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Essential Oil Profile: Camphor (White Fraction)

June 14, 2016

by Amelia E. Hoard, RN

Common Name: Camphor (white)

Synonyms: Hon-sho, true camphor, laurel camphor, gum camphor, Japenese camphor, Formosa camphor

Latin Binomial: Cinnamomum camphora

Family: Lauraceae

Production Method: steam distillation

Countries of Origin: Native to Japan, Taiwan and China; cultivated in India, Ceylon, Egypt, Madagasgar, southern Europe and America.

Typical Constituents: [+]-Limonene (44.2%), r-Cymene (24.2%), a-Pinene (8.9%), 

1,8-Cineole (6.5%), Sabinene (4.2%), b-Pinene (4.0%), Camphene (3.0%), Camphor (2.4%),

Sfrole (tr)

Description of Oil: colorless to pale yellow liquid; with a sharp, pungent odor

Description of Plant: A tall handsome evergreen, bearing many branches with clusters of small white flowers followed by red berries.

History, Folklore and Myth: Traditionally a lump of camphor worn around the neck would protect one from infectious diseases. Also used for nervous and respiratory diseases and heart failure.

Properties and Uses: Analgesic, Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Cardiac, Diuretic, Febrifuge, Hypertensive, Insecticide, Rubefacient, Stimulant, Sudorific,Vulnerary

Precautions and Contraindications: Yellow and Brown camphor are extremely toxic and should not be used in aromatherapy.

Other Interesting  Information: White camphor does not contain safrole and is safe in aromatherapy and for topical use.



Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

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