The health benefits of camphor essential oil include it properties as a stimulant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, decongestant, anesthetic, sedative and nervous pacifier, antineuralgic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and insecticide substance.
The essential oil of camphor is obtained during the process of extraction of camphor from two types of camphor trees. The first one is the Common Camphor tree, bearing the scientific name Cinnamonum Camphora, from which the common camphor is obtained. The second variety is the Borneo Camphor tree, which is where Borneo Camphor is derived; it is scientifically known as Dryobalanops Camphora. The camphor oil obtained from both have similar properties, but they differ slightly in aroma and in the concentration of various compounds found in them.
The various components of camphor oil are Alcohol, Borneol, Pinene, Camphene, Camphor, Terpene and Safrol. Camphor oil, apart from having a cool, penetrating and lasting aroma, has many medicinal properties as well, which are explained in greater detail below.
Health Benefits of Camphor Essential Oil
Stimulant & Diaphoretic: Camphor oil is an effective stimulant, which boosts the activity of the circulatory system, metabolism, digestion, secretion and excretion. This property helps in treating problems and ailments associated with improper circulation, digestion, sluggish or overactive metabolic rates, obstructed secretions, and a wide variety of other less common conditions.
Antiseptic, Disinfectant, Insecticide, and Germicide: Camphor oil is an excellent disinfectant, insecticide and germicide. It can be added to drinking water to disinfect it, particularly during the summer and in rainy seasons when there is a higher chance of water becoming infected. An open bottle or container of camphor oil, or burning a piece of cloth soaked in camphor oil, drives away insects and kills germs. A drop or two of camphor oil, mixed with a large quantity of food grains, keep those food items safe from insects. Camphor is also used in many medical preparations such as ointments and lotion to cure skin diseases, as well as bacterial and fungal infections of the skin. When mixed into bathing water, camphor oil disinfects the whole body externally and kills lice or other small parasites of bugs that might be on your body.
Decongestant: The strong, penetrating aroma of camphor oil is a powerful decongestant. It immediately relieves congestion of the bronchi, larynx, pharynx, nasal tracts and lungs. It is therefore used in many decongestant balms and cold rubs.
Anesthetic & Nervous Pacifier: It acts as a good anesthetic and is very effective for local anesthesia. It causes numbness of the sensory nerves at the area of application. It also reduces the severity of nervous disorders and convulsions, epileptic attacks, nervousness, and chronic anxiety.
Antispasmodic: It is a very efficient antispasmodic and gives immediate relief from spasms and cramps. It is also effective at curing extreme spasmodic cholera.
Aphrodisiac: Camphor oil, when consumed or eaten, boosts the libido by stimulating those portions of the brain which are responsible for sexual desires and urges. When externally applied, it helps to cure erectile problems by increasing blood circulation in the affected parts, since it is a powerful stimulant.
Antineuralgic: Neuralgia, a severely painful situation is caused when the Ninth Cranial Nerve is impacted due to swelling of the surrounding blood vessels, can be treated using camphor oil. This oil can make the blood vessels contract and thereby reduce pressure on the Ninth Cranial Nerve. This is yet another application of the sedative and soothing properties of this versatile oil.
Anti-inflammatory and Sedative: The cooling and penetrating effects of camphor oil make it an anti-inflammatory and sedative agent. It is very helpful in curing nearly all types of inflammation, both internal and external. It also relaxes the body and mind while giving a feeling of peace and freshness. It proves to be very cooling and refreshing, particularly in the summer. Camphor oil can also be mixed with bathing water to have that extra sensation of coolness in the summer heat.
Narcotic: It does have some narcotic effects, since it temporarily desensitizes the nerves and relaxes the brain. It can also make a person lose control over their limbs if taken in excess, since it impacts brain function. The smell of camphor oil is also somewhat addictive. People have been seen to develop strong addictions to smelling camphor oil or consuming it, so be careful!
Carminative: It is very helpful in giving relief for gas trouble. Primarily, it does not let gas form and secondarily, it effectively removes the gases and expels them in a healthy way.
Antirheumatic, Anti-arthritic & Antiphlogistic: Being a detoxifier and a stimulant for circulatory system, camphor oil excites blood circulation and gives relief to rheumatic diseases, arthritis, and gout. It is also considered an antiphlogistic, that is, it reduces the swelling of body parts. This is yet another beneficial effect of proper circulation.
Other Benefits: It is sometimes used in cases of cardiac failure, in combination with other medicines. It is also beneficial in the treatment of epilepsy, hysteria, viral diseases like whooping cough, measles, flu. food poisoning, infections of the reproductive organs, and insect bites.
A Few Words of Caution: Camphor oil is toxic and can be fatally poisonous if ingested in excess. Even 2 grams can be lethal. Ingestion of a slight overdoses can still manifest symptoms of poisoning, including extreme thirst, vomiting, and a drop in body temperature. It’s always important to remember that a substance which is toxic for insects can be toxic for human beings as well.
Blending: Camphor oil blends particularly well with Basil, Cajuput, Camomile, Melissa and Lavender Oil, for uses in aromatherapy.