What Is Camphor? Everything You Need To Know
Camphor also known as Kapur is a multi-faceted item used in several ritualistic and therapeutic purposes. Today we will talk about the Uses, side effects, and benefits of Camphor.
But first, let's talk about What camphor really is?
What is Camphor?
Botanical Name - Cinnamomum camphora
Origin - China, Vietnam and Japan
Other names - Karpur (Hindi/Marathi/Bengali/Gujarati), Kappur (Punjabi), Karpooram (Telugu), Kafur (Arabic), Pachai Karpooram (Tamil) and Kyāmōra (Nepali).
Fun Fact: Only 50-year-old camphor laurel trees can form the oil that produces camphor. The oil can be found each and every part of the tree which is extracted from the tree by using steam.
Camphor can be called a herb or a magic item with many uses. It holds a special place in rituals performed by Hindus. It is also used for several remedial purposes.
First, let's talk about uses of Camphor in Hindu rituals
Uses of Camphor in Hindu Rituals
Aarti is the most important part of the pooja or prayers in Hinduism. At the end of the prayers, aarti is done in front of the deity with a ghee flame or diya. The aarti symbolizes the enlightenment of the soul.
Used in Aarti after prayers
On several occasions, a camphor aarti is offered to the deity at the end of the prayer but only a few people know the spiritual reason behind it.
The Meaning Behind Using Camphor
If we closely observe the nature of Camphor while it burns is that it burns until no residue is left and leaves a sweet fragrance in the air. Similarly, it symbolizes the union with God. The promise of the devotee to burn his/her ego until nothing is left and emanate light of knowledge no matter how brief the time is. Just like the scent radiating from it, one should shed his/her ego and spread goodness on other people's lives.
Hidden Meaning Behind Using Camphor
The flame of camphor also signifies the righteous and eternal flame of Lord Shiva. We yield our egos to the lord and spread the light and the fragrance in others lives. We close our eyes to see within ourselves or our Aatma and reflect. A sense of self-realization can be achieved by realizing ourselves and the flames of knowledge.
At the end of the prayer, the devotee places cupped hands over the flame and touch his/her eyes and the top of the head which signifies the illumination of the vision and the purity of thought.
Camphor And Ayurveda
Camphor is made from an ancient Ayurvedic method by distilling the bark and the wood of the coniferous tree called Camphor Laurel mostly found in India, Sumatra, Borneo, and Indonesia. It's chemical formula, C10H160 makes it a fantastic antioxidant.
Apart from the spiritual purposes, Camphor is used to purify the surroundings as it is an excellent Germicide. It is also believed that it removes negativity from the environment.
When absorbed through the skin, it works as a slight local anesthetic and antimicrobial substance. It also has a cooling and soothing effect as menthol.
With a proper medicinal understanding, it can relieve a person from epileptic episodes, nervousness, convulsions, and mental stress. It is very toxic to insects, even drives away snakes and other reptiles because of its strong odor.
Again, it should be used in moderation.
Medicinal Benefits Of Camphor For Skin
If we talk about the Benefits of Camphor then they are a plethora in number. We have divided these benefits and advantages according to the body part and general health benefits of camphor.
Applying camphor directly to the affected area, the cool and aromatic camphor affects the nerve endings producing the soothing sensation. It not only stops itchiness and irritation but also stops the redness of the skin.
2) Relief From Pain
The soothing and the cooling effect of camphor is perfect from sores or pain caused by insect bites. It can be used by directly applying to the affected area.
3) Soothes Burns
The cooling effect of camphor can be used to treat minor burns and can be even useful to remove burn scars. Dissolve a small amount of camphor in water and apply on the burnt or the cut area. Doing this on a daily basis can help in removing the scar.
4) Removes Acne
The Anti-inflammatory properties of camphor stop the skin from breaking out into pimples and acne. You can use camphor for a flawless and blemish-free skin. The compound in camphor can reduce the redness and irritation bringing down the pain and swelling.
5) Fights Fungal And Bacterial Infections
Camphor is used in many skin ointments to fight a whole range of fungal and bacterial infections. The antifungal and antibacterial properties of camphor fight the fungus and bacteria making it a cosmetic industry favorite.
Note: Do not use it if you are allergic to camphor or it may aggravate the condition.
Medicinal Benefits of Camphor For Hair
Hair is important for both boys and girls. It enhances your looks. We often buy a lot of hair care products to keep a head full of hair and we often get disappointed by these products. If you are looking for some cheap, effective and natural options then camphor is the answer.
Here are some amazing benefits of camphor for hair.
Everyone wants a crown full of hair but it is tough because of the pollution and stress. Don’t give up yet, we have a solution for you. Camphor oil mixed with essential oils can strength and boost your hair growth. The essential oil can be of your choice like lavender or chamomile oil. It will leave your hair smelling fresh and fragrant.
2) Fights Hair Loss
Messaging your scalp on a regular basis can fight hair loss and promote hair growth. Camphor oil mixed with egg or yogurt can reinvigorate the hair roots and supply much-needed nutrients to the scalp and the roots of the hair. Thus, fighting hair loss.
3) Kills Lice
Camphor oil is perfect if you want to get rid of lice. Mixing camphor oil with water works as a perfect disinfecting agent. It kills lice and prevents infestation.
Various Health Benefits Of Camphor
Camphor is one of the best antioxidants. It prevents the oxidation in the body and kills free radicals that are responsible for liver diseases, tissue ruptures, and cardiovascular diseases.
2) Pain Relief
The anti-inflammatory properties of camphor oil ease muscle tension and relieve joint pain, especially back pain. No wonder it is used in all balms and sprays.
Camphor oil is very effective in relaxing the body and the mind. It gives a rejuvenating effect when mixed in bathing water during summer and makes you feel cool. It gives a good night sleep when rubbed on the pillow.
It works great as a nasal decongestant. The power of camphor can clear out nasal tracts and alleviate congestion of the lungs. That’s the reason behind it being used in balms and cold rubs.
5) Fights Cold and Cough
The anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of camphor oil can fight cold and cough. It is found in a lot of vapor rubs and balms.
You can directly inhale the camphor oil, rub it on your chest and use it in steam vaporization. Dissolving camphor in hot water for 5 minutes and inhaling it through steam can also work. It relieves throat irritation and treats bronchitis.
6) Great for Asthma
Camphor oil is known to mitigate respiratory problems. Besides using regular medication, use camphor steam inhalation. The odor of white camphor will work wonders.
7) Cures Spasmodic Problems
Aromatic camphor oil vapors have antispasmodic properties that can help calm the nerves by reducing stress. It can give you a sense of calmness. When inhaled via steam by adding it to the vaporizer, can do the magic.
8) Aids in Cardiac Failure
When combined with other medicines, Camphor is known to help in treating cardiac failure. It is also known to cure the following conditions:
- Food Poisoning
9) Increases Blood Circulation
Abnormal blood flow can lead to multiple health problems. But, camphor can right all the wrongs. It stimulates the circulatory system and when blood circulation improves, diseases like rheumatic diseases, arthritis and gout are taken care of. Camphor also reduces the swelling of body parts.
10) Protects from Genotoxicity
Camphor protects against Genotoxicity and it is backed by tests and researches. It is proved that camphor’s effect decreases the risk of genotoxicity on animals.
Side Effects of Camphor
Camphor is a magic substance with literally 100s of uses but despite the benefits of Camphor, there are still some side effects of it. The key to using camphor is moderation. Some of the side effects are:
- Slight overdose can cause poisoning, vomiting and a drop in the body temperature.
- Store camphor away from children because an overdose can cause seizures in children.
- An overdose can cause irritation in the eyes, mucous membranes, and skin.
- Overdose can also cause diarrhea, headache, nausea, fainting and even convulsions.
- Camphor also has narcotic effects. An overdose can cause a person to lose control.
- The smell of camphor oil can be addictive.
Camphor is a magical substance with a lot of uses. The benefits of camphor are a lot but so are the side effects. One thing we should keep in mind is that the benefits of camphor transcend the physical benefits. In Hindu culture, camphor holds a holy place and is used to purify ourselves and teaches us a lesson to be the light that spreads knowledge without selfish reasons by shedding our ego.
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