Camphor is an herb that can be extracted from the wood and roots of the camphor tree. According to Age-oldherbs.com and Herbal.safety.utep.edu, the camphor tree is typically found in various parts of Asia, South America and in parts of the United States, such as Florida and California. Although camphor oil can have potentially harmful effects if ingested, benefits can be observed when the oil is used topically.
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Camphor oil is known for its ability to alleviate respiratory conditions such as coughing and congestion. According to Herbal.safety.utep.edu, camphor can be ingested, in the form of tea, to reduce congestion. Camphor has been shown, however, to be highly toxic if too high of a dose is ingested. According to Age-oldherbs.com, ingesting even a teaspoon of camphor can result in death. Instead, topical, over-the-counter products can be purchased at your local pharmacy or grocery store. These products can be rubbed over the chest to warm the area and alleviate pain as well as to release vapors that ease cough and congestion.
Camphor oil may also be used as a liniment to relieve pain in the muscles or joints. According to “Herbal Medicine,” by Dian Dincin Buchman, Ph.D., a homemade camphor liniment can be made by mixing 1 oz. of camphor USP with 4 oz. of olive oil. If you do not wish to make your own liniment, there are a variety of over-the-counter options, such as Ben-Gay, available. Such creams can be purchased at your local pharmacy or grocery store and contain controlled amounts of camphor to avoid using highly toxic amounts. Be aware that some individuals may be sensitive to camphor and experience skin irritation. Liniments and creams containing camphor should not be applied to areas of the skin that have open wounds or have been severely burned. When using an over-the-counter cream, always be sure to thoroughly read the directions and warnings that appear on the product packaging or label.
Relief of Skin Problems
Camphor can be used topically to alleviate various skin conditions. According to Innvista.com, camphor can be used to treat cold sores, insect bites, itchiness, eczema, chapped lips and minor burns. When used as a liniment, camphor can also provide pain relief for bruised areas. You can use camphor as an insect repellent to avoid insect bites.