A clear, volatile oil obtained by steam distillation, followed by fractionation, of the bark of the Cinnamomum Camphora tree.
The tree needs to be at least 50 years old before it is harvested.
There are 3 fractions of camphor produced but only the white camphor oil should be used as the yellow and brown are toxic in cosmetic usage.
Cinnamomum camphora Bark Oil
According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Database (Cosing), the functions of Camphor Essential Oil are:
Masking, Skin Conditioning, Tonic
To view more information, visit the Cosing Database here.
When used in very small amounts, it is anti inflammatory and reduces redness so can be useful in acne prone skin products (not for the face), as well as creams for sore and chapped hands.
Avoid using in facial products as it may be too harsh but it could be used in creams, balms and gels as it is a strong, warming stimulant and muscle relaxant. This would be useful in a muscle relaxant massage cream or oil blend.
If using in a shampoo, use in very small amounts as it could irritate sensitive scalps. It is however, a good insecticide that could go into holiday or travel shampoos.
Best used in an oil burner or nebuliser to freshen the air and assist in breathing.
Works well with Roman Chamomile in a balm for rheumatism like aches and pains.
Do not use in pregnancy or on sensitive skin. Do not use on children. Use in small amounts and avoid on the face altogether. It is important not to abuse this oil.
Traditional Aromatherapy Uses
Traditionally used by qualified aromatherapists to clear the lungs of congestion and often used in convalescence but only in small amounts.
It is a strong stimulant and a good antibacterial expectorant so useful in chest complaints and colds and flu. It has an uplifting and antidepressant quality as well.
Used by the Ancient Egyptians as part of the embalming process and in Ancient Persia against the plague.
Used to make clothing chests by the Chinese as the fragrance keeps moths and insects away and used in temple building for the same reason. They also used it to build boats as it is very durable.
In Victorian times, it was common to wear a piece of camphor wood as jewellery for protection.