Spirit of Camphor: Uses, Benefits and Cautions

| Modified on Oct 15, 2023
Spirit of Camphor.

For centuries, Camphor Spirit has been a trusted topical remedy for relieving muscle and joint pain, strains, bruises, backaches, and congestion from allergies and colds. It's a go-to solution for early treatment of cold sores and fever blisters. Adding Camphor Spirit to steam vaporizers can aid in alleviating coughs or can be directly rubbed on the chest for relief.

Camphor boasts a range of medicinal properties. It acts as an insect repellent with antimicrobial, antiviral, anticancer, and antitussive effects. Additionally, Camphor enhances skin penetration, making it effective in topical applications.1

Spirit of Camphor is derived from the essential oil of the camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora). This tree is native to Asian countries, including China, Japan, and Taiwan. Over time, due to its vast array of uses and medicinal properties, the camphor tree has been naturalized in various other parts of the world.

Every part of the camphor tree exudes a unique and easily identifiable scent.

While camphor can still be extracted from the camphor tree, it is frequently produced using turpentine oil for commercial purposes.

Benefits of Camphor Spirits

Camphor Spirit, which is 10% camphor in an alcohol base, has many reported uses, such as the following:

  • muscle pain and stiffness
  • joint pain
  • insect bites and stings
  • bruises
  • sprains
  • antifungal properties
  • rashes
  • eczema
  • dry and itchy skin
  • acne
  • boils
  • poison ivy
  • skin tags
  • warts
  • lice
  • canker sores
  • cold sores
  • fever blisters
  • dermatofibroma from mosquito bites
  • nail fungus
  • sinus congestion
  • trigger finger stiffness and pain
  • knee pain

Topical Pain Reliever

Spirit of Camphor is effective in alleviating swelling and discomfort. It's particularly beneficial for easing pain from arthritis and muscle aches.

How to Use for Pain Relief:

  • Combine a few drops of camphor spirit with a carrier oil, such as coconut or sesame oil.
  • Gently massage the mixture onto the affected areas.

Skin Tightening

Camphor spirit acts as an astringent, which tightens pores. It's beneficial for those with oily skin, eradicating surface bacteria and enhancing the complexion. Moreover, when applied early, it can help dry and reduce pimples.

How to Use for Skin Care:

  • For general skin care: Soak a cotton ball with camphor spirits. Using gentle circular motions, apply it to your face. Be cautious and avoid sensitive regions like under the eyes, the eyelids, lips, and around the nostrils.
  • For acne treatment: Dip a Q-tip into the camphor tincture and dab it onto the pimple. Repeat this process twice daily for best results.

Always ensure to test a small patch of your skin first to check for any allergic reactions or irritations. If any adverse reactions occur, discontinue use immediately.

Household Uses

Camphor effectively repels insects, including moths, flies, mosquitoes, and fleas.

How to Use

  1. Immerse a cloth piece in camphor.
  2. Place the soaked cloth in closets or other areas to deter moths. The same method can be used to ward off other pests.

Furniture Care

Camphor can remedy the white rings on wooden furniture caused by condensation from cold drinks or hot dishes.

How to Use

  1. Dab camphor onto a Q-tip or cotton ball.
  2. Gently rub the affected area with the white ring. The stain should fade away.

Historical Uses of Camphor

Camphor has been esteemed for its myriad applications in Eastern cultures for centuries.

  • China: The Chinese appreciated camphor as a circulatory stimulant and analeptic.
  • Japan: During the Edo period, camphor served a dual purpose. It was a component of torch-light materials and was also added to fireworks to enhance their brightness. [2]
  • India: Camphor held religious significance. It was frequently burned in temples during various rituals. Notably, the fumes of camphor are unique in that they are aromatic yet non-irritating to the eyes.

Remember, while camphor has various beneficial uses, it's crucial to use it responsibly and keep it out of reach of children. Always ensure adequate ventilation when using camphor indoors.

Camphor in the Time of Pandemics

In Europe, Camphor was used as a fumigant during the Black Death (a plague that spread throughout Europe in the 1400s) and later for outbreaks of smallpox and cholera.

Samuel Hahnemann of Germany, the founder of the homeopathic school of medicine, was a great advocate for camphor. He used it exclusively in tincture form rather than homeopathic.

Hahnemann called camphor a "mysterious remedy and said that its effects are both puzzling and wonderful as it removes the pathological effects of many other drugs, including many homeopathic remedies.

The following is from Materia Medica Pura, which Samuel Hahnemann wrote between 1811 to 1821. From vol. iv. 2nd edit., 1825.


... From the earliest times this medicine has been blindly used and improperly employed in large and massive doses, so that its true action has never been ascertained, nor could it be acertained, as it has almost always been given only with several other drugs, either mixed up with, or administered at the same time with it, and moreover, and this is the worst, it has only been employed amid the tumult of the symptoms or diseases. For the pure effects of it, observed by ALEXANDER, (WILL, ALEXANDER, Medical Essays and Observations, 1755.), are very meagre and confined to mere general expressions.

The action of this substance is very puzzling and difficult to determine, even in healthy organisms, because, its primary action more often rapidly alternates and becomes mixed up with the reactions of the life (secondary action) than is the case with any other medicine, so that it is frequently hard to distinguish what is to be ascribed to the reaction of the body, and what to the alternating action of the camphor in its primary action.

But, at all events, commencement of a pure proving of it must be made, and as such I offer the following symptoms.

In its curative action camphor is just as puzzling and wonderful, for it removes the violent effects of very many, extremely different, vegetable medicines (and even those of the animal drug cantharides and of many mineral and metallic drugs), and hence it must have a sort of general pathological action, which, however, we are unable to indicate by any general expression; nor can we even attempt to do so far fear of straying into the domain of shadows, where knowledge and observation cease, we, in short, abandoned by the guiding of plain experience, grope about in the dark, and with every desire to penetrate into the inner essence of things, about which little minds so presumtuously dogmatize, we gain nothing by such hyperphysical speculations but noxious error and self-deception.

He stated that it is difficult to determine all of its effects and at some future period, the remainder of its effects will be uncovered. He discovered that camphor can antidote opium with great success. [3]

Hahnemann had great success using camphor spirit for the cholera pandemic (1826-1837). Read interesting excerpts about his use of camphor from his letters here.

Here is another interesting excerpt from that period about camphor's efficacy in Vienna from a fellow homeopath.

Camphor Toxicity

Camphor, while useful in various applications, is toxic when consumed and poses serious health risks.

Internal Consumption Risks:

  • Ingesting camphor can lead to various symptoms, including irritability, confusion, and seizures.
  • Neuromyotonia (NMT) is a condition characterized by hyperexcitability of peripheral nerves. Consumption of camphor can induce this form of neuromuscular hyperactivity.

Lethal Dose:

  • The amount of camphor that can be lethal varies, but generally, it's between 50–500 mg per kg of body weight. 

Given these risks, camphor should always be kept out of reach of children and pets. It should never be ingested, and any use should be consistent with recommended guidelines and precautions. If someone is suspected of consuming camphor, immediate medical attention is necessary.

Camphor Spirit Testimonials

Below are exciting reviews about Camphor Spirits from Earth Clinic, Amazon, and other sites.

"I have suffered with boils all my life. I have tried all the remedies, tea tree oil etc. nothing worked. I started using camphor spirits. If caught at the first small bump it works great. Do not use on an open draining boil. Antibiotics work but getting in to see a doctor can be too late. Most doctors are at a loss with boils I have found. Draining can be painful and most doctors just don't have the time. I could write a medical book on boils, but no happy ending or fix."

"I personally like this product for many uses. One whiff and it unstops my nose especially when I have a cold. It relieves skin irritations. And I get rid of skin tags around my neck and shoulders when they pop up. It kills foot fungus if you apply it every night before going to bed. But you do have to be persistent in applying it, like every night until you get the relief you want. And it kills cold sores on your lips if you don't mind the sting. It's an old household remedy my grandmother used. I'm in my 70's and it has worked for me all my life. Good health and good luck. --Joe"

 "I love this remedy. I use camphor spirits for any minor cut or abrasion for quick healing. Because it dries quickly I can use it before bed and not worry about it rubbing off on the sheets. I also use it to relieve the itch of various bug bites. Has always worked well for me."

"Good for stimulating circulation when mixed with baking soda and applied to cold feet and hands."

"Helps with acne! Put some on a cotton ball and use it on my shoulders and a little on my face. It is strong!!! So be careful near the eyes and nose."

"Perfect for minor pains. Just 1-2 drops for the area on the skin. Rub a little then in 5 mins you will see pain is going away. "

"I have gotten fever blisters since a child. Discovered this cure in the early 70's. I have never past on a fever blister to anyone. Use as directed."

"A doctor told me about this remedy 35 years ago and I have never found anything that works better for quickly drying out a cold sore before it can even get going. At the first tingling feeling on your lip dab some on for a couple of days and the cold sore is stopped dead- it shrinks away immediately. Glad to find this on Amazon because drug stores are ceasing to carry it because it's not a big money item."

Where to Buy

Some pharmacies carry Spirit of Camphor. However, it is much easier to find on Amazon.

Humco - 2432 Camphor Spirit, 2 Fluid Ounce

  Humco Camphor Spirit USP 2 oz (Pack of 2)

Artizen Camphor Essential Oil (100% Pure & Natural - UNDILUTED) Therapeutic Grade

Have you used spirit of camphor to treat any ailment? Please send us your feedback!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Viv (Kansas City) on 12/14/2020

Spirit of Camphor for Boils

Cures most boils if caught in time. Also, cures most moles. They will fall off.

Camphor Feedback

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Art (California) on 12/14/2020 2091 posts

Very nice review of Camphor, Deirdre/EC!



1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Truth (in Paradise) on 12/14/2020

Camphor was used in Canada to create a product called 714 X and although it was successful in treating cancer, there was a huge battle between the Dr. who was using this method and the CMA in Canada.

Herpes Type 2

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Gael (Largo, FL) on 12/14/2020

In the late fifties while in the army, I came down with herpes. After diagnosis, the army doctor recommended camphor spirits applied to lesions. It worked and I have never passed it on. Still use it along with new meds.

Nasal Dryness, Bad Bacteria, Viruses

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Aliece (KS) on 12/14/2020

Camphor products for protection from nose dryness and bad bacteria and viruses:

I have been using either Vick's or Mentholatum ointment products that contain camphor for many, many years. When I blow my nose, I insert a small amount and either on into my nostrils to moisturize the interior and to provide protection against bad bacteria and viruses that might invade my body via the nose. I am rarely sick and will continue to use for the remainder of my life.