25 January 2022 / Caitlin Devlin
Camphor Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
Camphor has played an important part in traditional medicine all over the world.
Most famously used for pain relief and indigestion, camphor is a therapeutic oil extract from the camphor tree native to the forests of Japan and Taiwan.
It has a rich history of medical use – in China and India, its vapours were inhaled for their healing effects on the mind and body, and it was used a fumigant in Europe during the era of the Black Death. Camphor is popular in family medicine cabinets as its soothing and relieving effects have a number of applications.
Camphor essential oil can ease coughs.
Camphor oil has powerful antitussive properties. This means that it is able to help alleviate consistent coughing and reduce congestion in the chest, relieving symptoms of many respiratory conditions. A study in 2013 found that camphor oil was effective in treating cough symptoms rapidly in children aged 2-11 and allowed them to sleep much easier. This cough-relieving effect works because camphor oil has dual warming and cooling effects that allow it to reduce tension and soothe discomfort.
It fights against infections.
Camphor has been shown by a number of studies to have antibacterial effects that make it an effective facial cleanser and allow it to protect the body against bacterial pathogens. It has also been shown that camphor oil can fight against fungal infections – a study in 2005 found that camphor oil has strong antifungal effects, and it has since been observed that camphor can be an effective ingredient in the treatment of toenail fungus. It should be noted that camphor oil shouldn’t be applied undiluted to skin, and should always be used with a carrier oil.
It can reduce pain.
The anti-inflammatory effects of camphor are well documented, and it is for this reason that it has long been a popular home remedy for irritation and swelling. Coupled with its antispasmodic effects, this makes it effective at soothing sore muscles, and its warming and cooling effects relieve stiffness in joints. A study in 2016 found that camphor oil can alleviate back pain, and it has also been discovered that camphor can be effective in treating lymph node inflammation.
It’s good for the skin.
Camphor’s anti-inflammatory effects can also be applied to skincare. The oil can be a useful ingredient in reducing redness and inflammation and combatting the appearance of a number of skin conditions. Camphor’s antibacterial properties allow it to properly cleanse the skin, and the application of diluted camphor oil to the skin helps to increase skin elastin and collagen production, making skin appear brighter and more youthful.
Camphor is a very versatile home remedy, useful for a number of everyday ailments from bumps and scrapes to colds and coughs. Its terpene constituents have a therapeutic effect on the body, and you may find, as they did centuries ago in China and India, that breathing it in also has a therapeutic effect on the mind.
Shop our camphor essential oil here.