Camphor is a waxy, flammable, white or transparent solid substance found in the wood of the camphor laurel, a tree native to Asia. It has been used in traditional medicine for ages in Asian countries.
It is available in the form of small cubes and an essential oil that is extracted from the camphor tree.
It has antiseptic, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, stimulant, antirheumatic, antineuralgic, antispasmodic and sedative properties. It also works as a natural decongestant, which mainly led to its use in medicine.
Due to its medicinal properties, camphor is used as one of the main ingredients in many health care products.
Here are 10 surprising benefits of camphor.
1. Cures a Cough
Camphor is a good remedy for a cough.
Its strong smell has the power to clear a congested chest and get rid of a stuffy nose. In fact, several medicated chest and throat rubs for coughs and colds contain camphor as one of the main ingredients.
- Mix 4 or 5 drops of camphor essential oil with 1 tablespoon of almond oil. Gently rub this oil blend on your chest for a few minutes. Use it as needed.
- To treat a chronic cough, steam inhalation is very effective. Put a few drops of camphor essential oil in a bowl of hot water. Inhale the vapor to get relief from chest pain and coughing.
2. Clears Acne
Camphor is beneficial in treating acne. It helps clear up breakouts and prevent future flare-ups.
Its anti-inflammatory nature helps reduce inflammation, swelling and redness in your skin.
- Put 1 cup of extra-virgin coconut oil in an airtight jar.
- Add 1 teaspoon of camphor oil and mix it in thoroughly.
- After washing your face with a cleanser, pat it dry and put some of the oil blend on the acne.
- Massage it into the skin for 5 minutes.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, wash off the oil with lukewarm water and a cleanser.
- Do it once daily.
3. Clears Nasal Congestion
Camphor works as a natural decongestant that provides quick relief from a blocked nose and makes breathing easy and comfortable again.
- Mix a little camphor oil into 1 tablespoon of warm mustard oil. Rub this gently on your chest, back and throat before going to bed to make breathing easier and sleep better.
- You can also apply an over-the-counter, camphor-based cream on your chest a few times a day to fight nasal congestion.
4. Cures Cold Sores
Cold sores or fever blisters are quite common, highly contagious, and cause a lot of pain and irritation. To treat cold sores, try camphor. It is considered to be safe and effective in temporarily relieving pain and itching caused by the lesions, due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Camphor essential oil also has a cooling sensation that helps to treat and cure cold sores.
- Mix 2 or 3 drops of camphor essential oil with 1 tablespoon of melted extra-virgin coconut oil.
- Use a cotton pad to apply it on the sores.
- Repeat 3 or 4 times a day.
5. Kills Head Lice
Camphor, when used along with coconut oil, makes a great remedy to get rid of head lice.
While coconut oil will suffocate the lice, camphor helps to kill the lice due to its antiparasitic property.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of crushed camphor and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
- Apply it on your hair, concentrating mainly on the scalp and roots of your hair.
- Put on a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
- Wash it out the next day with shampoo.
- Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a week for a month to get rid of head lice.
6. Heals Muscle Pain
Be it any kind of muscle pain, camphor is a very effective treatment, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Massaging the painful area with camphor essential oil helps improve blood circulation and reduces stiffness, which in turn promotes healing.
- Mix 5 or 6 drops of camphor oil into 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm olive oil.
- Use it to massage the affected area once or twice a day.
Caution: If massaging makes the pain worse, stop doing it and consult your doctor.
7. Soothes Cracked Heels
If you are worried about your cracked heels, camphor is just the right home remedy for you.
It will help reduce the pain caused by the cracks and also accelerate the healing process.
- Mix a piece of camphor into warm water.
- Soak your feet in it for 10 minutes.
- Scrub your feet with a pumice stone.
- Rinse them with clean water and pat them dry.
- Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub (contains camphor) on your heels and feet.
- Put on a pair of socks and wear them overnight.
- Repeat daily.
8. Treats Corns
A corn on your foot can cause a lot of discomfort while walking or standing. To reduce the discomfort, try camphor essential oil.
Being a strong antiseptic, it can help treat corns. The oil penetrates into the skin quickly, which ensures faster healing.
- Heat ¼ cup of extra-virgin coconut oil in the microwave until it melts.
- Mix in 1 tablespoon of turpentine oil and 2 tablespoons of camphor oil.
- Stir it well and allow the homemade cream to cool.
- Go, soak your feet in warm water for 5 minutes and pat them dry thoroughly.
- Apply this homemade cream on the corn.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily.
9. Repels and Kills Insects and Mosquitoes
Camphor essential oil works as a natural insecticide and repellent. Due to its strong smell and other properties, it can be used to kill or repel mosquitoes and other insects.
- Pour ½ cup of hot water into a clean spray bottle. Add 20 drops of camphor essential oil to it. Shake the bottle well to mix the ingredients. Spray this solution around places where you notice insects or mosquitoes.
- Put a few drops of camphor oil in a diffuser and place it in a room where mosquitoes are present.
10. Treats Restless Legs Syndrome
Those who suffer from restless legs syndrome are familiar with the unpleasant sensations like throbbing, pulling and an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, especially when you’re trying to sleep.
To reduce the discomforts and enjoy sound sleep, try camphor. Its therapeutic and antispasmodic properties help relieve inflammation and reduce restless legs symptoms.
- Put a little camphor oil in warm olive oil. Massage it all over your legs for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this daily before going to bed.
- You can also use camphor cream in the same way.
- Always mix camphor oil with some carrier oil before applying it on the skin. It is very strong and can cause irritation when applied directly on the skin.
- The ideal dosage for taking camphor orally is between 125 and 375 mg a day. Consult your doctor for the dosage appropriate for you.