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Cinnamomum camphora


Cinnamomum camphora

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Camphor, true camphor, camphor wood, gum camphor, ho oil

Original Habitat

The camphor tree is an evergreen tree that grows to an average of ten meteres tall. The leaves are oval in shape and the fragrant flowers are whitish to pale yellow in colour. This tree is native to Japan, China and Taiwan but now grows and is considered invasive in the United States and Australia. C. camphora grows best in well drained soils in wooded areas.

Plant Part Used



The essential oil of C. camphora has limited use in the food industry. As a fragrance, it is used for household products and some soaps.[1] In therapeutic aromatherapy it is used as a single oil for inhalation and in some formulas for topical application.


There are three types of this essential oil each with its own distinct colour and consistency due to varying amounts of chemical constituents: White camphor oil which is thin; Brown or Yellow camphor oil, which has a medium consistency; Blue camphor oil which is the heaviest. While the aroma of each is slightly different it is typically crisp, clean and fresh.[1]

Chemical Constituents

1-8 Cineole
Linalool [1][2]
Yellow camphor oil contains safrole at 10 to 20% [3]

Medicinal Uses


Anti-inflammatory- Camphor essential oil has been used historically to treat inflammatory conditions.  The anti-inflammatory activity is thought to be related to modulation of cytokine, NO and PGE2 production as demonstrated in vitro. Antioxidant activity has also been verified.[4]

Antifungal- Camphor oil has strong antifungal activity. Camphor oil has been shown to be a strong fungi-toxicant when used on food commodities.[5] When compared to synthetic food preservatives, camphor essential oil demonstrated comparable results against Aspergillus flavus.[6]

Traditional Use

Sprains and muscle pain and soreness+++
Bronchitis and other coughs+++
Acne and various skin infections++

Rosacea- Camphor essential oil has shown to be effective in rosacea[7] Fifteen women suffering from rosacea and twelve controls were administered and oral dose of a formula containing camphor oil, glycerol or metronidazole. After fifteen days, those with the rosacea exhibited symptom improvement without any side effects.[8]

 Insect Repellent- C. camphora oil showed good repellency against Resseliella oculiperda (known as the red bud borer).[9]

Contraindications and Precautions

Camphor oil should be used with caution as it is a very strong essential oil. Completely avoid this oil in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

May cause skin sensitivity.

Large doses, regardless of mode of administration, may be toxic.

Hepatotoxic and carcinogenic.[3]


[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]

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  1) Botanical Info


1.         Lis-Balchin M. Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. Pharm.Press; 2006.

2.         Dung NX. The essential oil of Cinnamomum camphora (L.) Sieb. var. linaloolifera from Vietnam . JOER. 1993;5(4):451-453.

3.         Tisserand R. Balacs T. Essential Oil Safety. Toronto: Churchill Livingston; 1995.

4.         Lee HJ. In vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects of Cinnamomum camphora extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;103(2):208-216.

5.         Singh P. Fungal contamination of raw materials of some herbal drugs and recommendation of Cinnamomum camphora oil as herbal fungitoxicant. Microb Ecol. Oct 2008;56(3):555-560.

6.         Mishra AK. Fungistatic properties of Essential Oil of Cinnamomum camphora. Pharma Biol. 1991;29(4):259-262.

7.         Wu J. Treatment of rosacea with herbal ingredients. J Drugs Dermatol. Jan 2006;5(1):29-32.

8.         El-Shazly AM. Treatment of human Demodex folliculorum by camphor oil and metronidazole. J Egypt Soc Parasitol. Apr 2004;34(1):107-116.

9.         Van Tol RW. Repellence of the red bud borer Resseliella oculiperda from grafted apple trees by impregnation of rubber budding strips with essential oils. Pest Manag Sci. May 2007;63(5):483-490.

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