Note: This post is a compilation of suggestions made by those that have extensively used essential oils and has not been verified scientifically with clinical tests nor reviewed by medical experts. It is anecdotal information and should be treated as such. For serious medical concerns, please consult your doctor.
If you have issues associated with the respiratory system, this is the perfect all-natural remedy! It carries a cool and penetrating aroma, making it an important ingredient in balms, liniments and vapor rubs. The unique piercing scent (some consider it pungent) of camphor is also a deterrent to insects. It works well by protecting closets from cockroaches, moths and other insects.
The camphor trees are native to Japan (the origin of camphor) and Taiwan where these trees form lustrous green forests. It is the official tree of Hiroshima, Japan. There were also wild camphor trees in China; the Chinese were already in massive cultivation before camphor found its way to Florida in the late 1800s. Camphor uses and benefits became popular, which prompted its spread to Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, Egypt, and other countries with warm, tropical and subtropical climates which are favorable to camphor trees.
The woods and barks from 50-year-old and older camphor trees were the early sources of essential oil.
As centuries passed, essential oil producers learned to use only the leaves (which regenerate faster) as they became increasingly aware of saving the environment and preserving trees. Steam distillation is used to extract the camphor oil from the leaves, which can be harvested four times in a year. Taiwan is the largest producer and supplier of white camphor essential oils and other natural products from camphor trees.
Camphor plant belongs to ‘Lauraceae’ family under Botanical name ‘Cinnamomum Camphora.’ It is a sturdy evergreen tree that can grow up to 75 feet tall. This tree is distinctively characterized by a large parent trunk, usually having many offspring trunks. The trunks are covered with thick and rough bark. These trunks form a shady canopy with rich, green, thick foliage. Camphor trees grow best in open spaces with a lot of sunshine. These trees can stand hurricanes and natural calamities, but they don’t tolerate standing under water.
One of the most striking features of a camphor plant is its pervasive odor. You can easily identify a camphor plant by the smell of its crashed leaves and twigs.
Newly sprouted leaves are pink to reddish; flowers are light green or off-white. The tree bears plenty pea-sized, round, fleshy, single-seed fruits that start green, then turn to deep blue or black when ripe. Fruits fall on the ground or are carried by birds to distances where the seeds drop and begin to grow.
Some people consider camphor's scent pungent and its taste bitter. However, others love the clean menthol, medicinal, nose-opening aroma of camphor. This clear and thin essential oil blends well with lavender, melissa, rosemary, sweet basil, chamomile and cajeput.
1. Ointments/Balms: Tiger Balm is a popular ointment that conquered the world as a leading topical analgesic. It contains camphor along with menthol, mint, clove and cajeput essential oils as active ingredients. Tiger Balm is used across the globe because it effectively relieves pains, stomach aches, muscle cramps and spasms. Tiger Balm and other brands of ointments with camphor are a fast remedy to osteoarthritis, cold sores, warts, hemorrhoids and certain skin diseases when applied topically.
2. Insect Repellent: White Camphor essential oil is known for its penetrating aroma which effectively repels tiny insects such as flies, moths and carpet beetles among others. Carpet beetles invade one room after another, notoriously destroying fabrics. Moth balls and other repellents contain camphor that protects clothes, shoes and other fabrics from insects. Camphor oil blends can also be sprayed on carpets and anywhere you may find these insects; it dries quickly because essential oils are highly volatile!
3. Respiratory Relief: Some practitioners of traditional medicine use camphor oil topically to relieve respiratory diseases and reduce heart related symptoms. They use it (diluted) externally on the chest as a remedy to pneumonia and bronchitis and to treat acne and cold sores.
4. Skin Burns/Bruises: Healing products with camphor oil can also be applied to help relieve minor skin burns and bruises. However, any product with camphor should not be applied to open wounds.
5. Incense: In the past, white camphor was used as incense to be inhaled from the air as remedy for respiratory problems such as emphysema, asthma, colds, coughs and bronchitis. In the early years up to the mid-1900s, it was used as remedy for people who fainted or collapsed.
6. Pain Reliever: White camphor oil has the power to stimulate nerves to relieve many kinds of pain and almost all symptoms related to itching when applied topically.
7. Alleviates Inflammation: Inflammations, gout, arthritis and rheumatism are relieved by diluted white camphor essential oil, camphor oil blends or in massage balms/salves when applied on affected joints.
8. Good for Treating Fungi: White camphor essential oil is also a tested and proven defense against fungal infections. “Significantly higher broad-spectrum of antifungal activity was observed in camphor oil than other tested oils because it showed highest percentage of growth inhibition at lowest inhibitory concentration.” Reference:US National Library Of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
9. Insect Killer: White camphor essential oil carries a significant insecticidal property. Camphor aromatic wood is used in making cabinets intended to protect historical records and specimens. Insects die when they come in contact with this oil.
10. Anesthetic: White camphor oil’s cool effect on the skin reduces the feeling of pain by blocking the skin’s sensory nerves. You can also blend this oil with other essential oils to feel fresh, calm and relaxed.
Find it here: Camphor Essential Oil (White)
The world’s oldest camphor tree is located in Japan.
It is an awesome giant at 25 meters tall with a circumference of 33 meters. It is Japan’s third largest tree in existence and designated as a ‘National Natural Monument’. This camphor tree is said to have sprouted at Kawago (Takeo City) during prehistoric times long before rice was cultivated by the people of the Jomon Culture.
There is another large, old camphor tree on the grounds of Kamo Shrine in Japan. It was given a name ‘Kamou no Ohkusu’ and also designated as a National Treasure. It has withstood the most devastating disasters in Japanese history.
The people of Japan do whatever it takes to keep this camphor tree safe; thanks to their efforts, the tree is standing still today. It is believed to be 1,500 years old while the giant at Kawago has survived a cool 3,000 lifespan through all kinds of weather.