Scientific Name/Common Name: Cinnamomum camphora / Camphor
Part(s) Used: Volatile oil/resin extract from camphor tree parts.
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Purified Camphor contains only the compound, camphor. Cinnamomum camphora volatile oil contains: Camphor as the most abundant component; azulene; bisabolone; alpha-bisabolene; beta-bisabolene; borneol; cadinadiene; cadinene; cinnamonol; cineole; p-cymene; cymol; citronellic acid; citronellol; cuminalcohol; cresol; cubenol; cuminaldehyde; eugenol; geraniol; kaempferol; linalool; alpha-pinene, and other monoterpenes.
Overview: The camphor tree, Cinnamomum camphora, is an aromatic tree with all parts of it yielding the odor and giving the taste of camphor. Camphor trees are native to the eastern and warmer latitudes of Asia. Camphor is an active ingredient in such familiar over-the-counter remedies as Vicks VapoRub and Swedish Bitters. Rubbed on the skin, camphor stimulates circulation. Its inhaled vapors reduce bronchial secretions. When taken internally in small amounts, it combats bronchial spasms, improves breathing, and promotes circulation. Camphor is also used as a remedy for vascular disorders, bronchitis, cough, and bone and joint conditions. In Asia, camphor is also used for acute breathing disorders, indigestion, inflammations, and muscle pain. Approximately twenty-four components are found in the volatile oil isolated from all parts of fresh or dried camphor trees, with camphor as the most abundant component.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Topically in ointments and salves for muscle aches and pains and poor circulation; locally anesthetic and anti-microbial; topically in salves to improve respiratory congestion and cough. Internally for circulation and to aid digestion.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Duke JA. 1992a. Handbook of Biologically Active Phytochemicals and their Activities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, p. 22.
Duke JA. 1992b. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 164-166.
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