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Know your Herbs

Camphor

Camphor tree, also known as Cinnamomum Camphora belongs to the Lauraceae plant family. It is commonly known as camphor wood, camphor laurel or camphor tree. Camphor tree is native to China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

Camphor tree is a large evergreen tree that grows up to a height of 20-30m. The leaves are glossy and waxy which smell like camphor when crushed. This tree has rough patchy bark and white flowers. It also bears clusters of black fruits which are berry-like and around 1cm in diameter.

The leaves and the wood of this tree are used for extracting essential oils. The essential oil is rich in bornanon, cineol, terpineol, menthol and thymol. It is obtained through steam distillation. Camphor oil is completely herbal and natural and has been used over centuries.

Camphor tree contains secretory cells through which volatile oil is extracted. This oil crystallizes as soon as it makes contact with air. Camphor oil is used in balms, vapour rubs and oils for therapeutic purposes. Camphor has been used as a culinary spice, insect repellent and a component of incense sticks.

Camphor essential oil is white in colour and has a strong odour.

Benefits of Camphor

  1. Relieves Pain: Camphor oil has an analgesic property that helps in relieving pain. It is a very simple remedy for muscle aches and body pain. Fever and palpitations are also treated with the use of camphor.
  2. Reduces joint pain: Joint pain and joint issues like arthritis can be dealt with the use of camphor oil. The analgesic property of this oil helps in reducing pain and inflammation of joints. Due to its effective qualities, it is used in many ayurvedic treatments for arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  3. Helps in treating skin issues: The anti-bacterial action of camphor helps in treating skin issues. It is also a popular home remedy for itching, bacterial and fungal infections. It is largely used as a skin and beauty enhancer. The use of camphor and coconut oil is a traditional skin soothing treatment for skin allergies. It also finds a special place in skin ointments and medicines.
  4. Helps in inducing sleep: The soothing effect of camphor oil helps in inducing sleep. It can be used to relax the body and give a comforting feel. Traditionally, it is mixed with a carrier oil and applied for a calming effect.
  5. Reduces cold and cough: Congestion in the throat caused by cold and cough can be reduced with the help of camphor. This powerful action makes it an important constituent of nasal decongestant and expectorant. The inhalation of camphor vapours decongests the air passages and brings back the natural flow of air.
  6. Improves blood circulation: Camphor is used for improving the blood circulation in the human body. It has a unique stimulating effect that boosts the digestive process, circulatory process and secretion process in the body.
  7. Treatment for head lice: Camphor is used as a home remedy for treating head lice that are quite common among children. In this remedy, camphor pieces are dissolved in hair oil and applied on the scalp. It has shown effective results and is best for treating lice at home.