Camphor essential oil is extracted from camphor trees which grow in the tropical regions of Asia and South America. The oil is distilled from the camphor trees’ wood and roots and has been used by humans for different purposes for centuries. Persians used it to control plagues while the Chinese used its aromatic properties in building their temples. Camphor oil was also an essential ingredient for embalming.
Today, the use of camphor essential oil is regulated because of its toxic properties. The current distillation process produces three types of camphor- white, yellow and brown. Only the white camphor is used for medicinal and aromatic purposes because the other two contains a substance called safrole which is deemed toxic and carcinogenic. White camphor should also be used with care when used as a home remedy and the following are just some of its common uses:
Camphor essential oil is probably best known as an insect repellant. One only has to soak a piece of cloth with the essential oil and leave the cloth in the open to allow the camphor’s scent to permeate and drive insects away. You can also use it as an anti- mosquito repellant lotion or disinfectant to kill germs and get rid of lice. Other households mix a drop of oil with their stored grain to keep insects away.
Many decongestant products like cold rubs and balms contain camphor essential oil because of its proven efficacy in getting rid of congestions in the respiratory system. Just dilute camphor essential oil in lavender or olive oil and apply it on the chest to reduce coughing or cure nasal problems.
Our circulatory system’s function also improves with the use of camphor essential oil. When diluted with carrier oil, it can effectively stimulate our metabolism which in turn eliminates problems that are caused by poor circulation such sluggishness, poor bowel movement, gout and rheumatism. Camphor oil is also known as anti-phlogistic because it helps reduce the swelling in our body like in the case of arthritis.
Camphor essential oil is effective in soothing inflammation. It has a cooling effect which helps relieve pain. As an example, it can even be used as a pain reliever when extracting teeth at home and its anti inflammatory property reduces gum swelling. Camphor oil is also used to mitigate the pain cause by neuralgia by causing the blood vessels to contract thereby easing the pressure on the cranial nerve.
This essential oil can also be used topically as a temporary anesthetic. It can relieve you from pains caused by skin irritations, mild burns and insect bites because camphor has the ability to numb the sensory nerves on the skin. Blocking the sensory nerves will reduce the ability of the brain to read pain in the affected areas.
As a stimulant, camphor essential oil also excites the areas of the brain that is responsible for sexual desires. It can also be used as a cure for erectile dysfunction because of improved blood circulation.
Too much gas in our stomach can be very uncomfortable and at times painful. Camphor essential oil can help relieve us from gases and stops gases from eventually forming.
Risks of Camphor Essential oil:
Because of its toxic properties, camphor essential oil must be prepared and used properly in order to avoid serious medical emergencies or fatal results.
- Do not use this camphor essential oil in its pure form. Always dilute it in carrier oil like Basil or Lavender to mitigate its harmful effects.
- Camphor essential oil is known to be a convulsant so great care should be exercised to avoid seizures especially among small children.
- Camphor essential oil is known to cause liver damage. Make sure not to ingest this substance or apply it directly on the skin because it can cause poisoning.
- Camphor oil is also a well known narcotic and excessive doses can lead to paralysis and loss of motor functions.
- Pregnant women should avoid the use of camphor oil due its negative side affects.