11 Surprising Benefits of Camphor Essential Oil

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

The health benefits of camphor essential oil may include its potential properties as a stimulant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, decongestant, anesthetic, sedative, and nervous pacifier. It may also act as an antineuralgic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and insecticide.

What is  Camphor Essential Oil?

The essential oil of camphor is obtained during the process of the extraction of camphor from two types of camphor trees. The first one is the Common Camphor tree, bearing the scientific name Cinnamomum camphora, from which the common camphor is obtained. The second variety is the Borneo Camphor tree, which is where Borneo Camphor is derived from; it is scientifically known as Dryobalanops camphora. The camphor oil obtained from both have similar properties, but they differ slightly in aroma and the concentration of various compounds found in them.

The various components of camphor essential oil are alcohol, borneol, pinene, camphene, camphor, terpene, and safrole.

Health Benefits of Camphor Essential Oil

Camphor essential oil has many medicinal properties, which are explained in greater detail below.

May Improve Circulation

Camphor essential oil is an effective stimulant that can help boost the activity of the circulatory system, metabolism, digestion, secretion, and excretion. A study found that camphor induced both cold and warm sensations and improved blood circulation in the skin and muscles. This property helps in giving relief from problems and ailments associated with improper circulation, digestion, sluggish or overactive metabolic rates, obstructed secretions, and a wide variety of uncommon conditions. [1] [2]

May Prevent Skin Infections

Camphor essential oil may be a natural way to fight skin infections. It works by reducing inflammation and preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi. 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 plenty of food grains also helps in keeping them safe from insects. Camphor is also used in many medical preparations such as ointments and lotions to cure skin diseases, as well as bacterial and fungal infections of the skin. When mixed with bathing water, camphor oil disinfects the whole body externally and also kills lice. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Camphor, gum camphor, formosan camphor, and laurel camphor

Use camphor to relieve pain, irritation, and itching. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

May Eliminate Gas

It may be very helpful in giving relief for gas trouble. Primarily, it may not let gas form and secondarily, it effectively removes the gases and healthily expels them.

May Reduce Nervous Disorders

It acts as a good anesthetic and is very effective for local anesthesia. It can cause numbness of the sensory nerves in the area of application. It also reduces the severity of nervous disorders and convulsions, epileptic attacks, nervousness, and chronic anxiety. [7]

May Relieve Spasms

It is known to be a very efficient antispasmodic and gives immediate relief from spasms and cramps. It is also effective in curing extreme spasmodic cholera. [8]

May Increase Libido

Camphor oil, when consumed, boosts the libido by stimulating those portions of the brain which are responsible for sexual desires. When externally applied, it may help to cure erectile problems by increasing blood circulation in the affected parts since it is a powerful stimulant. [9]

May Relieve Neuralgia

Neuralgia, a painful condition caused when the ninth cranial nerve is impacted due to swelling of the surrounding blood vessels, can be relieved using camphor oil. This oil can make the blood vessels contract and thereby reduce pressure on the ninth cranial nerve. [10]

May Reduce Inflammation

The cooling effect of camphor oil may make it an anti-inflammatory and sedative agent. A study provides evidence that essential oil from Cinnamomum camphora leaves has anti-inflammatory properties, by blocking certain pathways that are involved in inflammation. It may be very helpful in curing nearly all types of inflammation, both internal and external. It may also relax the body and mind while giving a feeling of peace and freshness. It may prove 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. [11] [12]

May Reduce Arthritis Pain

A detoxifier and a stimulant for the circulatory system, camphor oil can excite blood circulation and gives relief to rheumatic diseases, arthritis, and gout. It is also considered antiphlogistic as it reduces the swelling of body parts. This is yet another beneficial effect of proper blood circulation. [13]

May Relax Nerves & Brain

Camphor oil may have a narcotic effect since it temporarily desensitizes the nerves and relaxes the brain. According to animal studies, it can help relieve migraine pain by blocking a pathway that is involved in inflammation and pain signaling. It can also make a person lose control over their limbs if taken in excess since it impacts brain function. The smell of the oil is somewhat addictive. People have been seen to develop strong addictions to repeatedly smelling the oil or consuming it, so be careful. [14]

May Relieve Congestion

The strong penetrating aroma of camphor oil is a powerful decongestant. It can immediately relieve congestion of the bronchi, larynx, pharynx, nasal tracts, and lungs. It is, therefore, used in many decongestant balms and cold rubs. [15]

Other Benefits

It is sometimes used in cases of cardiac failure, in combination with other medicines. It is also beneficial in providing relief from symptoms of hysteria, viral diseases like cough, measles, flu, food poisoning, infections in the reproductive organs, and insect bites. [16]

Word of Caution: Camphor oil is toxic and can be fatal if ingested in excess. Even 2 grams can be lethal. Ingestion of a slight overdose can still manifest symptoms of poisoning, including extreme thirst, vomiting, and a drop in body temperature. [17]

Blending: Camphor oil blends well with basil, cajuput, chamomile, Melissa, and lavender oil for use in aromatherapy.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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