When I was little, I recall my mom rubbing a good vapour rub on my back and chest whenever I had a blocked nose or cough.
I later learnt the vapour rub contained camphor oil as one of the ingredients.
Camphor comes from the camphor tree originating in Asia. It is extracted from the wood of the tree, including the twigs and then gets transformed into a white crystalline substance.
Camphor blocks are often available in pharmacies.
Among the key oils in camphor-based substances, the main ingredient is camphor essential oil.
Interestingly, other plants such as sage and basil also contain camphor oil but in lesser quantities.
As a balm or cream, camphor is awesome to apply topically to aching joints or muscles.
It can have cooling and heating effects.
Studies show camphor may well have protective effects against cancer.
Traditional remedies include camphor for treating fungal infections, itchy skin, arthritis, cold sores, coughs, infections, fever, indigestion and irritations. Children even wore camphor necklaces in bygone days to keep them healthy!
Camphor has a role of honour in being part of the first manufactured smokeless gunpowder.
Popping some camphor blocks in storage containers and cupboards will help ward away unwanted insects and rust. It can be quite disappointing when rummaging through stored mementos and seeing a sentimental photo or piece of cloth chewed up by insects.
InIn fact, ancient Egyptians are said to have used camphor in their mummification practices. So camphor really does like to preserve things!
In bygone days, camphor was known to have a long legacy as a perfume ingredient. So it might not smell that great itself, but probably enhances other delightful aromatic odours.
However, consuming this powerful substance can cause serious problems and has caused accidental fatality by irresponsible intakes.
But don’t let a blocked nose mess up your day or night, as it may well be invigorating to inhale essential oils such as like camphor and feel the refreshing air flow come back easily into your body!