Camphor is a waxy, transparent solid that is derived from terpenes, a group of naturally occurring organic chemicals found primarily in the bark and wood of the camphor laurel tree. As a terpenoid, camphor has a strong aroma and taste. Camphor can be manufactured synthetically using oil of turpentine. Camphor has many uses in different cultures. It has been used as an embalming fluid, as a cooking ingredient or as a scent in wax candles, in religious ceremonies, and for medicinal purposes. Pure camphor should not ingested or applied to broken skin which can cause serious side effects.
Camphor is flammable when exposed to a spark or stored at high temperatures over 400 degree Fahrenheit. When used topically, camphor has antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is included in many over-the-counter medications to improve breathing or to treat skin conditions and burns. You will find a wide range of consumer health products containing camphor including muscle pain relief gels and decongestant chest rubs.