Camphor, White (also known as Hon Sho)
Plant Origin: China
Method: Steam distilled leaf
Cultivation: Unsprayed (organically grown but not certified)
Chemical Family: Oxide
Aroma: Medicinal, camphorous, mothball-like
Key Constituents from GC/MS Analysis: Lot# CMP-101
Children? Camphor preparations should be avoided on the facial regions of infants and small children, especially around the nasal area.
Pregnancy/Lactation? No known hazards or contraindications (Tisserand/Young).
"Camphor is the name of a tree, an essential oil and the name of essential oil constituents found in this and other essential oils. The crude extract from the tree contains about 50% of camphor. The crude camphor crystals are removed by filtration and then it is separated into four distinct 'essential oils' by fractional distillation. These fractions are known as white, brown, yellow and blue fractions. Because of the fractionation process, none of these can be classed as true essential oils. White Camphor is the most widely used therapeutically" (Tisserand/Young).
White Camphor medicinal and highly regarded in aromatherapy. It is traditionally used for respiratory issues. White Camphor blends well with Basil, Cajeput, Lavender, Rosemary and Eucalyptus. Anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, decongestant, anesthetic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, insecticide. It is also used for acne, skin inflammations, oily skin, arthritis, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, bronchitis, coughs and colds.
Stimulates circulation, metabolism and digestion, is an excellent disinfectant, insecticide and germicide. A drop or two on a cloth in a sealed container of food grains will keep the grain safe from insects. The strong, penetrating (mothball-like) aroma opens up congestion of bronchi, larynx, pharynx, nasal tracts and lungs. It is used in balms and rubs. It's cooling properties make it useful for internal and external inflammation and relieves aches and pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism.
Application Suggestions (See Essential Oil Usage) for more information and a dilution chart.)
Topical: Dilute with a carrier oil and apply on area of concern. Camphor preparations should be avoided on the facial regions of infants and small children, especially around the nasal area. White Camphor does not contain safrole, so it is considered relatively non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating (Battaglia).
Inhalation: Diffuse (usually combined with other essential oils) for respiratory issues
Internal: Not recommended unless advised by health care provider. One teaspoon was lethal to a 16-month and a 19-month-old child.
Camphor preparations should be avoided on the facial regions of infants and small children, especially around the nasal area.
Because of Camphor's high limonene and a-pinene content, it is recommended that oxidation be avoided by storage in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas. Essential oils are both lipophilic and hydrophobic. Lipophilic means they are attracted to fat—like the membranes of your eyes and skin. They are also hydrophobic, meaning they do not like water. Flushing with water will only send the essential oil back to the eye's membranes. Applying a carrier oil will create another fat for the essential oil to be attracted to other than the membranes of the eyes or skin. We’ve not known this to cause permanent injury or long-term discomfort, but if you feel concerned, please call your health care provider.
Julia Lawless writes in the Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (p.69) that White camphor is relatively non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating.
Robert Tisserand notes in Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Professionals 2nd edition that the only “hazard” with White Camphor is skin sensitization if oxidized.
Battaglia, Salvatore, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2002, pages 318-319.
Price, Shirley and Len, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Third Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2008.
Tisserand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK 2nd Edition 2014, page 228.