Camphor is a waxy, white byproduct made from distilling the bark of camphor trees. While it is traditionally used during Hindu prayer rituals, it has a number of therapeutic properties which lend themselves well to other areas too. Ayurveda has long recognized the benefits of using camphor, which is why many Ayurvedic practices focus heavily on its use. If you’re a complete camphor novice, here are a few ways you can begin to use it.
1. As An Insect Repellent
Many insect repellents available in the market contain harmful chemicals that are oftentimes carcinogenic. Camphor, on the other hand, is a completely natural, safe way to keep pesky mosquitoes at bay. To keep your home bug-free, light a few pellets of camphor and let it burn out, while keeping all your windows closed. Not only will it fill your home with the most amazing smell, you will also be able to sleep peacefully, without having to swat at mosquitoes every few minutes.
2. To Decongest Your Airways
A blocked nose can be even worse than a runny one. When you’re battling a cold and struggling to take a proper breath, camphor could be a lifesaver. Heat up a bowl of water with some camphor in it and take large gulps of the steam. It especially helps if you cover your head and the bowl with a thick towel to prevent any of the vapor from escaping.
3. As An Anesthetic
The next time you stub your toe, reach for some camphor instead of a bag of frozen peas. Applying camphor topically will numb your sensory nerves and reduce your pain. It also helps bring down the swelling because of its anti-inflammatory powers. However, always remember to use it only topically. Ingesting camphor can cause major side effects and in some cases, death.
4. As A Fungicide
Our toenails are especially prone to developing fungal infections. People suffering from onychomycosis see their toenails turning black and becoming weaker. A natural way to kill this fungal infection is by mixing camphor pellets with water and soaking your feet in it. Doing this as often as you can will help bring back your toenails to their previous state.
5. To Relieve Joint Pain
Ayurveda suggests mixing hot coconut oil with camphor and massaging it all over the body to give you some relief from joint pain. Chronic diseases like arthritis, gout and rheumatism can cause your entire body to ache, making even the smallest movements difficult. This camphor massage rejuvenates your body and decreases pain associated with inflammation. Do this every time before you shower and your body will feel sprightlier than before.
6. To Sleep Better
With a dozen distractions and worries on your mind, falling asleep might be very difficult for you. If you often find yourself tossing and turning for hours, try using camphor to fall asleep faster. Camphor is highly valued for its efficacy in aromatherapy. The fragrance calms your mind and helps you relax into a peaceful state so you can fall asleep faster. You could keep a few pellets of camphor under your pillow at all times to help it imbibe the fragrance or you could rub some camphor oil onto your pillow right before you sleep.
7. To Kill Hair Lice
One of its less glamorous benefits, camphor is excellent for treating head lice. Anyone with young kids in school knows how difficult a bout of hair lice can be to deal with. Camphor is one of the easiest, yet most effective ways to treat them. Powder a few camphor pellets, mix it with warm coconut oil and rub it all over the hair and scalp. Keep it on the whole night and shampoo it off the next morning. Not only will it kill the hair lice, but the soothing properties of camphor also give you some relief from scalp itching.
8. To Fade Minor Burn Scars
Once your burn has healed, you could apply some camphor dissolved in water to the area every day to fade the scar. The numbing effect of camphor will also reduce the pain around that area. Be careful not to apply it while the burn is still fresh though. If the burn hasn’t healed properly, putting camphor on it will sting you so bad you’ll regret the day you were born.
9. To Soften Your Heels
Who doesn’t wish they could reclaim the soft, smooth heels of their childhood? If your soles are dry and cracked, you could use camphor to improve them. Dissolve some camphor in warm water and soak your feet in it for at least 15 minutes. Once the skin has softened, use a pumice stone to get out all the nasty dead skin getting in the way of your feet looking flawless.
10. To Keep Your Clothes Fresh
If you have a roach problem in your house, you’ll know that one of their favorite hiding places is between your nice, freshly laundered clothes. Mothballs, though effective, can leave your clothes with a distinctly strange smell. Smelling of mothballs isn’t the most enticing thing, so switch them out for some camphor pellets. Camphor works just as effectively and as a bonus, will keep your clothes smelling menthol fresh.