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Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
  • What Is Camphor?

  • Where to find and how to use traditional anesthetic
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  • Whether it’s sore muscles or itchy skin, if you’re suffering, relief is in sight. Camphor products are a traditional and effective form of anesthetic for these irritating conditions. Find out what camphor is and if it can help you.
    What is camphor? Camphor is a derivative of camphor tree wood (or cinnamonum camphora). It can also be created synthetically, according to the International Programme on Chemical Safety. Camphor is very strongly aromatic and causes increased blood circulation by dilating the capillaries on the surface of the skin, which results in a cooling effect.
    What are camphor’s uses? Camphor has a variety of applications. Camphor has been used as an anesthetic and a type of liniment. Camphor has also been used as a food and beverage flavoring; in religious ceremonies; as a deodorant, a moth repellent, a cosmetic and drug preservative; in plastic manufacture; and even a wood and cloth preservative. Camphor has analgesic properties, which makes it useful as a topical pain reliever. Camphor can also reduce and proactively prevent skin irritation. Camphor should not be taken internally due to its toxicity.
    Where can camphor be found? Camphor is offered in many forms today. Creams, oils and ointments with camphor and menthol are over-the-counter remedies for treating sinus congestion; muscular pain; irritation and itchy, irritated skin. Camphor is also used in dental procedures as an antibacterial agent, particularly in root canals. In addition, camphor can be found in various moth repellents.
    Is camphor safe? Camphor is a powerful medication that many people have used safely and successfully. It is important to note that the National Institutes of Health warns against camphor overdose and recommends seeking a health care professional or poison control center if there are any symptoms of camphor overdose. Some overdose symptoms are abdominal pain, burning of mouth and throat, thirst, nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing, rigid muscles or any unusual behavior of concern.
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