Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) which is obtained from the wood of camphor tree, has been used for centuries and throughout the world as a remedy for treating variety of symptoms such as inflammation, ingestion, infection, congestion, pain, irritation, etc. The leaf of Cinnamomum camphora contains camphor, as the main component along with cineol, linalool, eugenol, limonene, safrole, α-pinene, β-pinene, β-myrecene, α-humulene, p-cymene, nerolidol and many more. Camphor is readily absorbed from all the sites of administration, after inhalation, ingestion or dermal exposure and acts as slight local anesthetic, antimicrobial substance, cough suppressant and suppressor of sexual behaviors and sex hormones. The presence of anti-itch gels and cooling gels with camphor as the active ingredient which produces a feeling of cooling similar to that of menthol.
Camphor for skin: Lotions and creams containing camphor can be used to relieve skin irritation and itchiness and may help to improve overall look and appearance of skin. It also contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that makes it useful in healing infections. A recent study has also found its application as an anti-aging agent. This property of camphor is observed due to its ability to increase the amount of elastin and collagen in skin which are essential proteins which helps in maintaining the tension of the skin, which leads to enhancement of overall appearance of skin. Camphor also contains antioxidant property so it helps in removal of toxins present on the surface of skin.
Relieves pain and inflammation: Camphor has been suggested as very good traditional medicine for reduction of pain and inflammation of bronchus, pain of rheumatism, sprain and muscle pain. For testing of this hypothesis methanolic extract was prepared out of cinnamomum camphora tree and fractions having different concentrations were prepared and were screened for testing the effect on interleukins production and production of nitric oxide. The values obtained were analysed using a suitable analysis tool.
Heals burns: Camphor balm and creams can be used for the treatment of burn as it leads to cooling sensation on skin and also leads to reduction in pain and inflammation of skin via blockage of production of interleukins and TNF-ɑ & β. It is widely used along with sesame oil as it will lead to prevention of bacterial infection and also helps in healing skin.
Author: Dr Dipal Gandhi, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacognosy