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Aromatherapy
Camphor

Cinnamomum camphora

The camphor trees (biological name Cinnamomum camphora) usually grow up to a height of about 20 to 30 meters and grow naturally in China and Japan. Presently, these camphor trees are extensively cultivated in Sri Lanka in Asia and California in the United States. The trees - Hon-Sho and Ho-Sho, are members of the Lauraceae family. Primarily, camphor is used in manufacturing celluloid. It may be noted that camphor obtained from the Hon-Sho tree is only fractionate or small proportions and, hence, not complete. On the other hand, camphor obtained from the Ho-Sho tree is absolute - the content of camphor does not crystallize. Precisely speaking, it is very difficult to obtain the essential oil from camphor trees.

The crown portion of the camphor essential oil obtained from the Hon-sho tree, which is usually sold in the market for aromatherapy, encloses plenty of camphor (belonging to a ketone group) and, hence, required to be used cautiously. This essential oil is known by different names - a genuine camphor, gum camphor, hon-sho, Japanese as well as Formosa camphor.

Unadulterated camphor essential oil may have slight toxic effects, but it may be used in vapour therapy with wonderful results for treating congested lungs, drive out lethargy as well as unwind nervous depression. This essential oil has a favourable impact on any psychosomatic (any thing pertaining to the body and mind) illnesses. It may also be used with great caution for effectively treating specific skin conditions.

Following distillation and refinement under vacuum, three fractions of camphor essential oil are produced through a process called filter press. The three portions of camphor essential oil are termed white camphor, yellow camphor and brown camphor. The white camphor oil possesses a fresh and obvious aroma and only this portion of the oil is used in aromatherapy. On the other hand, the yellow and brown camphor essential oils are noxious and carcinogenic (a substance that may result in development of cancer) and, hence, they are never used in aromatherapy.

Advantages of camphor oil in aromatherapy:

  • Camphor essential oil is useful for effectively treating conditions like hypotension or low blood pressure.
  • Camphor oil is also used as an inhalant to reinforce the immune system.
  • Camphor possesses therapeutic properties that are effective in clearing crammed lungs and helps in alleviating breathing problems.
  • Camphor oil has the aptitude to heat or cool the body according to its requirements.
  • Camphor essential oil is helpful in stimulating the heart, pattern of breathing and blood circulation.
  • Camphor oil is also known to be useful in treating arthritis, muscle pains and is widely advised for use by sportspersons.
  • Cold compress with camphor essential oil is useful in treating strains, sprains and trivial injuries.
  • Camphor oil friction baths, camphor oil hot immersion baths and aromatherapy with camphor essential oil are effective in treating muscle and joint aches.
  • Camphor oil is used in baths, massages for aromatherapy and also inhalations to enhance the immune system. However, pregnant women should not inhale camphor essential oil for it may result in adverse effects on the fetus.
  • Inhaling camphor essential oil is effective for treating congestion of the lungs as well as common cold and cough. It may be reminded that inhaling camphor oil may be harmful during pregnancy owing to its extremely potent scent.
  • Many dermatologists use camphor oil to treat inflamed skin conditions, acne and oily skin since it is stimulating as well as perfumed.
  • Camphor oil aromatherapy massages, camphor oil friction baths as well as camphor inhalations are familiar remedies for treating failing nervous system.
  • Camphor also has other remedial properties. It is used as a body balm to treat joint sprains, while camphor spray is used to alleviate congestion of the respiratory tract. Camphor foot deodorant spray and foot cream are also available commercially.

Cinnamomum camphora extracted from the timber of the camphor laurel tree is regularly used to treat numerous conditions, including respiratory troubles, joint and muscle aches, depression, shock, insomnia as well as oily skin. It may be applied topically in cold compresses instantly to lessen swellings caused by sprains and bruises. Cinnamomum camphora or true camphor possesses a potent, sharp and scented smell. Camphor is somewhat cold to touch, something akin to menthol leaves. However, when it is applied topically, it causes irritation and numbs the secondary sensory nerves in the body area. Camphor also possesses mild antiseptic properties. While camphor is not easily absorbed by the mucous membrane, the subcutaneous tissues soak it up without much difficulty. Inside the body, camphor blends well with glucuronic acid. However, one may steer clear of this condition through passage of urine.

The therapeutic property of camphor vis--vis blood pressure or the impact of this essential oil on blood pressure is a highly debated topic among authorities. While some medical experts are of the view that camphor helps to lower blood pressure, there is another group that believes that camphor increases blood pressure. Nevertheless, it has been established that camphor is effective as a stimulant (excitant) in the case of heart failure owing to any ailment or any contagious fevers, for instance pneumonia and typhoid. Camphor not only acts as an effective tonic for blood circulation in cases of pneumonia, but also helps prevent the growth of pneumococci (a bacterium called Diplococcus pneumoniae that causes lobar pneumonia and is also related to certain other diseases).

In addition, the essential oil extracted from camphor laurel trees also has a number of industrial uses. This oil is an important ingredient in the manufacture of certain types of soaps, massage oils, lotions, room fresheners, diffusers, perfumes, deodorants, perfumed oils, body scents, bath oils, towel scenting, incense, laundry, laundry, light rings, hair treatment products, facial steams, aromatherapy products and several other items.

General properties

  • analgesic
  • antispasmodic
  • balancing
  • sedative
  • stimulant
  • warming

Blends well with

General uses

Precaution

Although camphor possesses numerous therapeutic properties, it needs to be used only in severe medical conditions since it is an extremely noxious organic substance. It needs to be cautioned that people who have an inclination for allergy or asthma should never use camphor or the essential oil obtained from it. In addition, it is advisable for pregnant women to avoid the use of camphor or camphor oil. Camphor essential oil has an extremely potent aroma and, therefore, it needs to be used with extreme caution and prudence.

It needs to be mentioned here that using camphor or camphor oil in excessive dosages may result in seizures and vomiting. This organic substance should never be used by people enduring epilepsy.

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