Camphor: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and Precautions to Take When Using Camphor


Camphor: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and Precautions to Take When Using It

Camphor is a waxy solid with a strong odour that is extracted from the wood of a tree known as Cinnamomum camphora through the process of distillation, purification, and sublimation and is also made from Turpentine oil.

It is a substance that appears in different chemical varieties and compositions of essential oil. It is a substance known for its usefulness to man. Because of the benefits it offers, a wide number of people are using it for the treatment of some ailments, as a pest deterrent, as perfume and as a preservative.

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But this same substance has some side effects such as poisoning (the reason why it is banned in the US Market) and death, which people may experience if it is wrongly used or administered.

Uses of Camphor

There are many uses of camphor which may include:

1.  Pest and Insect Repellent

Due to its strong odour, Using it as a pesticide or insect repellent is guaranteed. Lice and bugs can be effectively deterred from the environment and in your home through the use of camphor.

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2. Pain Relief

It is FDA-approved for use in concentrations of 3% to 11%, for relieving or reducing pain. All you have to do is apply it to the skin in the spot where the pain is felt.

3. Itching reduction

Applying camphor to the skin seems to reduce itching but you have to apply it in concentrations of 3% to 11% as specified by the FDA.

4. Hair Growth

Apply camphor oil with some essential oils boosts hair growth, but there is no scientific evidence supporting the claim.

5. Cough Reduction

Applying it in the right concentration can reduce cough.

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6. Perfume

it can also serve as an air freshener when it is applied to your room in small amounts.

7. Hair Root Strengthening 

Camphor is known to contain properties which strengthen the hair root, reduce hair loss, and improve the hair texture making it soft and smooth.

And other uses that may not be supported by scientific research.

Benefits of Using Camphor (and its products)

Here are the benefits of using camphor products

  • This substance is good for strengthening hair root
  • It is beneficial when used as a pesticide
  • Apply Camphor oil on your hair can boost its growth
  • It is essential for itch reduction
  • Reduces and relieves pain in some cases
  • Keeping it in the areas where you keep your clothes is also good because it can deter the intrusion of bugs, the sweet smell coming from your clothes when you put them on may also be an added benefit.

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There are also side effects associated with using this substance which you should be aware of and they are listed below.

Side effects of using camphor

When it is misused, there are side effects which you may experience mostly occurring when it is misused such as

  • Intake through the mouth: It is very unsafe and dangerous to administer it through the mouth because you are at risk of showing signs of poisoning or probably death.
  • Application on the Skin: If it is applied to the skin, there are fewer side effects which are redness of the skin and skin irritation but it is unsafe to be applied on broken skin.
  • When Inhaled: It is safe when it is inhaled in small amounts but becomes toxic to the body when a large quantity of camphor vapour is found in the body.
  • On Babies: There has been a recent discovery that it is linked to jaundice in newborn babies, (jaundice) is a yellow colouration in the skin and eyes of newborn babies caused by the overproduction of bilirubin and can cause the baby’s brain damage. Avoid keeping it around babies and in their clothes.
  • Pregnant women: Neither taking it through the mouth nor using it on the skin during pregnancy is advised, it can harm you and your baby. Avoid its use during pregnancy for your well-being and the child’s health.
  • Liver: The use of camphor has been linked to liver damage, applying it on the skin or orally can worsen liver diseases.


While camphor may be of notable importance to us, it is also good to know when to use it and be ready to apply caution where necessary. Here are what you must avoid when using it.

  • Avoid using it during pregnancy as it causes the abortion of the baby or the death of both mother and child
  • Avoid its use in high dosages and amounts whether for you or someone else, it is harmful
  • If breastfeeding a baby, avoid applying it on your skin. It is not good for the baby’s health
  • Keep camphor products away from children, it is unsafe for children because it can cause seizures and death of the child when ingested.
  • Avoid using it with hepatotoxic drugs (drugs that can potentially damage the liver)
  • Generally, avoid ingestion by mouth, it is an unsafe practice which can cause seizures, vomiting, convulsion and death.
  • Use camphor in a very small amount, 3 to 11% at most.


Camphor, a product that is made from wood and synthetically gotten from turpentine oil is a substance that has many benefits, and uses and is also of great importance to humans.

It can be used to relieve pain and itching, boost hair growth, and also as an insect repellent. But we should also be cautious while using it because it can be potentially dangerous to our health especially when inhaled in great quantity or administered to kids.

Before using it, seek the advice of your doctor or healthcare provider to be safer.

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