMPHOR GRADES, BENEFITS, AND USES
- Camphor Essential Oil is derived from the Cinnamomum camphora botanical and is also referred to as True Camphor, Common Camphor, Gum Camphor, and Formosa Camphor.
- There are 4 grades of Camphor Essential Oil: White, Brown, Yellow, and Blue. Only the White variety is used for aromatic and medicinal purposes.
- Used in aromatherapy, Camphor Oil’s scent is known to offer relief to a congested respiratory system by clearing the lungs and addressing symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia. It also boosts circulation, immunity, convalescence, and relaxation.
- Used topically, the cooling effects of Camphor Essential Oil soothe inflammation, redness, sores, insect bites, itching, irritation, rashes, acne, sprains, and muscular aches and pains. With anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, Camphor Oil is also known to help protect against contagious viruses.
- Used medicinally, Camphor Oil stimulates and boosts the circulation, digestion, excretion metabolism, and secretions. It reduces the intensity of physical pain, nervousness, anxiety, convulsions, and spasms. Its refreshing and relaxing scent is also known to stimulate and boost the libido.
HISTORY OF CAMPHOR OIL
Camphor Essential Oil is derived from the Cinnamomum camphora botanical and is also referred to as True Camphor, Common Camphor, Gum Camphor, and Formosa Camphor. Native to the forests of Japan and Taiwan, it is also known Japanese Camphor and Hon-Sho. Before the Camphor tree was introduced to Florida in the late 1800s, it had already begun to be vastly cultivated in China. When its benefits and applications grew in popularity, its cultivation eventually spread to more countries with tropical climates that are conducive to the growth of these trees, including Egypt, South Africa, India, and Sri Lanka. Early varieties of Camphor Oil were extracted from the woods and barks of Camphor trees that were fifty years of age or older; however, when producers eventually became aware of the benefits of preserving the environment by avoiding the cutting of trees, they also came to realize that the leaves were far better for extracting oils, as they had a quicker rate of regeneration.
For centuries, Camphor Essential Oil has been used by the Chinese and the Indians for both religious and medicinal purposes, as its vapors were believed to have healing effects on the mind and body. In China, the sturdy and fragrant wood of the Camphor tree was also used in the construction of ships and temples. When used in Ayurvedic treatments, it was an ingredient for medicine meant to address symptoms of colds, such as coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. It was beneficial for addressing everything from skin ailments such as eczema, to problems associated with flatulence such as gastritis, to stress-related concerns such as low libido. Historically, Camphor was even used in medicine that was believed to treat speech impediments and psychological disorders. In 14th century Europe and in Persia, Camphor was used as a disinfectant ingredient in fumigations at the time of the plague as well as in embalming procedures.
Camphor Essential Oil is steam distilled from the branches, root stumps, and chipped wood of the Camphor Tree, then it is vacuum rectified. Next, it is filter pressed, during which process the 4 fractions of Camphor Oil – White, Yellow, Brown, and Blue – are produced.
White Camphor Oil is the only color grade that can be used in therapeutic applications, both aromatic and medicinal. This is because Brown Camphor and Yellow Camphor are both comprised of high levels of Safrole content, a constituent that has toxic effects when found in amounts as high as those present in these two varieties. Blue Camphor is also considered to be toxic.
The scent of Camphor Oil is considered to be clean, intense, and penetrating, making it ideal for getting rid of insects such as mosquitoes, hence the reason it has traditionally been used in mothballs to keep pests out of fabrics.
CAMPHOR OIL BENEFITS
The main chemical constituents of Camphor Essential Oil are: a-Pinene, Camphene, Limonene, 1,8-Cineole, and p-Cymene.
PINENE is known to exhibit the following activity:
CAMPHENE is known to exhibit the following activity:
LIMONENE is known to exhibit the following activity:
- Nervous system stimulant
- Appetite suppressant
1,8 CINEOLE is known to exhibit the following activity:
- Increased blood flow
- Reduced tension headaches
- Cough suppressant
P-CYMENE is known to exhibit the following activity:
Used in aromatherapy applications, Camphor Oil’s lasting scent, which is similar to that of menthol and can be described as cool, clean, clear, thin, bright, and piercing, is known to promote fuller and deeper breathing. For this reason, it is commonly used in vapor rubs for its ability to offer relief to a congested respiratory system by clearing the lungs and addressing symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia. It boosts circulation, immunity, convalescence, and relaxation, especially for those who suffer from nervous ailments such as anxiety and hysteria. Additionally, Camphor Oil is reputed to address some symptoms of epilepsy. When Camphor Essential Oil is combined with any of the following oils, it is known to contribute to a blend that is aromatically appealing: Sweet Basil, Cajeput, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Melissa, and Rosemary essential oils.
Used cosmetically or topically in general, the cooling effects of Camphor Essential Oil can soothe inflammation, redness, sores, insect bites, itching, irritation, rashes, acne, sprains, and muscular aches and pains, such as those associated with arthritis and rheumatism. With anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, Camphor Oil is known to help protect against contagious viruses, such as those associated with cold sores, coughs, the flu, measles, and food poisoning. When applied to minor burns, rashes, and scars, Camphor Oil is known to reduce their appearance or, in some cases, remove them altogether while calming the skin with its cooling sensation. Its astringent property tightens the pores to leave the complexion looking firmer and clearer. Its anti-bacterial quality not only promotes the elimination of acne-causing germs, it also protects against harmful microbes that can potentially lead to serious infections upon entering the body through scrapes or cuts.
Used in hair, Camphor Essential Oil is known to reduce hair loss, boost growth, clean and disinfect the scalp, eliminate lice and prevent future infestations of lice, and improve texture by contributing smoothness and softness.
Used medicinally, Camphor Oil stimulates and boosts the circulation as well as the function of the rest of the body’s systems, including digestion, excretion, metabolism, and secretion. In doing so, it exhibits a detoxifying property that helps prevent health conditions associated with the overactivity, inactivity, or obstruction of these body systems. Similarly, Camphor Oil is reputed to eliminate bodily gases by promoting their healthy expulsion. The cooling effect of its anesthetic property temporarily obstructs the skin’s sensory nerves to calm the brain and to desensitize areas of the body affected by pain, resulting in numbness that can be helpful for relieving physical stress.
It also reduces the intensity of nervousness, convulsions, anxiety, and spasms associated with epilepsy and cramps. The refreshing and relaxing scent of this calming oil is known to stimulate circulation, thereby offering relief to conditions including arthritis, rheumatic ailments, and gout. Increased circulation to the reproductive organs and the associated body parts also results in a boost to the libido, which thus stimulates sensual desires.
As illustrated, Camphor Essential Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
- COSMETIC: Stimulant, Anti-inflammatory, Sudorific, Rubefacient
- ODOROUS: Stimulant, Anti-spasmodic, Decongestant, Sedative, Nervous Pacifier, Anti-inflammatory, Insecticide, Anti-depressant
- MEDICINAL: Stimulant, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-septic, Decongestant, Anesthetic, Sedative, Nervous Pacifier, Anti-neuralgic, Anti-inflammatory, Disinfectant, Analgesic, Anti-depressant, Carminative, Diuretic, Febrifuge, Hypertensive, Laxative, Sudorific, Vermifuge, Vulnerary
CAMPHOR OIL USES
Used in aromatherapy applications, Camphor Oil can be added to an electric diffuser to promote decongestion. To provide soothing relief to the nose and throat to diminish the discomforts of coughs and colds, simply diffuse 2-3 drops of Camphor Essential Oil. To offer more profound relief to the respiratory system with the added benefits of other valuable essential oils, in a dark glass bottle add 10 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 6 drops Ravensara Essential Oil, 4 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil, and 3 drops German Chamomile Essential Oil. Diffuse 7 drops of this blend for 30 minutes every couple of hours and inhale deeply to help clear mucus and phlegm. If used for a few days a week, this blend is reputed to promote easier breathing.
For an aromatic soak, 2-3 drops of the oil can be added to a bathtub filled with warm water. Soaking in this for 10 minutes is known to address a lack of energy by giving the body and mind a boost with the oil’s crisp and invigorating scent. For a more complex bath blend that uses more beneficial essential oils, mix 10 drops Camphor Essential Oil with 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil and 5 drops Sweet Basil Essential Oil. This blend can be diffused outside of a bath by combining the oils in a dark glass bottle and pouring 7-10 drops into a diffuser.
To eliminate airborne bacteria that causes a polluted indoor environment, combine 15 drops Camphor Essential Oil and 15 drops Pine Essential Oil, storing it in a dark glass bottle. In a well-ventilated room, diffuse 5-10 drops of this blend for 20 minutes to enhance air purity and reduce the potential of creating an environment in which viral infections can thrive.
To overcome feelings of stress and fatigue, or to boost strength and immunity while recovering from a cold or the flu, blend and diffuse 8 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 6 drops Lime Essential Oil, 5 drops Sweet Basil Essential Oil, and 4 drops Frankincense Essential Oil. To relieve migraines, combine and diffuse 10 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 6 drops Neroli Essential Oil, and 4 drops Cajeput Essential Oil. To turn this into a topical blend that can be gently massaged into the temples or the wrists, simply add 2 Tbsp. of a carrier oil of personal preference to the oil mixture.
Used in cosmetic applications, Camphor Oil is known to benefit the oily and acne-prone skin by preventing a build-up of oil, dirt, and bacteria and by reducing inflammation. To create a night serum that is reputed to soothe irritated, tender, and inflamed skin, first choose a carrier choice best suited to your individual skin type, as this will not only create the base of the serum but it will also prevent further skin congestion. Pour 10 ml of this carrier oil into a 12 ml amber glass bottle with a dropper. Next, add 5 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 4 drops Lemon Essential Oil, and 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil. Cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the oils. Before bed, cleanse the face and massage 1-2 drops of this blend into the skin. In the morning, rinse the face with water.
To create a refreshing face mask that boosts circulation and collagen production, balances oil production, and provides relief to itching, inflammation, and irritation, mix 1 g Polysorbate 20 with 3 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 3 drops Orange Essential Oil, 2 drops Geranium Essential Oil, and 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil in a 60 ml (2 oz.) bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with 60 ml alcohol-free Witch Hazel Distillate. Cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the oils. Pour 2 drops of this blend onto a cotton swab and apply it directly to areas of the skin that are affected by excessive oiliness. To address larger areas, add 1 tsp. of this blend to a small basin filled with warm water, then immerse a face cloth in the basin, squeeze out excess water, and place it on the face, keeping the eyes closed. The shelf life of this blend is approximately 1 week (1% dilution).
For a massage blend that promotes better circulation, combine 8 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 4 drops Cumin Essential Oil, 8 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil, and 2 Tbsp. Tamanu Carrier Oil. Though this blend might have a cooling effect at first, it will soon have a warming effect that promotes enhanced blood flow to cold extremities, such as the hands and feet. For a massage blend that soothes sore and tired muscles, simply dilute 5 drops of Camphor Essential Oil in 1 tsp. of one of the following carrier oils: Grapeseed, Hazelnut, or Olive. Massage a small amount of this blend into the affected areas to strengthen muscles and relieve aches.
Used in medicinal applications, Camphor Essential Oil is known to strengthen the immune system and to protect the body against bacteria, even that which is airborne. To create a vapor rub that can be applied to the chest to reduce the symptoms of colds and the flu, first heat 30 ml (1 oz.) of Olive Carrier Oil in a pan, then add a 2-inch cube of Beeswax. Stir these two ingredients together until the wax melts. Next, add 3-5 drops Camphor Essential Oil and stir the combination thoroughly. Store the mixture in a glass jar and keep it in the refrigerator until it cools. Once it solidifies, remove it from the fridge and store it at room temperature. Apply this salve to the chest as needed. Alternatively, it can be massaged into the back or the soles of the feet. This salve has a shelf life of up to 1 year.
For a more complex cold and flu salve that can address internal inflammation, restore strength, and eliminate internal infections and mucus try one of the following blends: Combine 3 Tbsp. Hazelnut Carrier Oil, 5 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 5 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil, and 4 drops Pine Essential Oil. Alternatively, combine 2 Tbsp. Jojoba Carrier Oil, 7 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 6 drops Wild Black Spruce Essential Oil, and 5 drops Pine Essential Oil.
For a massage blend that soothes joint pain caused by inflammation of the tissues, simply combine 3 Tbsp. Sweet Almond Carrier Oil, 8 drops Camphor Essential Oil, and 7 drops Birch Essential Oil in a 45-50 ml (1.5-2 oz.) dark glass bottle. Shake the bottle well to thoroughly combine all the oils, then massage a moderate amount into the affected areas. This can be repeated several times a day for up to 1 week.
For a massage blend that relieves menstrual pain commonly associated with internal inflammation, mix 2 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil, 4 drops Camphor Essential Oil, 4 drops Sage Essential Oil, and 4 drops Thuja Essential Oil. Massage this blend onto the skin below the belly in a gentle clockwise direction until the oil is absorbed into the skin. Gently heating this blend before an application is known to facilitate both its absorption and its healing activity.
A GUIDE TO CAMPHOR OIL & ITS BENEFITS
CAMPHOR ESSENTIAL OIL (STEAM DISTILLED)
Botanical Name: Cinnamomum camphora
Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from wood and vacuum rectified
Country of Origin: China
- Stimulate and improve circulation, digestion, and metabolism
- Relieve flatulence
- Disinfect skin
- Eliminate insects and head lice
- Temporarily numb areas of the body experiencing pain, functioning as a local anesthetic
- Diminish feelings of anxiety and nervousness, among other nervous disorders
- Decrease the intensity of spasms and cramps
- Boost libido
- Soothe pain, inflammation, and irritation
- Have a cooling, soothing, refreshing scent
- Clear the respiratory tract of congestion to promote easier breathing
- Address and prevent infections, both externally and internally
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR CAMPHOR OIL
As per NAHA guidelines, New Directions Aromatics (NDA) does not recommend the ingestion of essential oils. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Camphor Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, liver damage, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. Camphor Oil should not be applied to open wounds or broken skin, as this may facilitate the oil’s penetration into the body in concentrations that may be toxic.
Prior to using Camphor Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Camphor Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Camphor Oil include convulsions, vomiting, nausea, sleeplessness, liver damage, narcosis, or loss of muscle control.
Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
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