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Karpur - Camphor tree and its Medicinal Benefits

Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), commonly known as Karpura / Kapur is a natural ingredient that is being used for centuries, in homes, homages, as well as medical laboratories. If we know it with respect to the Hindu mythology, then it is the most vital part of homage. In Indian homes, the flame of Camphor is considered as the purest flame and addition of cloves in it make it the most positive fire. But, is it only a superstitious tradition or culture or have any scientific believes too? Some people say that it also has some therapeutic features. How much is this true? To find all these answer let us move towards the Camphor tree and its benefits for mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health of a person.

Camphor tree, Cinnamomum camphora, Karpur

Characteristics of Camphor Tree

Camphor tree is to native of East-Asia. Some common characteristics of camphor tree are as below:

  • It has distinct rounded / wavy foliage with glossy-waxy and dark green appearance.
  • Its fruits are small round berries sprouting from a strong trunk.
  • It wears small creamy colored flowers on its thin stalks in the spring season that change into round red fruit that becomes black when matures.
  • It grows up to 150 feet in height in Asian habitats, especially south East Asia and 50 to 60 feet at other places, such as China, and Japan.
  • One of the most important and specific feature of this tree is its strong odor.
  • The bark of the tree is whitish in color and has grills.  

The aroma of the camphor can be easily smelled through its crushed leaves. Its twigs and roots emit the amazing Aroma all the time. Crushing or snatching them makes it stronger. The white crystalline camphor is prepared through the distillation process of the bark of Camphor tree. It is a sublime substance, which means it directly converts from solid to vapor / gaseous form.

Is it easy to use it?

Most probably, it is the most unique natural ingredient which does not need any extra effort for spreading its benefits. Lighting a piece of camphor a bowl have the same effect as of camphor essential oil. Even smelling the crushed camphor tree leaves or solid crystal form of camphor provides almost the similar benefits as its flame does. To know about its enormous effects and benefits, let us move forward.

What are the Therapeutic Properties of Camphor?

The answer is Yes, not any but many. The research and studies are still going on this natural and wonderful source. The benefits of Camphor that are already proved and experienced by scientists, physicians, Ayurvedic Vaidyas and the normal people since a long time are numerous. Before learning about its benefits, let us know about its properties, so that we can understand its actions well. Its properties are:

  • Decongestant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-septic
  • Anti-fungal
  • Analgesic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Sedative
  • Stimulant
  • Muscle Relaxant
  • Purifier
  • Blood Thinner
  • Dosha Pacifier

How does the Camphor benefits us?

As it is a well-known ingredient and is commonly being used in homes especially for spiritual purposes. It is already described above also. But why is this so? It is only because of the positive effects of Camphor on the surroundings. The strong aroma of Camphor do not let even the virus, fungus, bacteria and other insects to harm the trees around it, likewise, while used in homes, or flamed in homages. The flame of Camphor releases a strong aromatic flame that not only cleanses the environment, but also purifies the air, eliminates the negative energies and soothes the environment. It is a natural air purifier and insect repellant.

Besides the above features, benefits and properties, below described are the medicinal uses of camphor through which it helps in the mental, physical, emotional and psychological well-being of a person.

  • It is the most effective decongestant that reduces inflammation in lungs and throat, cleanses the chest, unblocks the nose, and treats congestion, ultimately safeguards against various respiratory disorders.
  • Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is helpful in Joint disorders such as Gout, Arthritis, Cervical, etc.
  • Being a good muscle relaxant, it is the best alternative to general pain relieving sprays and medications for muscles
  • Possessing anti-fungal, anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties, it is good at helping in fungal infections of skin and nails as well as soothing skin and combating various skin disorders like eczema, acne, rashes, itching, etc.
  • It improves blood circulation which makes it useful in pacifying the nervous system of the body.
  • Camphor has really good and proven results for strengthening hair follicles, which aids in getting rid of hair fall, dandruff, and hair lice.
  • It is a major ingredient in different types of insect repellant products and moth balls.
  • Camphor is also known as sexual stimulator, camphor oil is used to increase libido and sex drive.
  • Its soothing aroma provides mental and physical relaxation and improves sleeping.
  • It is a wound healing agent as it enhances the production of collagen and elastin.
  • Application of camphor powder with coconut oil has cooling effect thus, treats mild burns efficaciously
  • Massaging the cracked heels with camphor oil or wax makes them smoother

Besides the above explained uses and benefits of Camphor, the researches and studies are also being done to prove that it is also good to be used in weight loss, fat deposition, bloating, anxiety and depression.

Best Ways to Use Camphor for Health Benefits

The most common use of Camphor is already well known to us, flaming the solid camphor, which have the infinite benefits for a person, whole family and even the surroundings. Other than this, there are some more ways to use Camphor in case of different Health problems.

  1. Mix one camphor pill in the boiling water and cover it instantly. Taking this steam relieves cold, flu, cough, congestion, sore throat, throat irritation and other breathing disorders.
  2. Boil leaves of camphor, adding a pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, thyme, 5-6 cloves of garlic in water. Strain the decoction and mix in almond oil, then boil again. Let the water vaporize and keep the remaining oil in a bottle. Use it for massage in the situations of muscle cramps, joint pain, blocked chest, nose, throat, etc.
  3. Take 1tsp of Carom seeds and a little amount of Camphor in a cloth. Close it as a small packet (Potli). Apply oil and foment with this Potli on the chest of a person suffering from heart pain, breathing problems or even blockage in nose, throat, heart and lungs. It is an effective therapy for instant relief.
  4. Keeping a pinch of camphor in a piece of cotton for toothache is also advised. It soothes pain.
  5. Adding 4-5 drops of camphor oil in bathing water and soaking the body for 10-15 min. before taking bath, helps you to relax mentally, and physically.

Can it be Harmful?

Excess use of anything is harmful, similar applies on Camphor. Take care of some points before using Camphor internally and externally:

  • Keep it away from eyes and kids.
  • Avoid its intake until and unless it is advised by an Ayurvedic practitioner, then also, use only as guided.
  • Intake of Camphor without proper guidance can have the drug like effects.  
  • Pregnant women and Lactating mothers should avoid its intake in any case. Smelling it or its flame will be fine.
  • Using Camphor unknowingly can result in intoxication, nausea, seizures, vomiting, etc.

So, let us enjoy the amazing benefits of Camphor and stay away from its adverse effects, which will only be there if we use it improperly. For any more help about any of the health related queries, stay connected with us.

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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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