Camphor – Health Benefits, Uses, Qualities, and Side Effects

Camphor – Health Benefits, Uses, Qualities, and Side Effects of Karpur


Camphor is one of the essential ingredients used in many households for various purposes. It is a waxy, transparent, flammable solid with a pungent odor. It is a biochemical compound extracted from the camphor tree. This camphor tree belongs to the ‘Lauraceae’ plant family. This plant is a native species of East Asia.

The following article we will discuss the qualities of camphor and other related information.

Plant Description of Camphor

Camphor can grow up to a height of 20m. It is a type of evergreen plant having a large, strong and hard trunk. The leaves are alternately arranged with stalks, ovate, straight linear and can grow from 4 to 10 cm long. The leaves are bright green on the top and grayish green on the underside. The Karpur tree has small flowers. These flowers can range in color from pale green to pale yellow. The flowers of the camphor tree are fragrant and separated into sub-branches. The tree has a single seeded, fleshy and has 1 to 1.5 cm diameter fruit which can range from dark blue to brown. The leaves and branches of this tree carry a pungent smell of camphor from which this tree can be easily identified.

Camphor - Health Benefits, Uses, Qualities, and Side Effects


Camphor was first found in Florida, a country in the south-eastern United States. This tree was imported to that country for its beauty and planted for the produce of camphor. Later in the winter and spring the migration of this tree was carried out by migratory birds all over the world. Mainly, Camphor tree is native to East Asian countries.

Scientific classification of Camphor tree:  

  • Kingdom : Plantae
  • Clade : Tracheophytes
  • Clade : Angiosperms
  • Clade : Mangolids
  • Order : Laurales
  • Family : Lauraceae
  • Genus : Cinnamomum
  • Species : C. camphora
  • Scientific Name: Cinnamomum Camphora

Various regional names of Camphor in India:

  • English : Camphor tree, Camphor laurel
  • Hindi : Karpur, Karpuram
  • Sanskrit : Karpura
  • Tamil : Karpooram, Pachai Karpooram
  • Marathi : Karpur
  • Kannada : Pache Karpoora
  • Bengali : Karpur
  • Telugu : Karpooram Chettu
  • Gujarati : Karpur

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Health beneficial Qualities of Camphor

1) For skin:

Camphor-rich creams and lotions are used to relieve skin itching. Such creams also improve the aesthetic health of the skin. Camphor has antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities for which it can be used to ward off infections. A study on animals published on the NCBI website in 2015 states that camphor has the ability to regenerate damaged skin from wounds and UV rays. Therefore, it is used as an essential ingredient in anti-aging creams as camphor has the ability to increase elastin and collagen production in skin.

2) Relieves pain:

Applying camphor on the skin removes skin burns and toxins. A study published on the NCBI website and conducted in 2015 found that sprays rich in camphor, menthol and long, eucalyptus oils help to remove mild skin toxins from the general population. This spray can be used on the knees, shoulders, lower back, etc. for 14 days to get rid of pain.

3) Heals burns:

If any part of the skin is burnt, apply camphor-rich cream on it to get relief. A study on animals published on the NCBI website in 2016 found that ointments rich in camphor, sesame oil and honey reduces wound healing time and works effectively.[1]

4) For Arthritis:

Camphor rich products are effective in treating arthritis pain, burns and swelling as camphor has anti-inflammatory properties which can help a lot in this matter.

5) Relieves toenail fungus:

Due to the antifungal properties of camphor, it is more effective in the treatment of nail fungus. A 2011 study found that menthol, eucalyptus oil, as well as camphor-rich ointment can soothe nails.

6) Prevents congestion & cough:

Camphor oil can prevent the accumulation of phlegm in the body. A study conducted in 2010 found that massaging camphor-rich products in the chest prevents the accumulation of phlegm and also helps in the treatment of respiratory problems in young children.

7) Antispasmodic:

Products rich in camphor are also used to massage muscles. These help in relieving muscle toxins, tension, etc. A 2004 study found that camphor had antispasmodic and soothing qualities.

8) For Eczema:

Camphor helps in relieving the symptoms of eczema in young children and the elderly, such as pain and inflammation.

9) Induces sleep:

The aroma of camphor oil calms the mind and creates a sonic atmosphere for a good night’s sleep. You can spray a little oil in the air or just sprinkle a few drops around your pillow.

10) For hair health:

Excessive use of various chemicals can damage the health of the hair. In this case, daily application of camphor oil on the scalp improves hair growth and health by increasing blood circulation to the scalp. This oil can also help with lice problems; for this, mix camphor powder with coconut oil and massage gently on the scalp and leave it overnight and wash off the product next day.

Mixing camphor with water and rubbing it on the scalp can also cure dandruff.           

11) Relieves gastric problems:

Irregular and malnourished diet can lead to gastric problems. In such cases camphor can help. Camphor acts as a stimulant in the body which improves digestive process.

12) Anti-neuralgic:

Inflammation of the blood vessels surrounding the ninth cranial nerve under the influence of neuralgia can cause the organs to become stiff or cause pain. In this case, the use of camphor oil for its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce this problem. This oil helps in the contraction of blood vessels and increases the pressure around the nerves.

13) For Diarrhea:

The effective qualities of camphor are observed in case of diarrhea. Camphor acts as a stimulant in the digestive process and metabolism of the intestines. This helps in relieving diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems.

14) For Asthma:

Inhaling the camphor vapor has a good effect on asthma. Inhaling camphor in this way soothes the respiratory tract, relieves complications and helps in curing asthma problems.

15) For Chronic Anxiety:

Camphor calms the sensitive nerves and demonstrates an anesthetic process that relieves the problem by mitigating the severity of long-term anxiety and neurological disorders. The smoke of burning camphor calms the disturbed mind and reduces the problems associated with it.

17) Treats Acne:

Applying camphor rich substance on the skin makes it beautiful, bright and healthy. It also treats redness, swelling, etc. of the skin. The anti-inflammatory qualities of camphor reduce the chances of skin getting acne and pimples.

16) Treats Cracked Heels:

Applying camphor rich substance in cracked heels makes the skin smooth.

16) In case of cold fever:

Mix 25 gms of camphor with 50 gms of mustard oil, heat it a little and massage it on the chest. It may help to reduce the symptoms of cold fever.

19) Tongue wounds:

Mixing camphor with water and rinsing or gargling with it for about three days can heal tongue wounds.

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Karpur Other qualities

1) Provides relief from insects:

Insects sometimes damage trees. Sprinkling camphor powder all over the garden will provide relief from insects. 

2) Used as deodorant:

During the monsoon season, the houses are surrounded by a foul-smelling atmosphere. To get rid of it, put some camphor cubes in the house. In addition to this, the silver cutleries and clothes stored in the cupboards can be protected from ants and bugs by simply putting a cube of camphor among them. In order to get shiny window glasses you can try mixing camphor with water and clean your window using it.

Uses of Camphor

Camphor has been used for a variety of health reasons and as a home remedy –

  • Camphor is used in products such as- ointments, creams etc. to apply as body massage.
  • Camphor oil is extracted and used for massaging the head and other parts of the body.
  • Camphor is also used in whole. Especially in spiritual places and in the homely environments, whole camphor pieces are used to soothe the mind and to smell its smoke.
  • Some physical problems (such as hemorrhoids) are also treated with camphor induced products.

Harmful side effects of Camphor Precautions

Although camphor has many qualities, in some cases it can be harmful. Therefore, some precautions to be taken while using camphor are mentioned below –

  • Be careful before applying any product rich in camphor greater than 11%; this is because such products can cause skin burns, redness, etc. It is considered harmful for skin. 
  • When inhaling camphor, keep in mind that there should be no more than one quart of camphor in the water. Or it may harm the body.
  • Do not heat any camphor rich product in the microwave. Otherwise, it may lead to an explosion which may injure your body.
  • It is not safe for adults to consume camphor orally. This can cause burning sensation in the mouth and neck, nausea and / or vomiting. Sometimes doing so can lead to death. Other side effects of using camphor orally are- affecting the nervous system, creating confusion, muscle contraction and in some cases visual impairment.
  • Camphor should not be applied directly on cracked skin; this is because the cracked skin allows camphor to enter the body and do damage. 
  • Camphor is not safe to use during pregnancy and lactation.
  • The skins of young ones are quite soft. Applying camphor on such skin can cause harmful symptoms. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor before using camphor in infants. The use of camphor in a tender body may also lead to deaths.
  •  In some cases, it has been observed that consumption of camphor or application to the skin causes liver failure. Do not use camphor, especially if you are taking strong medicine.


This article gives you a brief overview on camphor. The article discusses the qualities of camphor, introductory description, its use and cautions etc. We hope you find the information included in this article useful. Thank You!

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