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Camphor offers a lot of benefits which include not only our physical health but also mental health due to its beautiful smell. And, this long-lasting beautiful smell helps in removing negative energy. That is why camphor is used for religious purposes in various countries like India, China, etc. Further, it is also used in digestive problems, nerve problems, inflammation, cold, congestion of the airways, and various other issues that are a daily affair. Also, it helps in increasing blood circulation, stimulating hormones, and reducing osteoarthritis. Further, its effectiveness as an insect repellent is well documented. Camphor and its strong relaxing smell are appreciated worldwide.
Camphor is especially useful at this point in time due to problems created by novel coronavirus COVID – 19 in most parts of the world. The smell generated by burning the camphor has the capacity to ward off viruses. Also, the oil of camphor can be a very effective decongestant and good for our respiratory system. Camphor is an active ingredient (along with menthol) in vapor-steam products and is effective as a cough suppressant. And, last but not least the aroma of camphor reduces the stress and anxiety caused due to various coronavirus-related factors like loss of earnings, the anxiety for the well-being of near and dear ones.
The ancient Indian scripture and holy text have given camphor a pride of place because it symbolizes a strong connection with the sacred and divine. Camphor when burnt or diffused releases fumes that signify becoming crystal pure through the blessings of the divine. The fumes & fragrance of the camphor possess the power to redefine our surroundings by releasing healing energies that uproot any negative energies present and magnify positive energies. Further, camphor awakens the subtle peaceful healing agents by manifesting an ethereal and divine feeling of tranquility.
Camphor is extracted from a tree named Cinnamomum camphora. And, it is a terpene that is an organic compound. There are two types of trees from which Camphor is extracted. Though the properties are mostly the same, there is a a slight difference in smell and the concentration of some of the chemicals present in them. Camphor trees are evergreen and belong to the laurel family. They can grow as tall as 40 meters and can live up to 1000 years. This beneficial compound is traditionally obtained from the bark and the wood of camphor trees in the form of oil. Also, the leaves of the plant contain lesser amount of oil. Previously all the parts of the tree was used to extract camphor, but now only leaves are used to preserve the tree and make the process eco-friendly. Also, these days camphor is produced artificially from turpentine oil.
Camphor originally belongs to the Southern islands of Japan and Taiwan. China too has camphor trees growing in the wild. The ancient Chinese used camphor as an embalming agent. The tropical and sub-tropical climate is favorable for growing camphor and has hence become popular India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Madagascar, South Africa, and the US. Further, another source of camphor is the Camphor basil, which is the parent of African blue basil. The distillation process gives three grades camphor, white, brown, and yellow. Only the white fraction is safe for therapeutic purposes and the others are toxic.
Camphor that is extracted from the tree Cinnamomum camphora, has a white wax-like appearance. It is available in the form of blocks, tablets, oil, and powder. While Western medicine hasn’t yet researched the benefits of camphor significantly, Chinese and Indians have been using camphor for centuries mainly for religious purposes. But it has been used as a remedy to treat various ailments for a long time. Even in Europe, camphor was used as a fumigant during the outbreak of plague in the 14th century. In Ayurveda, the fumes of camphor are considered to be healing for the human mind and body which is why several religious rituals begin with burning it. Camphor is also a common ingredient in several ayurvedic medicines and remedies, including those that treat coughs, colds, vomiting, diarrhea, eczema, gastritis, and even poor libido. There are also medicines that use camphor to treat speech problems and psychiatric conditions. Camphor is an FDA-approved for various ailments like cough, to relieve pain, to treat itching, etc.
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Benefits Of Camphor :
* For Digestion
Camphor stimulates the digestive system and optimizes its functioning. It enhances the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes that is essential for the process of digestion to take place smoothly. It also prevents the formation of gas and problems related to it. Camphor is a good remedy for Diarrhoea, Gastroenteritis, and other digestion-related problems.
Camphor has proven itself as an extremely effective anti-inflammatory substance. This property of the compound has made it a common name in conventional medicine apart from being active already in Ayurveda and other alternative medicine. The anti-inflammatory nature of camphor makes it a key ingredient in many pain balms that target reducing inflammation along with pain elimination. Camphor can easily penetrate the skin and hence gets easily absorbed to heal external injuries and inflammation caused by it.
* Skincare benefits
Various skin diseases can be treated with the help of various camphor preparations. It is effective on itching and irritation, acne, soothing burn injuries, eczema, nail fungus, cracked heels and provides relief from pain. It is commonly used in various skincare products due to its beneficial attributes.
* Chest congestion
Camphor’s strong aroma is an extremely effective decongestant. It helps to free blocked bronchi, larynx, pharynx, and other parts of the airway from phlegm and mucous. Decongestant balms and cold rubs use camphor for this purpose. Rubbing these medicines on the chest and throat gives instant relief.
Camphor improved blood circulation also helps reduce inflammation. Its soothing smell helps relax too which helps a lot to cure pain.
Neuralgia is a painful condition that is caused by the swelling of the blood vessels surrounding the 9th cranial nerve. Camphor oil helps by making the vessels contract and relieving the pressure created on the nerve thus reducing pain. The easily absorbent nature of camphor oil increases its efficacy as it can easily penetrate the skin.
Consuming camphor oil is a good way to correct sexual dysfunctions. Because camphor stimulates those parts of the brain that control sexual urges and abilities. Applying camphor oil externally also works well.
Spasms and cramps can occur at any time without any warning. And, the pain can be extremely disturbing. Also, it can happen while we are sleeping. Camphor oil is the best way to relieve such painful encounters. Pregnancy and spasmodic cholera are often accompanied by spasms and cramps. Massaging with camphor oil is a good way to soothe and calm the affected muscles.
Side-Effects Of Camphor :
Camphor when used in moderate quantity is safe and beneficial. It must not be applied to areas where the skin is gaping and wounds are open as there are high chances of toxicity. Inhaling camphor is fine to a certain extent only for getting rid of congestion of blocked airways.
Children should be kept away from camphor as they might not be able to tolerate its toxicity.
Pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid the use of camphor. There could be side-effects of applying camphor.
Symptoms of camphor toxicity are burning of the mouth and throat which may end up in Nausea and Vomiting.
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