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Camphor is used to relieve minor pain and itching, to treat fungal infection of the toenail and to have temporary relief from cough associated with common cold.

How it works

Camphor belongs to the class of medicines called rubefacients/antitussives. When applied to the skin, it increases blood flow and local temperature of the affected area which suppresses and temporarily relieves pain sensations. It also eases cough, nasal/throat irritation by moistening air passages when used along with steam.

Common side effects

Irritation of ear, Allergic skin rash


No medicine available

Expert advice

  • Do not apply this medicine on wound/damaged skin, eyes and nose.
  • Tell your doctor if you have sensitive skin. Avoid exposure to sunlight as it can cause photosensitivity.
  • Do not administer camphor based medicines orally in large amounts as it can be toxic.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take if allergic to camphor or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not take if below 2 years.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is camphor edible?
Edible camphor is different from the chemically made camphor. Camphor used in cooking is ‘edible camphor’.

Q. Is camphor poisonous?
Yes, if camphor is applied to broken skin, it can enter the body quickly and reach concentrations that are high enough to cause poisoning. Overdose of camphor can result in poisoning.

Q. Is camphor saturated or unsaturated?
Camphor is unsaturated.

Q. Is camphor soluble in water?
No, camphor is not soluble in water.

Q. Is camphor and naphthalene same?
No, camphor and naphthalene are not same.

Q. Does camphor cause cancer?
There is no scientific information available which confirms that camphor causes cancer.

Q. Does camphor burn with a flame?
Yes, camphor releases hydrocarbon gases that will burn and releases flame.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)