Sharp, piercing, and yet-fresh and inviting. Though it may seem odd to group these words together to describe a smell, they are pretty accurate. The amazingly fresh scent of camphor seems to penetrate every corner of your sinuses, making you feel as if you’ve given yourself a lung bath. If that isn’t enough to make you want pure camphor essential oil, this is sure to: Camphor oil has a long list of scientifically tested healing benefits. Here we will outline the history of camphor, and go over the most promising and well researched benefits on the list.
Camphor: A History of Use
Camphor is generally extracted from the bark of the Cinnamomum camphora tree. In countries in Asia where the camphor laurel tree hails from, the white resin has been used for centuries in fragrances, foods, religious ceremonies, embalming fluids, and most notably, medicines.
Camphor Essential Oil
Through the use of modern methods, it is now possible to extract the most beneficial compounds of the resin to create the widely used camphor essential oil. Camphor oil is comprised of mainly camphor, 1,8-cineole, linalool, and a-pinene. Others compounds are present, but in lower amounts.
If these names look familiar- maybe you’ve been reading about the health benefits of Eucalyptus oil. Camphor oil and eucalyptus oil share a few of the same beneficial compounds, and using them together can produce a synergistic effect.
In the Body
The effects camphor essential oil has on the body are numerous, and more are being studied every day. Though used medicinally for centuries, it was not until the late 19th century that any real scientific study on menthol was carried out. When studies finally began, we found a variety of proofs for its widespread fame.
When used topically, camphor has an antispasmodic effect. Combined with the analgesic action of a main component; 1,8-cineole, and it is obvious why the familiar scent is present in countless muscle rubs and topical creams.
One recent study found 1,8-cineole, a component of camphor oil, to be effective at reducing pain. The compound is responsible for dulling the pain receptors, thus reducing the response subjects have to them. This combination is perfect for sore muscles and aching joints.
The compounds found in camphor oil can also treat common cold symptoms. This study tested the effects of 1,8 cineole on sufferers of common rhinitis symptoms, finding that the compound had a positive effect on congestion, sinus pressure, and headaches. The effects were most notable when the cineole was applied at the early onset of symptoms.
The abilities of camphor essential oil really come into the light with this one. A recent study, posted to the Journal of American science, revealed the amazing protective benefit of camphor oils on the cells of the body. The compounds in camphor essential oil protect cells from oxidative damage which leads to cancer. Another such study showed Camphor can have a suppressive effect on tumor growth when combined with immunotherapy treatment.
Camphor essential oil is also a useful anti-inflammatory, thanks to one of its major components- linalool. In multiple studies, linalool has been shown effective at reducing inflammation. One recent study focused on damage to lung cells caused by cigarette smoke. The research showed that linalool reduces lung inflammation from cigarette smoke, and does so in a regular way. Linalool can also be useful at protecting lung cells from other environmental toxins when inhaled.
To clear the air in any space, diffuse 2 drops camphor oil, 2 drops tea tree oil, and 2 drops lemon oil in an aromatherapy diffusor for 30 minutes.
In traditional Ayurveda, camphor is used as a digestive stimulant. Indeed we find, when researching camphor, that the compounds within stimulate the entire digestive system. Camphor oil can help the body to produce bile and stimulates the flow of enzymes in the intestine.
For The Brain
A recent study focused on the action Camphor oil has on the brain of individuals with low blood pressure-or hypotension. Though hypotension itself does not pose any inherent risks, people who are affected by it often complain of mental sluggishness or inability to focus. The research found the stimulating effect of camphor oil increases concentration, memory, and coordination. What’s more impressive is the effects were felt by most subjects within five minutes time. It is thought that the stimulating effect causes more blood to be pumped to the brain-thus increasing performance.
On The Skin
Camphor oil is traditionally used on the skin and hair to kill lice, bed bugs, scabies, and the like. As it is very powerful oil, it is important to use it in small amounts. A filled bathtub with one or two drops of camphor oil added is enough to be useful.
The compounds in Camphor essential oil help to kill microbes and disinfect water supplies, and help fungal infections on the skin. When one or two drops are vaporized, Camphor oil actually kills microbes in the air as well.
Other Uses of Camphor Essential Oil
Camphor essential oil may also be a great insecticide and bug repellant. One study found the active ingredient of camphor is a potent bug repellant and insecticide. The oil, steam distilled from the leaves, twigs, and seeds of the camphor tree proved to be effective at killing and repelling insects and pests.
If bugs are bugging you, try mixing 3 drops each of camphor essential oil, Eucalyptus essential oil, and citronella essential oil is a spray bottle of water. Shake well and spray around the house and garden. The potent scents repel many household pests.
The Choice Is Clear
Thanks to the body of research we now have standing behind the benefits of camphor essential oil, one thing is clear: pure camphor essential oil is highly beneficial for you. It cleans the air-both inside and outside of your body. It protects the cells against oxidative stress, and it can be used to soothe those sore joints and muscles.
It should be noted that camphor oil is powerful, and as such should be respected. It should be used in small amounts, and pay attention to any reactions your body may have to the oil. Children, pregnant women, and people with high blood pressure should only use camphor oil under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.
It is always important to use pure essential oils on your body and in the air you breathe to ensure you have the best experience possible.