A Popular Choice as a Cough Suppressant and Topical Analgesic
Camphor is a waxy white solid with a distinctive odor of mothballs. It has been valued throughout history for medicinal use. Today, it maintains relevance for its medical properties, as well as its use as a plasticizer, insect repellant, fragrance, and an intermediate in the synthesis of other aroma compounds.
Camphor may be naturally derived via distillation of the wood of the camphor tree, which is native to Asia. It is also a natural constituent of many other plants. Synthetically, it is produced from alpha-pinene found in turpentine oil.
Historically, camphor has been valued for its anti-microbial, topical analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, nasal decongestant, and cough suppressant properties. Some of these properties are now thought more likely to be a result of synergism with other components of camphor oil. In modern care, camphor is still a popular choice as a cough suppressant and topical analgesic, due to its interaction with key nociceptive receptors. It is even of research interest for potential anti-cancer properties.
Camphor does not accumulate in the environment since it is readily degraded by common soil bacteria.
Major uses and applications
The following areas are the most prevalent applications for camphor.
- Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries: Camphor is used as a topical analgesic for muscle aches, nasal decongestant, and cough remedy. It also has historically been valued for its anti-microbial properties.
- Chemical synthesis: Camphor is an intermediate in the manufacture of many other aroma compounds.
- Cosmetics and Personal Care Products: Camphor is added as a fragrance to cosmetic and personal care products.
Common Uses and Applications
- Fragrance and perfumes
- Cleaning products
- Topical analgesic
- Nasal decongestant
- Cough remedy