Camphor can be a natural or synthetic product or a mixture of both. The natural product comes from the wood of the camphor tree, Cinnamomum camphora, which is typically found in Asia. Camphor has been used as a flavoring agent in Asian cuisine and in religious ceremonies.
Camphor and camphor-containing products are generally applied to the skin. Ingestion of such camphor-containing products may result in poisoning and cause a number of adverse and potentially fatal side effects. However, Germany's Commission E has approved camphor for internal and external use for hypotonic circulatory regulation disorders, mucus discharge in the respiratory tract, muscular rheumatism (a painful muscle condition), or cardiac symptoms.
Several combination products containing camphor and other supplements, such as glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, peppermint oil, and hawthorn berries, have been shown to reduce osteoarthritis pain and to benefit patients with a type of low blood pressure called orthostatic hypotension.
1,8-cineole, (1R,4R)-1,7,7-trimethyl-bicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-on, 2-bornanone, albero della canfora (Italian), alcanfor (Spanish), alcanfor del Japón (Spanish), alcanforero (Spanish), alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, árbol del alcanfor (Spanish), arvore da camphora (Portuguese), beta-pinene, Blumea balsamifera (Compositae), Borneo camphor, C10H16O, Campher (German), camphire, camphor laurel, camphor tree, camphora, Camphora camphora, Camphora officinarum, camphorin, camphortree, camphre (French), camphre du Japon (French), camphrier (French), candra (Sanskrit), canfora (Italian), canforo (Italian), cemphire, chang (Chinese), cinnamomin, Cinnamomum camphora, cutakkarpuram (Malayalam), cynamonowiec kamforowy (Polish), D-camphor, D(+) camphor, DL-camphor, Dryobalanops aromatica (Dipterocarpaceae), Formosa camphor, Formosan wood, Fujisawa camphor, gum camphor, ho-sho, Japanese camphor, Japanischer Kamferbaum (German), kafrovník lékařsky (Czech), kafrovník pravý (Czech), kafur (Urdu), kamfer (Norwegian, Swedish), kamferboom (Dutch), kamferipuu (Finnish), kamferträd (Swedish), kámforfa (Hungarian), kamfornii lavr (Russian), kamfornoe derevo (Russian), Kampfer (German), Kampferbaum (German), kapoor (Hindi), kapur (Hindi), kapur barus (Malay), kapuur (Nepali), karabun (Thai), karpoora (Hindi), karpur (Hindi), karpura (Sanskrit, Kannada), karpurah (Sanskrit), karpuram (Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil), karpuramu (Telugu), korichnik kamfornii (Russian), kusunoki (Japanese), laurel camphor, laurier du Japon (French), lauro canforo (Italian), Laurus camphora, limonene, mushkapur (Hindi), nagi camphor, ngai camphor, nok na mu (Korean), op choei yuan (Thai - central Thailand), pacca karpuram (Telugu), pacchakarpuram (Hindi), patckafur (Urdu), payok (Burmese), payuk (Burmese), phrom send (Thai - Shan, northern Thailand), Ravintsara aromatica, sabinene, subhramsu (Malayalam), terpinen-4-ol, true camphor, viridiflorol, xiang zhang shu (Chinese), zhang (Chinese), zhang nao (Chinese), zhang shu (Chinese).
Selected combination products: JointFlex® (camphor, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, peppermint oil), Korodin® Herz-Kreislauf-Tropfen (D-camphor from Chinese Cinnamomum camphora plus liquid extract of fresh hawthorn berries), Triaminic® Cherry Menthol Vapor Patches, Satogesic™, Campho-Phenique®, Vicks® VapoRub®.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing)
Studies in humans have shown that a German combination product of camphor and hawthorn berry extract (Korodin® Herz-Kreislauf-Tropfen) may improve blood pressure in patients with orthostatic hypotension. These findings represent good evidence for this use; however, additional studies are needed.
Human studies have shown that a combination product including camphor, glucosamine sulfate, and chondroitin sulfate (JointFlex®
Functional cardiovascular disorders
Early evidence suggests that a German combination product of camphor and extract of hawthorn berries (Korodin® Herz-Kreislauf-Tropfen) may reduce overall symptoms in patients with functional heart disease. While these early findings are promising, additional research is required before any conclusion may be made.