Camphor is a rare herb which, being coolant, balances Kapha Dosha and reduces fat and cholesterol levels. Camphor used for medicinal use is slightly different than the camphor used in Pooja / Spiritual practices. In the market, you get the edible camphor usually in powder form. Though modern science categories it as unsafe for oral consumption, in a very low specified dose, it is useful in certain diseases.
Botanical Name- Cinnamomum Camphora Nees & Eberm
Natural camphor is obtained by distilling the bark and wood of the camphor tree Cinnamonum camphora. Synthetic camphor is manufactured from turpentine oil.
Table of Contents
Rasa (taste) – Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent), Madhura (sweet)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (Dryness)
Vipaka-Katu – undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Sheeta – coolant in nature.
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha.
Part used, dosage
Part Used- Niryasa (extract)
Dosage – 125-375 mg, in divided dose per day.
Camphor is one of the rare herbs which, being coolant, is useful to balance Kapha Dosha.
Camphor for heart, fat and cholesterol –
Chedana, Lekhana – has scraping property, useful in balancing Kapha, in respiratory disorders and in cholesterol / clot deposition in blood vessels
Medohara – reduces fat and cholesterol levels
Camphor acts as a blood thinning agent. It is also used in low blood pressure.
Camphor with mustard oil:
Camphor 10-20 grams is dissolved in 100-150 ml of mustard oil. This oil is rubbed over the fat deposited areas like chest and abdomen for 15-30 minutes. This helps to reduce obesity.
Camphor for oral disorders:
Mukhashoshahara – Relieves mouth dryness
Mukha vairasyahara – Relieves bad breath problem. This is why camphor has been used as an ingredient in betel leaf combination – Pan – Tambul
Kanta Doshahara – clears throat.
It relieves toothache.
Vishahara, Vishapaha – Anti toxic
Chakshushya – improves vision, good for eyes, useful in eye disorders
Madakaraka – over-dosage may cause intoxication.
Yogavahi – acts as a catalyst
Dahahara – being a coolant, it relieves burning sensation
Vrushya – acts as aphrodisiac in lower doses. However, higher doses decrease sexual performance.
Medhya – improves intelligence
Kruminashana – relieves intestinal worm infestation
Cheenaka variety of Karpoora is Ati Pittala – increases Pitta Dosha.
Inhalation of its vapours helps in relieving chest congestion due to excessive sputum. It is also used in treatment of cough.
The karpoora is basically hot in initial effect and penetrating in nature, but in due course when consumed it transforms to provide coolant effect.
It alleviates pruritus, prameha, nasal discharge, worms, thirst, dyspnoea, cough etc.,
Being kaphaghna in nature it provides relief from throat irritation and pain.
When consumed the karpoora causes a benumbed feeling in the tip of the tongue [su supta jihvA agrajit].
The karpoora acts as a digestive and and reduces the pitta dosha.
It is occasionally referred with an alternative term, the sphatika, since it resembles the whitish colour of the Alum.
The karpoora is also beneficial in eye diseases; it alleviates the thirst and burning sensation.
It improves blood circulation and there by addresses the penile erection.
Camphor oil is used externally to treat arthritis pain and rheumatism.
A teaspoon of Camphor oil is mixed along with 100 ml of olive oil / sesame oil. This is applied externally to improve blood circulation.
Camphor is FDA approved for external application in a concentration of 3 – 11 %
In preparing liniments:
Herbal oils are mixed with camphor, menthol, thymol, Eucalyptus oil etc, to prepare pain relieving liniment. This liniment gives a coolant / counter-irritant effect to the liniment. It also makes the liniment to evaporate from the applied body part.
Qualities as per Bhojana kutuhalam
Properties of camphor:
Rasa – Tiktha (Bitter), Katu (Pungent)
Veerya – Cold in potency
Balances kapha dosha, helps in treating bleeding disorders, thirst, burning sensation, disorders of throat and pain in the eyes.
Camphor which is obtained from within the stem is considered to be superior and the rest are of intermediate attributes. The superior variety is slightly yellowish in color while the other one is fully white. Camphor which is white in color, rough in touch, firm and expanded should be understood as have being formed externally.
By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
1. Camphor dissolved in oil in chest congestion:
5 grams of camphor is taken and added to 100 ml of warm sesame oil and dissolved. This is used to apply over the chest. Simultaneously this can be used for inhalation also. This relieves cough, breathlessness, nasal blockage and chest congestion caused due to asthma.
2. Camphor mixed with honey in cough and throat irritation:
500 mg -1 gram of camphor is powdered well and mixed with half spoon of honey. This is consumed by licking. This pacifies cough, cold, throat pain and irritation of the throat.
3. Camphor pill in flatulence (gas), indigestion, headache and anorexia:
Camphor, rock salt, cumin seeds and cardamom or clove are taken in equal quantity and fine paste is made. This is mixed well and rolled into the pills of 125-250 mg size. This is dried under shade and collected and stored. This is taken along with warm water or cumin herbal tea.
4. Oil of camphor-thymol and sunflower oil:
10 gram camphor, 5 gram thymol and 200 ml of sunflower oil are taken together and slightly warmed (do not heat more as the camphor and thymol may be lost due to heat).
This is taken out of the fire and allowed for cooling. Meanwhile this is constantly stirred to avoid precipitation.
This oil is applied over the painful joints and muscular regions. In calcaneal spur, back ache, neuralgia etc also this can be used.
5. Camphor home remedy for head lice and burning sensation:
10 grams of camphor is dissolived in 100 ml of warm coconut oil. Allowed to cool down. This is applied on the scalp in case of burning/ headache.
In case of head lice, this is applied to the whole scalp at night. Next day morning, hair is washed.
6. Camphor powder dusting:
Camphor is a very good cleanser. Dusting of the fine powder of camphor over the wounds and cracks helps to heal the wound faster.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Different Varieties of camphor:
Dhanvantari Nighantu Sodhala mentioned Pakva (artificial), Chinaka and Apakva (natural) varieties of Kurpura.
Bhava Prakasha and Raja Nighantu also mentioned similar varieties.
According to Kaiyadeva, three are three varieties – Ishavasa, Hima sanjnaka & Potashraya.
Later, he quoted that Karpura is two types basing on the processing i.e Pakva (prepared) and Apakva (natural).
He further explained that Chinaka variety is artificial camphor.
In Raja Nighantu about 14 types of Karpura on the basis of Rasa, Guna and Veerya
Usually, the camphor found on the tree pits and branches is called Apakva (natural) Karpura. The camphor prepared by using distillation procedure is the Pakva(artificial) variety of Karpura. The former variety will be heavier than the later and sinks in the water.
There is a variety called Bhimseni Karpoora – which is correlated to Dryobalanops camphora Colebr (DIPTEROCARPACEAE)
Chunekarji explained four varieties of camphor viz.
(i) Bhimseni or Baras Karpura (D. Camphora)
(ii) Cini or Japani Karpura (D. camphora)
(iii) Patri or Nagi Karpura- Blumea balsamifera; B.Lacera B. desiflora etc.
(iv) Krutima Karpura- Synthetic variety camphor.
(v) Now a days camphor is being synthetically prepared by using turpentine. This is however used for offerings to god. It is not meant for medicinal use.
Native of China, Japan and Taiwan.
Cinnamomum camphora – chemical composition:
Campher, Campherol, Cineol, Camphene, dipentene, terpineol, candinene, safrole, camphorace, laurolitsine, reticuline etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
Modern science has accepted its potent effect with respect to its Stimulant and diaphoretic effect, antiseptic action, disinfectant- insecticide-and germicide properties, carminative ability, anti spasmodic, aphrodisiac and anti inflammatory action, sedative and decongestant properties with respect to human body.
For external application, in any product, the camphor concentration should not be more than 11 %
Artificially prepared camphor made from turpentine is not suitable for oral consumption. Do not get confuse it with the edible camphor.
Camphor is used in treating low blood pressure. Hence, it is not suitable for people with high blood pressure.
It is best to avoid its usage in epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease patients.
Its oral usage should only be done under strict medical supervision.
It is not meant to be consumed by children, pregnant and lactating mother. However, it can be safely used by external application method.
Camphor oil should not be directly given for asthmatic patients to inhale. It may trigger spasms.
Camphor poisoning – over-dosage may lead to seizures, confusion, restlessness, nausea, vomiting etc.
Interaction with medicines, supplements
Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.
this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets,
Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurveda medicines with camphor as ingredient:
Vayu Gulika – used in treating cough, cold, fever etc. It is used mainly in respiratory and gastric conditions.
Kombanchadi Gulika – used in treatment of fever, cough and cold
Gandhaka Malahara – An ointment used in eczema and itching skin disorders
Karpoorasava – used in the treatment of vomiting and diarrhea.
Manasamitra Vatakam – used in Ayurveda treatment of psychiatric conditions, to improve intelligence, speech problems, etc.
Names in different languages:
Hindi & Bengali Name-Karpur
English Name- Camphor tree, Camphor laurel
Kannada Name – Pache karpoora
Telugu Name- Karpooram Chettu
Tamil Name- Karpooram, Pachai Karpooram
Marathi & Gujarati Name- Karpur
Chandrapradha – the shining resembles to that of moonlight
Sheetabhra, Sheetala Raja – coolant to touch
Hima, Himavaluka – appears similar to ice particles
Surabhi – emits fragrance
Sphatika – as white as alum