This section is from the book "The Volatile Oils Vol2", by E. Gildemeister. Also available from Amazon: The Volatile Oils.
Campherol. - Essence de Camphre.
Origin. The camphor laurel, Cinnamomum Camphora, Nees et Ebermayer (Laurus Camphora, L, family Lauracea?) is a stately forest tree, the home of which is in southern China, Formosa and japan.
In Formosa, which at present is the principal seat of production of camphor and camphor oil, the camphor tree does not grow in dense forests, but invariably in isolated specimens. This is more particulary true of the large trees suitable for distillation. The circumference of these, at the base, often is from 7 to 12 m. The quantity of wood which such a giant yields, suffices to supply one of the old Chinese distilleries, such as are still occasionally in operation, for several years with the necessary raw material for the production of camphor. Moreover, the operators prefer to utilize only the lower 3 or 4 m. of the trunk; the branches and the leaves, being less rich in camphor, are allowed to decayl). In accordance with recent regulations, trees less than 50 years of age may no longer be cut down. Inasmuch as the groves of wild trees have been thinned out to a considerable extent, endeavors are under way in japan and Formosa to replace the loss by planting. Stimulated by the high camphor prices during recent years, a beginning has been made to cultivate camphor trees in all those parts of the world that seem suited to its cultivation. However, the trees are still too young to pass judgement as to the outcome. More or less detailed reports on such undertakings refer to the following countries: Ceylon2), India3), Farther India4) (Annam, Burma, Assam), the Federated Malay States, Quelpart5), East Africa6),
1) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1912, 77.
2) Nieuw plantRundig woordenboek voor Nederlandsch-Indie. Amsterdam 1909, p. 199.
1) Interesting details concerning the camphor industry in Formosa may be found in James W. Davidson's comprehensive treatise "The Island of Formosa", London and New York 1903, p. 397 to 443.
2) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1906, 11; Ibidem October 1906, 18. - Chemist and Druggist 69 (1906), 536; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1907, 23. - Journ. d'Agriculture tropicale 7 (1907), 58; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1907, 24. - J. K. Nock, Circul. and Agric. Journ. of the Roy. bot. Gardens, Ceylon, 4 (1907), No. 3; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1907, 25; April 1908, 23. - Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter 74 (1908), No. 23, p. 52; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1909, 22. - Diplomatic and Consular Reports No. 4240, June 1909; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1909, 30.
3) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1906, 19. - Chemist and Druggist 70 (1907), 540; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1907, 26.
4) C. Crevost, Journ. d'Agriculture tropicale 6 (1906), 105; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1906, 20. - Nachrichten f. Handel u. Industrie 1908, No. 45, p. 5; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1908, 34. - Journ. Soc. chem. Industry 26 (1907), 889; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1907, 26. - Journ. d'Agriculture tropicale 10 (1910), 8; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1910, 27. - Agricultural Bulletin of the S., and F. M. S. Aug. 1909; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1911, 37.
5) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1907, 22. - Journ. d'Agriculture tropicale 8 (1908), 96; Report of Schimmel &Co. October 1908, 33.
6) Usambara-Post, Jan. 9. 1904, No. 9; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1904, 15. - Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1908, 20 - Der Pflanzer 2 (1906), 333; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1907, 23. - Chemist and Druggist 70 (1907), 974; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1907, 27. -Der Pflanzer 3 (1907), 317; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1908, 25. - Seifenfabrikant 28 (1908), 280; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1908, 34. - Der Pflanzer 6 (1910), 86; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1910, 27. - Chemist and Druggist 79 (1911) 18; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1911, 27.
Algeria1), southern France, North America2) (Texas, Florida, Michigan, California), the West Indies3) and finally Italy4), the climate of which is regarded as still suitable for the cultivation of the camphor tree.
The propagation of the camphor tree is best brought about by means of seeds. It should be remembered, however, that they lose their capacity to germinate after 5 months. Propagation by means of buried branches and roots is also recommended5).
The formation of the oil in the several organs of the plant has been studied by A. Tschirch and Homi Shirasawa6), partly in connection with living, partly with dead material. According to these investigations, camphor is the product resulting from the change of a volatile oil that is formed in special cells. Such cells are to be found in all parts of the tree. They are formed very early during the development of the organs, but at first they contain no volatile oil. This is formed gradually and possesses a yellow color which it retains for a long time. Later, sometimes only years after the formation of the secretion, the yellow oil becomes colorless. It is then much more readily volatile than in the first stages. In addition it has acquired the capacity to crystallize. Frequently irregular, light crystalline masses of camphor separate. The very volatile, colorless oil, which has been formed in the oil cells, now apparently penetrates the entire body of wood. Thus the vapors also pass into the hollow spaces and fissures. Here the conditions for crystallization are particularly favorable, hence abundant deposits of camphor crystals are found especially in the wood fissures. However, they have not been formed in situ, these formations being secondary deposits, for the actual formation of camphor takes place only in the oil cells.
1) Journ. de Pharm. et Chim. VI. 25 (1907), 182; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1907, 24. - Bull. Sciences Pharmacol. 14 (1907), 259. - Journ. d'Agri-culture tropicale 7 (1907), 335; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1908, 23.
2) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1906, 19. - Ibidem April 1907, 20. - Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter 71 (1907), 25; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1907, 26. - Chemist and Druggist 72 (1908), 915; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1908, 34. - Journ. d'Agriculture tropicale 8 (1908), 360; Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1909, 23. - Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter 79 (1911), Mo. 22, p. 41; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1911, 26.