Camphor is an organic compound that is used in numerous creams, ointments, and lotions. It is also used in religious ceremonies. It is a combustible, translucent white solid that has a peculiar smell and sour taste.
Camphor oil is extracted from the wood of the camphor tree. It is then processed by steam distillation.
Camphor is known to benefit hair, skin, and certain other health conditions.(1) It has a strong odor and taste and is easily absorbed in the skin.
It is used topically and is known for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Camphor is of 3 types i.e. brown, yellow, and white. Only white camphor is safe to be used for health purposes. Brown and yellow types may contain a high amount of safrole making them toxic and cancer-causing.
8 Superb Health Benefits of Camphor
There are numerous ways in which camphor is beneficial to our health. It is an important ingredient in vapor rubs, balms, and liniments.
1. Skin Health Benefits of Camphor
Camphor relieves skin irritation and itching and improves the overall skin appearance. Due to the antibacterial and antifungal properties, it is useful in healing infections.
A study done on animals to review the effects of camphor found that it was effective in treating wounds and ultraviolet light-induced wrinkles.(2)
Camphor has an ability to increase elastin and production of collagen. It is therefore used as an ingredient in anti-aging cosmetics.
Camphor also helps in alleviating skin issues such as itching and irritation.
2. Pain Relieving Benefits of Camphor
The topical application of camphor on skin alleviates pain and inflammation.
A study found that a spray containing camphor and other ingredients such as clove, eucalyptus, menthol, and essential oil was effective in relieving mild to moderate pain.(3)
The spray can be applied to the joints on the knee, shoulder and also on the back continuously for 14 days to feel the effect.
It may have a cooling, tingling or warming effect as it numbs the nerve endings. It also alleviates redness on the skin
3. Benefits of Camphor in Healing Burns
Camphor can be applied to heal the burn wounds. It decreases the healing time and is found to be more effective than Vaseline. A study conducted on rats found that an herbal ointment containing camphor, sesame oil, and honey was effective in treating burn.(4)
Camphor can also be applied to burn by dissolving it in water. It can be applied daily until the scars disappear.
4. Benefits of Camphor in Treating Arthritis
Camphor containing products are effective in reducing inflammation and swelling in arthritis patients.
The hot and cold sensation that arises after the cream application might be good to divert the attention from the pain.
5. Camphor Treats Toenail Fungus
Due to the antifungal property, camphor is useful in treating toenail fungus.
Research done in 2011 found that Vicks VapoRub was effective in treating toenail fungus.(6) Vicks VapoRub contains camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil.
Also, camphor paste can be made and applied to inhibit fungal growth.
6. Camphor Relieves Congestion And Coughing
Camphor can be used as a decongestant and a cough suppressant. It is effective in relieving night cough, congestion, and sleeping difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infection.(7)
Vicks VapoRub contains camphor and can be used for congestion by taking steam or by applying it on chest and feet.
Camphor can also be dissolved in hot water to inhale it via steam. It treats bronchitis and soothes throat irritation.
7. Camphor and its Antispasmodic Effects
Camphor containing products can be used as a muscle rub to relieve muscle cramps, spasms, and stiffness.
A study found that camphor has antispasmodic and relaxant properties and is thereby effective in treating spasmodic problems.(8)
It promotes calm by calming the nerves and reducing stress.
8. Camphor Improves Hair Health
Camphor can be mixed with any essential oil and applied to the scalp. It stimulates blood circulation and boosts hair growth.
It also improves hair texture and reduces hair loss.
It can also be mixed with coconut oil to be applied to the scalp.
Along with all the above, camphor can also be used for:
Camphor is extremely beneficial and has numerous health uses, still, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use it as directed. You can also speak with your healthcare provider to discuss any doubts regarding any health issue you are intending to treat with camphor.