Overview

Camphor used to be made by distilling the bark and wood of the camphor tree. Today, camphor is usually manufactured from turpentine oil. It is used in products such as Vicks VapoRub.

People apply camphor to the skin to relieve pain and reduce itching. It is also applied to the skin on the neck and chest so that it can be breathed in to reduce the urge to cough. There is some good evidence to support these uses. There is no good scientific evidence to support other uses of camphor.

It is important not to apply camphor to broken skin, because it can enter the body quickly and reach concentrations that are high enough to cause poisoning.

Camphor is used in manufacturing to make mothballs.

How does it work ?

Camphor seems to stimulate nerve endings that relieve symptoms such as pain and itching when applied to the skin. Camphor is also active against fungi that cause infections in the toenails.

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