Camphor Essential Oil
Hon-Sho, Laurel Camphor, Gum Camphor.
- Camphor Essential Oil is among the most effective, popular and highly regarded oils for aiding the immune system, relieving pain and soothing respiratory concerns. Always avoid the many synthetic versions.
Farming Method Wildcrafted Country of Origin Taiwan Plant Part Wood Scientific Name Cinnamonum camphora Application Method Bath, Compress, Diffusion, Inhalation, Topical
Camphor Oil is a strong antiseptic, with a sharp, penetrating, cooling sensation when inhaled. In Asia it is revered as an overall health tonic. Although it must be handled with care, it can be used to aid in colds, pain relief, oily skin and preventing insect bites.
Here is how to use Camphor essential oil for various conditions:
Topical Application for localized use on the skin: Dilute up to 1-2% in any carrier oil (5-10 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil). See precautions below.
Topical Application for whole body massage: Dilute up to 1% in any carrier oil (5 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil). See precautions below.
Compresses: Dilute up to 1-2% in hot or cold water (5-10 drops per tablespoon of water). See precautions below.
Aromatic Bath: Dilute in bath salts or milk or similar before adding to a full bath. See precautions below.
- Muscle and joint pain: Aromatic Bath, Topical Application.
- Sore muscles, sprains, arthritis, rheumatism: Topical Application.
- Cough, bronchitis, colds: Direct Inhalation from a diffuser, Steam Inhalation, Topical Application to chest.
- Sore throat: Compress, Direct Inhalation from a diffuser.
- Skin and hair health: Add 1% to skin and hair products.
- Insect repellent: Topical Application on exposed skin.
The distillation process produces three fractions of Camphor: white, brown and yellow. White Camphor Oil is the lightest, with the lowest boiling point. Do not use brown or yellow camphor, which contain safrol. These types are toxic and carcinogenic. White Camphor Oil is acceptable for use because it does not contain safrol.
Camphor has a longstanding reputation in Asia for protecting people against infectious diseases, which in times past could be devastating. Camphor was also traditionally used as an ingredient in smelling salts, because it was known to be stimulating to the body’s vital organs.
About the Plant
The sharp scent of Camphor Essential Oil gives off such an antiseptic and sterile impression, it is easy to forget that it comes from the wood of an actual evergreen tree. This tree is tall, stately and attractive, with small white flowers and red berries. After the tree has matured past 50 years, it produces the white crystalline formations that are sold as crude camphor. Although the crude camphor is potent, Camphor Essential Oil is distilled from the wood of the camphor tree, not the crystals.
Lauraceae – Laurel Family
It is important to distinguish between Camphor Essential Oil and camphor, the aromatic compound. While camphor itself is crystalline in isolated form, it is lipid soluble and exists in liquid form in many essential oils, usually in quantities of less than 1%. In Camphor Oil, camphor is present in quantities of around 5%. Camphor Oil that contains much more than 5% is probably extended with the synthetic compound. The crystalline form commonly comes from a synthetic source.
Scent: The fragrance of camphor is sharp, penetrating and cool, similar to eucalyptus and other evergreen trees.
Blends With: Sandalwood, Cypress, Frankincense, Clary Sage.
Fragrance Note: Middle.
Composition: Cineol, pinene, terpineol, menthol, thymol.