Camphor cinnamon, or camphor tree

Pharmacy name: camphor oil – Oleum camphoratum, camphor – Camphora, camphor ointment – Unguentum camphoratum, camphor spirit – Spiritus camphoratus.

Botanical description. Vigorous camphor trees in the wild are found in Southern China, Southern Japan and Taiwan; in Ceylon and East Africa they are successfully grown. The tree reaches 40 m in height and 5 m in diameter, the trunk is clumsily branched. The leaves are elongated-elliptical (up to 13 cm), with 3 veins. Inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers are collected in loose few-flowered panicles on a long stalk. The fruits are purple-black, surrounded by a goblet receptacle.

Collection and preparation. All parts of the camphor tree have oil cells containing camphor oil. The lower parts of the trunk are richest in oil. That is why mainly old trees from wild forests are used to obtain it. Trees are cut down, crushed and ground into powder, then it is subjected to steam distillation. Then crystalline camphor is isolated from camphor oil by sublimation. Active ingredient: essential oil of a very complex composition. A pure chemical substance is obtained from it – camphor (C 10 H 16 O) – colorless crystals with a characteristic odor.

Healing action and application. The use of camphor for medical purposes is noticeably reduced. As a heart remedy, camphor is used very little, as a cough remedy – even less often. Much more often it is used for all kinds of rheumatic diseases, for muscle pains, as rubbing in the form of camphor alcohol and camphor ointment. More often it is part of products that also contain rosemary, lavender, thyme oil, turpentine, formic acid, ammonia and chloroform. In veterinary medicine, camphor ointments and rubbing are often used for dislocations and sprains of the tendons.

Use in homeopathy. The homeopathic product Camphora is used, although not often, in all kinds of convulsive conditions, colic, as a sedative and in the beginning of a cold. For the most part, it is given in dilution D 1 , 3-5 drops per sugar, several times every day.

Side effects. When using camphor internally, one must be very careful – only a doctor can determine how necessary it will be. When using too concentrated camphor externally, avoid getting it on sensitive skin areas: it can cause burns and inflammation.

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