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Scientific View By
B.pharma
Ayurvedic View By
BAMS
Reviewed By
MBA (General management), MD (Clinical Pharmacology)
Last updated on:
17 Apr 2019 | 10:22 AM (IST)
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Camphor

Camphor
Camphor commonly known as Kapur is a white, crystalline substance with a strong odor and a pungent taste. Pharmaceutical properties of Camphor are analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, contraceptive, mild expectorant, nasal decongestant and cough suppressant. It helps to manage various diseases like chest congestion, rheumatism, sprain, bronchitis, asthma and muscle pain[2][3].

What are the synonyms of Camphor?

Cinnamomum camphora, Karpura, Karpur, Kapur, Karpuram, Chutakkapuram, Kaapurl, Kapura, Karpram, Karpuraamu, Riyaahi Kapphur, Kaaphoraa.

What is the source of Camphor?

Plant Based

Benefits of Camphor

How effective is Camphor?

Insufficient evidence
Low blood pressure
1. Cough
In Ayurveda, cough is known as Kas Roga and is caused by poor digestion. Poor diet and incomplete elimination of waste leads to the formation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the form of mucus in the lungs. Edible Camphor has a good role in reducing Ama and helps in expelling the mucus from the lungs in spite of its Sita (cold) property.

2. Indigestion
One of the reasons for indigestion is Agnimandya (weak digestive fire) and edible Camphor helps to improve the Agnimandya (weak digestive fire) because of its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. But it is advisable to consume Camphor in small amounts as over dosage of Camphor might cause indigestion, nausea and vomiting.

3. Obesity
According to Ayurveda, diet and lifestyle are one of the major causes behind obesity. This weakens the digestive fire, increases accumulation of Ama, and leads to an imbalance in Meda dhatu which ultimately causes weight gain. Edible Camphor improves the digestive secretions and reduces Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) because of its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. Edible Camphor also has Lekhana (scraping) property which removes excess fat from the body.

Precautions when using Camphor

Advice from Experts
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Avoid the consumption of Camphor in case of epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease as it may lead to some side effects.
scientific
Scientific View
Take Camphor orally only after consulting with your doctor[4].
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid the oral consumption of Camphor if you have liver diseases as it may lead to liver damage[4].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid the consumption of Camphor during breastfeeding[4].
Patients with heart disease
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Avoid the consumption of Camphor or take it under medical supervision if you have hypertension as it may increase blood pressure.
Pregnancy
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid the consumption of Camphor during pregnancy[4].

Recommended Dosage of Camphor

  • Camphor Powder - 1 pinch once or twice a day.
  • Camphor Granules - Take as per your doctor's recommendation.

How to use Camphor

1. Camphor Powder with Jaggery
a. Take 1 pinch of edible Camphor powder.
b. Add some mishri or jaggery to it.
c. Take this mixture after meals twice a day.

2. Camphor Granules
a. Take 1 pinch of edible Camphor granules.
b. Add some jaggery to it.
c. Take this mixture after meals twice a day.

Note: Please consult your doctor before taking Camphor orally.

Benefits of Camphor

What are the benefits of Camphor for Cough?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor is beneficial in managing cough and associated symptoms. Camphor is known to have antitussive activity, therefore increases the cough latency and reduces the cough frequency[4][5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Cough is caused by an aggravation of Kapha and weak digestion. When the food we eat is not fully digested, it changes into Ama. This Ama reaches the respiratory system in the form of sputum and causes cough and congestion. Camphor works as a decongestant and cough suppressant due to its Kapha balancing property.
Tip:
1. Take a small amount of Camphor.
2. Mix it with coconut oil and apply and massage well on the chest or back side or take Camphor inhalation through vaporization.
3. This is most effective in relieving cough at night, congestion, and sleep difficulty in children with upper respiratory tract infections.

What are the benefits of Camphor for Local anesthesia (Numb tissues in a specific area)?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor is beneficial in managing pain associated with arthritis, bruises, muscle and ligament strains, weak bones and low back pain. Due to its anti-nociceptive activity, Camphor is used as a topical analgesic in balms and liniments. Terpenoids in Camphor binds to the pain receptors, desensitizes them, therefore resulting in long term pain relief[4][5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Camphor acts as a counter-irritant as it first produces a feeling of warmth by increasing the blood flow. Later on it gives a soothing and a cooling effect due to its Sita (cold) nature. Together this helps reduce pain when Camphor is used on the affected area.
Tips:
1. Take Camphor powder.
2. Mix it with mustard oil or coconut oil
3. Massage on the affected area once or twice a day to get rid of pain

What are the benefits of Camphor for Osteoarthritis?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Camphor gives relief from pain in osteoarthritis as it acts as a counter-irritant when applied externally. Camphor acts as a counter-irritant as it first produces a feeling of warmth by increasing the blood flow. Later on, it gives a soothing and cooling effect due to its Sita (cold) nature. Together, this helps reduce pain when Camphor is used on the affected area. It also helps reduce local area inflammation due to its Ropan (healing) nature.
Tip:
1. Take 2-5 drops of Camphor oil.
2. Mix it with mustard or coconut oil.
3. Massage on the affected area once or twice a day to manage pain in osteoarthritis.

What are the benefits of Camphor for Skin infections?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor is beneficial in managing skin irritation due to its anti-infective and antipruritic activities[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Camphor can help control skin irritation and itching by producing a soothing effect due to its Ropan (healing) property.
Tip:
1. Take a piece of Camphor.
2. Melt it in lukewarm water and apply it to the affected area.

What are the benefits of Camphor for Piles?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Camphor helps to reduce swelling, burning sensation and pain in piles due to its coolant effect. It also helps to accelerate the healing process due to its Ropan (healing) property.
Tip:
1. Take 2-5 drops Camphor oil.
2. Mix it with coconut oil.
3. Apply it on the piles mass once or twice a day to manage pain and swelling.

How effective is Camphor?

Likely effective
Cough, Local anesthesia (Numb tissues in a specific area), Osteoarthritis, Skin infections
Insufficient evidence
Fungal nail infections, Piles
1. Mouth ulcer
Mouth ulcers are caused due to a vitiation of the Pitta dosha. Camphor helps to manage mouth ulcers due to its Pitta balancing property. It also helps in reducing burning sensation and in quick healing of the sores.

Precautions when using Camphor

Advice from Experts
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Camphor oil should be used after diluting in base oils like sesame oil before applying on the body.
Allergy
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid the use of Camphor on broken or injured skin as it may lead to side effects[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Mix Camphor with coconut oil or any skin cream if your skin is hypersensitive.
Breastfeeding
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid the application of Camphor on the skin during breastfeeding[4].
Pregnancy
scientific
Scientific View
Avoid the application of Camphor on the skin during pregnancy[4].

Recommended Dosage of Camphor

  • Camphor Oil - 5-10 drops or as per your requirement.
  • Camphor Powder - 1 pinch or as per your requirement.

How to use Camphor

1. Camphor Powder with Coconut oil
a. Take 1 pinch of Camphor powder.
b. Mix it with coconut oil and apply on the skin.
c. Use this remedy 1 to 3 times a week to control fungal infections.

2. Camphor Oil with Sesame oil
a. Take 1 pinch of Camphor powder.
b. Mix it with sesame oil and apply it on the skin.
c. Use this remedy once a day to get relief from arthritic pain.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What are the chemical constituents of Camphor oil?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor contains 1,8 cineole, Limonene, Sabinene, P-cymene, Camphene, B-mycerene and each of its constituents are responsible for some specific therapeutic benefits like bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory, relaxant, antidepressant, antimicrobial and antioxidant.

Q. What is artificial or synthetic Camphor?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor can be synthesized in the laboratory by using turpentine oil. There are different uses of synthetic Camphor such as in perfumery, insect repellent, and religious ceremonies. It is generally advisable to check the authenticity of the Camphor before using it.

Q. What are Camphor balls?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor balls are also called as moth balls. They are white in colour, small balls that are used for storing clothes and other articles susceptible to insects and pests.

Q. Is Camphor edible?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor used in cooking in India is the 'edible camphor' and is known as Pachha Karpooram which means "green camphor”. Camphor is also used as a flavoring agent in various dishes.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Camphor is of two types one is edible and the other is non-edible. It is the edible camphor that is used for making Ayurvedic medicines. But it is advisable to use edible camphor under medical supervision as it might cause some side effects.

Q. What are the different types of Camphor that are available?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurvedic books, Kaiyadeva Nighantu explained three types of Camphor: Ishavasa, Him Camphor, and Pitashrya. Further, it was divided into two types: Pakva (artificial) and Apkva (natural). Nowadays, Camphor is also synthetically prepared using terpentine; this is however used for offerings to God and is not meant for medicinal use.

Q. Can Camphor be used in patients suffering from Herpes?

scientific
Scientific View
Camphor is known to have antiviral activity. Studies state that external application of lavender oil mixed with Camphor deactivates both herpes simplex type-1 and herpes simplex type-2 virus. This prevents spreading of the herpes infection[5].

Q. Can Camphor be used as an insect repellent?

scientific
Scientific View
Due to its insecticidal activity, Camphor is commonly used as an insect repellent in homes. Camphor also shows repellency against a number of mosquito species[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Camphor is considered as one of the most effective natural insect repellents due to its Tikshna (sharp) odor that drives insects like mosquitoes away.
Tip:
1. Place 1-2 tablets of Camphor at different corners of the room.
2. Once it starts evaporating, the odor purifies the air and keep insects or mosquitoes away.

References

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1.Volume 1.
  2. Singh R, Jawaid T.Cinnamomum camphora (Kapur): Review.Phcog J.2012;4(28):1-5.
  3. Hamidpour R, Hamidpour S, Hamidpour M, et al. Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), a traditional remedy with the history of treating several diseases.Int J Case Rep Imag.2012; 1-4.
  4. WebMD.Camphor: Uses, Side effects, Interactions, Dosage [Internet]. Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  5. Chen W, Vermaak I, Viljoen A.Camphor—A fumigant during the black death and a coveted fragrant wood in ancient Egypt and Babhttps://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-709/camphor ylon—A review.Molecules.2013;18(5):5434-5454.
  6. Garg N, Jain A.Therapeutic and medicinal uses of karpura-A review.IJSR.2017;6(4):1174-1181.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.