Latin: Cinamomum Camphora

Therapeutic Action:

In Western medicine camphor is used externally or as an inhalant. In Oriental medicine, it is more apt to be used internally. Bitter, spicy, warm, toxic, stimulant to circulatory and nervous systems, bronchio-antispasmodic, rubefacient, diaphoretic, antiseptic, anodyne, antispasmodic, vermifuge; affects heart, lung, and liver. Has been used externally in liniments for joint pain, muscle pain, cardiac symptoms, congestion of the respiratory tract, and chilblains. An old method of treating strained ligaments and sprained ankles is to beat 3 to 5 egg whites until stiff, then add fresh camphor leaves which have been ground to a paste; the paste was applied to the area needing treatment and covered with cloth strips, then binding loosely with a bandage; egg white hardens; the process is repeated in 2 days; options are to substitute camphor leaves with eucalyptus leaves; also dried or powdered camphor (1 oz) was also used. Has been used for chapped lips and cold sores. Has been used as an inhalant for bronchial and nasal congestion. Used in Chinese medicine for blood pressure problems, bronchitis, skin diseases, neuralgia, closed wounds, parasites, ringworm, scabies, other types of itching, and as smelling salts.The whole plant is used for abscesses, abdominal pain, arthritis, beri-beri, chholera, dermatophytosis, favus, morphenism, rheumatism, sclerosis, stomachache, toothache, traumatic injuries, tumors, and cancerous ulcers. Used in Ayurvedic medicine for bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, eye problems, indigestion, inflammations, muscle pain, epilepsy, painful menses, gout, rheumatism, to stimulate the heart (weak heart, irregular heartbeat), and insomnia. Has been used for exhaustion, stomachache, abdominal pain, to stimulate blood circulation, and to remove excess moisture. At one time a small block of camphor was worn around the neck in a red flannel bag to ward off colds and flu (Dorothy Hall, Creating Your Herbal Profile). omum camphora syn Camphora officinarum syn Laurus camphora Description: Natural Order, Lauraceae. The Camphora officinarum of Nees; Dryobalanops camphora of others. In the same Family with sassafras, cinnamon, and spice bush. The camphor is an evergreen tree, native of Japan, China, and Southern Asia. Trunk straight, much branched above, living to a great age, and known in a few instances to reach a circumference of thirty and even fifty feet. The leaves are alternate, long petioled, oval, smooth, shining, three-nerved, and of a peculiar yellowish-green color, glandular, fragrant. Flowers hermaphrodite, paniclud, on long axillary peduncles; calyx six-cleft, membranous, white, small, numerous; nine fertile stamens and three sterile. The leaves yield the peculiar substance known as gum camphor; but all parts of the plant, even to the roots, contain this gum. It is obtained by chipping the leaves, roots, and young branches, placing them with a little water in an iron vessel surmounted by a large earthen cupola, the latter lined with straw, and applying a moderate heat. The camphor sublimes and rises with the steam, and condenses on the straw. The crude gum thus obtained is then mixed with a very small portion of quick lime, put in an iron vessel, and from this resublimed by a gentle heat on a sand-bath–the condensing camphor being received in suitable vessels. Camphor has a peculiar and penetrating fragrance, and a bitter, pungent taste. It is brittle yet tenacious, with a specific gravity slightly below that of water. It is very volatile, even at ordinary temperatures; may be resublimed without undergoing change; will wholly evaporate if left exposed; and if a large bottle is but partly filled with it, beautiful crystals will slowly collect at the upper part. It melts at 288E F.; will burn with a bright flame and much white smoke. Water, by trituration, will not dissolve more than a thousandth part, yet will receive a distinct camphorous smell and taste. Alcohol of 85 percent will dissolve nearly its own weight, and stronger alcohol still more; but the addition of water will cause the camphor to be precipitated immediately, and it may be obtained thus in a fine powder. With sugar, or magnesia, a larger percentage may be dissolved in water; and the powder is usually obtained by adding a few drops of absolute alcohol to the gum, and then rubbing it in a mortar. It unites with the resins, and bears toward them peculiar relations, as follows: Mixed with guaiacum, asafoetida, or galbanum, a pill-mass consistence is assumed and maintained indefinitely; with benzoin, tobe, ammoniac, or mastic, a pillular consistence which softens slowly on exposure to the air; with myrrh, olibanum, amber, or opoponax, a pulverulent mass that is somewhat grumous; with resin of jalap, or tacamahac, a permanent powder.


  • Dukes, Page 125-126
  • Nadkarni,Vol I, Pages 250-253
  • Paranjape P 126 -127
  • Nadkarni, Vol I, P 250- 253
  • P 552 Duke's

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