Camphor Essential Oil in Chinese Medicine

Common Name: White Camphor
Botanical Name: Cinnamomum camphora
Pin Yin Name: Zhāngnǎo

Main Acupressure Channels Activated by Camphor Essential Oil:essential oils for sinus congestion

Metal Element (Lung), Fire Element (Heart), Earth Element (Spleen)  

Learn How to Use Self-Acupressure Linked Here!


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Benefits of Camphor Essential Oils in Chinese Medicinepain remedy with essential oils

Camphor is what gives so many healing liniments their “medicinal” smell that resembles the aroma of eucalyptus. It is widely used in topical pain medicines such as our Dit Dat Jow formulas because it opens the acupressure Channels and penetrate to the related, or Collateral Channels as well. Camphor also invigorates the free flow of Blood. In Chinese medicine it is said that one cannot suffer with pain without the presence of some level of Blood Stagnation; the sharper the pain, as with neuralgia, the more severe the Blood Stagnation.

Camphor is also able to expel Internal Wind and pathogenic Dampness. It opens the sensory organs, especially the nose and the brain. Camphor is especially helpful with cold, stiff, arthritic pain and Damp-Bi because of its hot nature. Paradoxically, camphor is anti-inflammatory and helps to relieve inflammation associated with pain although it is Hot in nature; this may be due to camphor’s ability to stimulate Blood circulation. It is considered a purifying substance used in spiritual ceremonies. It has historically been used to prevent infectious diseases as it expels Wind-Cold.

Properties: Hot, acrid-spicy, aromatic
Nature: Penetrating, awakening, dispersing, stimulating, reviving, clarifying, purifying, eye-opening

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Diseases, Emotional Imbalances, and Pain Syndromes Treated with Camphor Essential Oil in Chinese Medicine

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each energetic organ system is assigned to one of the Five Elements. Each element has both physical and emotional symptoms that would indicate imbalances in one or more of the related organ systems. Learn more about the Five Elements here!

Water Element Energetic Organ Systems: Kidney, Urinary Bladder

Wood Element Energetic Organ Systems: Liver, Gallbladder

Fire Element Energetic Organ Systems: Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, San Jiao

  • Chronic emotional upset
  • Palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shock
  • Opens the Heart Orifices (shock-bipolar disorder)
  • Chest heaviness
  • Loss of breath (as with congestive heart failure)

Earth Element Energetic Organ Systems: Spleen, Stomach

Metal Element Energetic Organ Systems: Lung, Large Intestine

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Plant description: Evergreen tree grown in Asia generally

Part used: Leaves and bark
Note: Middle

Safety and Contraindications

  • No known cumulative toxicity used topically, but is very toxic used internally
  • Dilute to 5% so not to irritate the skin
  • Recommendations for topical use only
  • Contra-indicated for pregnant or nursing women and children-infants who should only use essential oils under the guidance of their local practitioner

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Barkin RL. The pharmacology of topical analgesics. Postgrad Med. 2013 Jul;125(4 Suppl 1):7-18. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2013.1110566911. PMID: 24547599.

Rodriguez-Merchan EC. Topical therapies for knee osteoarthritis. Postgrad Med. 2018 Sep;130(7):607-612. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2018.1505182. Epub 2018 Aug 29. PMID: 30156934.

Dos Santos E, Leitão MM, Aguero Ito CN, Silva-Filho SE, Arena AC, Silva-Comar FMS, Nakamura Cuman RK, Oliveira RJ, Nazari Formagio AS, Leite Kassuya CA. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory articular effects of essential oil and camphor isolated from Ocimum kilimandscharicum Gürke leaves. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 Apr 6;269:113697. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.113697. Epub 2020 Dec 13. PMID: 33316364.

Pergolizzi JV, Pappagallo M, Raffa RB, Gharibo C, Phillips RB, Desjonquères S, Tabor A. Preliminary observations of a novel topical oil with analgesic properties for treatment of acute and chronic pain syndromes. Pain Pract. 2010 May-Jun;10(3):201-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-2500.2009.00350.x. Epub 2010 Mar 3. PMID: 20230451.

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.