Camphor: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Other Important Information


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The wood of the camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora), from which camphor is a naturally occurring chemical, has long been valued for its therapeutic benefits. Due to its possible health advantages, camphor has recently gained traction as a dietary supplement. This page seeks to examine the properties of camphor, as well as its advantages for health, recommended dose, negative effects, possible drug interactions, and appropriate usage. We will examine the chemistry of camphor its affects the body and brain physiologically.

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Nature of Camphor

Cinnamomum camphora, another name for camphor, is a waxy, white or clear substance with a strong fragrant scent. It is derived by distilling the wood of the camphor tree and is also chemically synthesized. Camphor’s pharmacological activities are based on the bicyclic monoterpene backbone that makes up its chemical structure.

Health Benefits of Camphor

There have been several studies on camphor’s possible health advantages. Upon review, it has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antitussive (cough-suppressing) characteristics. Camphor is a useful component of topical ointments, balms, and cough medicines because of these qualities, aiding in reducing cold symptoms and essentially speeding up recovery.

Camphor has broad-spectrum antibacterial power that defends your body against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It has been used in conventional medicine to treat skin infections and avoid wound sepsis due to its ability to suppress the development of certain microorganisms. Camphor’s anti-inflammatory characteristics are quite useful for alleviating inflammation-related symptoms including arthritis, muscle sprains, and skin irritations. The terpene is known to potentially control cytokines that are pro-inflammatory, therefore lessening localized inflammation.

Camphor has been reported to relieve pain temporarily and quell irritation when applied topically. It thwarts irritation by cooling or warming the body and detracting attention from any underlying pain. This makes camphor especially useful for those experiencing a bout of flu-related sickness or the common cold, easing bronchial irritation and stifling the cough reflex.

Camphor on a bowl.


The chemistry of camphor provides some structural details on how it affects the body and brain physiologically. Camphor terpenoids are composed of a group of chemical compounds that includes camphor (C10H16O). It has a bicyclic monoterpene backbone made up of two fused rings, which are a three-membered cyclic ether called an oxiran ring and a cyclohexane ring. Its varied pharmacological characteristics are a result of its distinctive structure.

Physiological Targets and Actions

The transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which are especially important for the feeling of pain, warmth, and inflammation, are affected by camphor. The TRPV1 (vanilloid receptor) and TRPA1 (ankyrin receptor) TRP channels are thought to catalyze the effects of camphor on your body. TRPV1 is activated by camphor, which is attributed to its warming feeling. By making the receptor less sensitive, this activation also affects how your body perceives pain, producing analgesic effects preferable for burn wounds or insect bites.

Additionally, camphor activates TRPA1, which causes a cooling feeling. Neurotransmitters involved in transmitting pain are released when TRPA1 is activated, controlling neurogenic inflammation. Those who suffer from skin sensitivities that cause itchiness and excessive warmth can find relief by applying camphor products topically.

Camphor interacts with enzymes involved in oxidative stress and inflammatory processes, reducing the production of inflammatory prostaglandins by inhibiting the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, especially COX-2. Camphor gains its anti-inflammatory qualities by its ability to decrease prostaglandin synthesis, making it great for skin related maladies and other external issues. Here are a few other physiological processes that camphor directly effects, making it an ideal temporary solution for pain and irritation.

  • Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS) Inhibition: NOS is an enzyme involved in the creation of nitric oxide (NO), may be inhibited by camphor. Increased NO levels lead to inflammation, which camphor helps reduce by blocking NOS.
  • Signaling Pathways: Camphor may modify numerous signaling pathways involved in oxidative damage and inflammation.
  • Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-B) Pathway: NF-B, a crucial transcription factor involved in the control of inflammatory and immunological responses, may be inhibited by camphor. Camphor aids in lowering the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators by inhibiting NF-B activation.
  • Scavenging of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS): Camphor has antioxidant characteristics that make it possible to scavenge ROS. Camphor may shield cells from harm brought on by inflammation and multiple disorders by lowering oxidative stress.
  • Modulation of the Protein Kinase C (PKC) Pathway: PKC is an enzyme engaged in various cellular signaling events, and camphor has the ability to modify its activity. Camphor may affect cellular reactions including inflammation and pain perception by affecting PKC activity.

Optimal Dosage of Camphor

Depending on the particular product and intended application, camphor dose must be adjusted. Before taking topical or dietary supplements containing camphor, it is essential to follow directions and get medical advice. Creams, ointments, capsules, essential oils, and other dosage forms are valid methods of utilizing camphor.

Camphor concentrations for topical use should normally not go over 11%. Lower doses are often used in liniments or balms to relieve congestion or muscular soreness. To prevent excessive absorption or toxicity, it’s crucial to closely follow the directions while using medications that contain camphor.

Camphor should not be used orally owing to probable harmful consequences, particularly at large quantities. Unless under the supervision of a licensed healthcare practitioner, ingesting camphor should be avoided since it may cause major adverse responses.

Side Effects of Camphor

Camphor is typically safe to use topically when used responsibly and in the recommended dosages. However, inappropriate use or overuse may result in negative outcomes. Skin irritation, redness, or allergic responses are examples of frequent adverse effects. Before using any products containing camphor on the skin, it’s vital to do a patch test, and if any negative responses happen, stop using the product.

Ingesting is dangerous and must be rigorously avoided. Nausea, vomiting,

stomach discomfort, wooziness, convulsions, and even coma are some signs of camphor poisoning. It may even be fatal in extreme circumstances. It is important to seek prompt medical assistance if camphor intake is suspected.

Potential Substance Interactions with Camphor

There is a chance that camphor will interact with certain drugs and substances. When taking camphor in conjunction with other medications or herbal supplements, caution should be used. Camphor might intensify the effects of tranquilizers and sedatives, raising the possibility of sleepiness and decreased coordination. Before mixing camphor with other drugs, it is best to speak with a medical practitioner.

Best Responsible Uses of Camphor

Although camphor may have health advantages, it is crucial to utilize it responsibly and safely. Here are some suggestions for the most beneficial and responsible use of camphor:

  • Topical Applications: Camphor is often used in topical preparations as liniments, ointments, and balms. To incorporate camphor into your routine safely, properly dilute products containing camphor in accordance with suggested concentrations (usually not to exceed 11%) to prevent skin irritation or negative reactions. Perform a patch test by dabbing a little quantity of camphor product into a small patch of skin and watching for any negative responses before using it on a wider area of skin. In case of irritation, stop using. Beyond this, camphor should only be used topically to healthy skin. It should not be applied to skin that is cracked or injured in order to reduce absorption and possible toxicity. Observe the dose recommendations and comply with directions as to how long to leave any topical camphor substances on.
  • Inhalation: The fumes of camphor may be breathed to assist the respiratory system. However, attention should be taken to prevent prolonged exposure or inhalation. To reduce concentrated exposure and avoid respiratory irritation, make sure you are in a room or area that is well-ventilated when inhaling any camphor-based substances. Pay attention to the directions on any items for inhaling camphor, such as mixes for steam inhalation or essential oils., to ensure you are consuming the proper dosage.
  • Aromatherapy: Camphor essential oil is sometimes used for aromatherapeutic purposes. However, it’s critical for you to speak with a licensed aromatherapist to gain proper insight into camphor’s aromatherapy effects. To prevent skin irritation or respiratory sensitization when using camphor essential oil for aromatherapy, make sure it is appropriately diluted in a carrier oil or diffuser following the specified ratios.
  • Healthcare Expert Advice: Before utilizing camphor supplements or larger quantities of camphor for therapeutic reasons, speak with a healthcare expert, such as a licensed herbalist or naturopathic physician. Based on unique medical needs and treatment regimens, they may provide tailored guidance and assist in determining the best dose and time frame.
  • Avoid Ingestion: You should never be ingest camphor except under the supervision of a medical practitioner, as it may be very poisonous. Misuse or accidental intake may have serious health consequences.

Camphor: Conclusion

Using camphor for lessening external pain and irritation is an effective practice that is known to provide you with temporary relief from pressing symptoms. Though camphor should not be ingested outside of direct medical supervision and can potentially interact with certain medications, safe use of the terpene topically can issue a warming or cooling effect that is especially helpful for various skin issues.

For further information about camphor’s effects on the body and other external physiological benefits, reach out to your health care provider to discuss your options and camphor usage.


  1. Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress-protective activity. Retrieved from:
  2. Camphor: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. Retrieved from:
  3. Camphor. Retrieved from:

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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