Slightly cool to the touch, camphor essential oil has an intense, penetrating odor. When applied topically, camphor oil has a numbing quality and is easily absorbed by muscle tissue. After combining in the body with glucuronic acid, camphor essential oil that is absorbed through the skin is safely passed out of the body in urination.


Growing up to 35 feet tall, the camphor tree is native to Japan, Taiwan and China. It takes 50 years before a camphor tree produces oil for extraction. Steam extracted, camphor oil becomes present in every part of the tree. Once used as a remedy against the plague in Persia, camphor essential oil has also been used in Iran for embalming purposes.

Applications and Benefits

To ease respiratory ailments, add camphor essential oil to a steam vapor. Inhaling camphor essential oil in this manner may also be useful for nervousness and depression. Essential oils of frankincense, Neroli, chamomile, basil and cajeput all blend well with camphor essential oil.

To reduce swelling of bruises and muscle sprains, camphor essential oil may be used in a cold compress. Useful in reviving an individual who is in shock, camphor essential oil may be added to smelling salts which also may be used to stimulate circulation in cases of heart failure.

Slightly antiseptic when applied to the skin, camphor essential oil numbs sensory nerves but is not readily absorbed by mucous membranes. You should use camphor in diluted form by mixing a few drops into a carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed.

Helpful with stiff muscles, applying camphor essential oil reduces inflammation while cooling the skin.

Best used in a diffuser or vaporizer, camphor essential oil strengthens the body and stimulates the nervous system. Camphor essential oil should not be used in massage therapy.


Three types of oil are produced from the camphor tree: white, yellow and brown. White camphor is the only type that should be used for therapeutic purposes, as yellow and brown camphor are classified as toxic and carcinogenic.

Even white camphor essential oil is powerful and should be used with care. People who should avoid camphor oil include pregnant women and anyone who has epilepsy or asthma. Even a small amount of camphor essential oil can cause vomiting and convulsions if ingested.