Cinnamomum Camphora, (Linne) Nees et Ebermaier. The dextrorotatory ketone (concrete violatile oil.)

Habitat. China, Japan, Formosa. Tree cultivated in Italy as an ornament, and may yield profitably in California, Florida, etc., wherever frosts are light.

Syn. Camph., Camphor Laurel, Gum Camphor Tree; Fr. Camphre du Japon--droit; Ger. Kampfer, Kampher, Campfer.

Cam'pho-ra. L. Fr. Ar. Kafur or kapur, chalk, lime -- i.e., its resemblance.

Cinnamomum Camphora.


Handsome evergreen tree, 9-12 M. (30-40 degrees) high, .3-.6 M. (1-2 degrees) thick, much branched above, fragrant; bark smooth, green; leaves 7.5-15 Cm. (3-6') long, 2.5-7.5 Cm. (1-3') broad, attenuated toward both ends, entire, smooth, shining, ribbed, bright yellowish-green above, paler and glaucous beneath, thick; flowers, June-July, small, whitish; fruit, Nov.-Dec., purple berry, 6 Mm. (1/4') thick, 1-seeded. DEXTROROTATORY KETONE (camphor), in white translucent, tough masses, granules, penetrating, characteristic odor, pungent, aromatic taste, soluble in alcohol (1) chloroform (1), ether (1), carbon disulphide, petroleum benzin, fixed or volatile oils, water (800), sp. gr. 0.990; readily pulverized with a little alcohol, chloroform, ether, and liquified with equal quantity of chloral hydrate, menthol, phenol, thymol; volatilizes at ordinary temperature, melts at 175 degrees C. (347 degrees F.). Tests: 1. Heat 2 Gm. -- sublimes without carbonization, leaving about .05 p.c. of non-volatile matter. 2. Solution in petroleum benzin (1 in 10) -- clear (abs. of water). 3. A copper spiral 6 Mm (1/4') in diameter and 6 Mm. (1/4') long held in flame until it glows without coloring flame green, then dipped into camphor; ignited, burned outside of flame; then in lower outer edge -- no green color -- (abs. of chlorinated products); alcoholic solution precipitates with water. Impurities: Chlorinated products, water. Should be kept cool, in well-closed containers. Dose, gr. 1-5 (.06-.3 Gm.).


Tree, resembling sassafras and linden, is of slow growth but flourishes up to 600 M. (2,000 degrees) elevation in the tropics -- Cape of Good Hope, Brazil, Jamaica, Madeira, Mediterranean region, etc. The wood is valuable, being white, fragrant and repellent to insects, and while all parts contain camphor, along with its strong odor, it is obtained only from the root, trunk, and branches of trees fifty or more years old -- by sublimation. In Japan roots and small branches are chipped and put, with some water, in large vessels surmounted by earthen domes lined with rice-straw; on applying heat the camphor, volatilized by steam, rises to the domes and condenses upon the straw -- flowers of camphor -- from which it is shaken and packed in double-tubs, 100 pounds (45 Kg.). In China the comminuted plant is boiled with water until camphor adheres to the ladle and the strained liquid concentrates upon cooling, which then is sublimed with alternating layers of earth. In Formosa (island) a long wooden trough, coated with clay and fixed over a crude furnace, is half-filled with water and, upon a perforated board luted to the top, chips are placed, that in turn are covered with inverted pots; on applying heat steam is produced, which, rising, passes through the perforations and chips, thereby becoming camphor-vapor that condenses in the upper part of the pots -- flowers of camphor -- from which it is scraped every few days. This industry here has been monopolized and revolutionized by Japan since her last war with China, to the effect of improving quality, the government purchasing from all producers their product of a recognized standard, and refining it at Taihoku, using several thousand pounds at a charge -- the oil and water being first driven off at low heat, then the camphor sublimed at higher temperature, and pressed hydraulically into blocks for exporting. The crude is forwarded often in leaf-lined baskets, 70 pounds (32 Kg.), to Tamsui, Takow, etc., there stored in vats, or packed in chests, tubs (lead- or tin-lined, 100 pounds (45 Kg., which prior to shipping, are saturated with water to prevent loss of weight by evaporation in transit, causing it to reach us somewhat moist. When in vats a yellowish-brown volatile oil -- oil of camphor -- drains out, the amount increasing with pressure. There are two varieties: 1, Japan (Tub, Dutch -- they being the first to introduce it), lighter pink, larger grained, higher priced, cleaner, dryer; usually from Batavia; 2, China (Formosa), cheapest, most abundant; usually from Canton. As such "crude camphor" contains 2-10 p.c. of impurities--vegetable matter, gypsum, salt, sulphur, chips, ammonium chloride, chlorinated products, etc. -- which must be removed before suitable for medicine.

Refining. -- Formerly done exclusively in Europe, but now largely in Formosa and our country, by mixing crude camphor with 1/50 part of quicklime (iron filings, sand, or charcoal) to remove resin, empyreumatic oil, moisture, etc., then resubliming at 175-204 degrees C. (347-400 degrees F.) In iron, copper or glass retorts, and pressing into rectangular blocks or circular cakes.


Rare: Stearic acid 25-50 p.c., insoluble in alcohol except when hot, crystallizing therefrom upon cooling; cane-sugar (sucrose) 20 p.c.


CHO;When heated with zinc chloride yields cymol, CH; with nitric acid yields camphoric acid, CHO, and camphoronic acid, CHO; the former acid forms colorless, inodorous prisms (see page 232); the latter acid melts at 136 degrees C. (277 degrees F.) With decomposition and is freely soluble in water or alcohol.


1. Aqua Camphorae. Camphor Water. (Syn., Aq. Camph., Aqua Camphorata, Mistura Camphorae; Fr. Eau camphre' Ger. Kampferwasser.)


1. 1/5 p.c. Triturate powdered camphor .2 Gm. With purified talc 1.5 Gm. + distilled water 100 cc., agitate well, set aside 24 hours, filter repeatedly until clear; it is a saturated solution. Dose, 3j-8 (4-30 cc.).

2. Linimentum Camphorae. Camphor Liniment. (Syn., Lin. Camph., Camphorated Oil, Linimentum Camphoratum; Fr. (Liniment) Huile camphre; Ger. Oleum Camphoratum, Kampferol, Kampferliniment.)

Manufacture: 20 p.c. Heat in a flask on water-bath cottonseed oil 80 Gm., add camphor 20, stopper container and agitate occasionally until dissolved without further heating; used externally.

Prep.: 1. Ceratum Camphorae, N.F., 10 p.c.

3. Spiritus Camphorae. Spirit of Camphor. (Syn., Sp. Camph., Tinctura Camphorae, Tincture of Camphor, Alcohol Camphoratus; Fr. (Esprit de) Alcohol camphre; Ger. Spiritus camphoratus, Kampferspiritus.)


10 p.c. Dissolve 10 Gm. Camphor in alcohol 80 cc., add alcohol q.s. 100 cc., sp. gr. 0.825. Test: 1. To 5 cc. add .05 Gm. of anhydrous potassium carbonate -- latter does not liquefy or adhere to bottom of container (abs. of added water). Dose, mv-60 (.3-4 cc.).

PREPS.: 1. Lotio Ammoniacalis Camphorata, N.F., 1 p.c. 2. Mistura Opii et Chloroformi Composita, N.F., 20 p.c. 3. Mistura Opii et Rhei Composita, N.F., 20 p.c. 4. Tinctura Opii et Gambir Composita, N.F., 4 p.c.

4. Linimentum Saponis, 4.5 p.c. 5. Linimentum Chloroformi, 3.15 p.c. 6. Tinctura Opii Camphorat a, 2/5 p.c. 7. Ampullae Camphorae, N.F., 3 gr. 8. Chloral Camphoratum; N.F., each, 50 p.c. 9. Emplastrum Fuscum Camphoratum, N.F., 1 p.c. 10. Linimentum Saponato-Camphoratum, N.F., 2.5 p.c. 11. Menthol Camphoratum, N.F., 47.5 p.c. 12. Petroxolinum Chloroformi Camphoratum, N.F., 20 p.c. 13. Petroxolinum Phenolis Camphoratum, N.F., 37.2 p.c. 14. Pilulae Opii et Camphorae, N.F., 2 gr. 15. Unguentum Camphorae, N.R., 22 p.c. 16. Linimentum Belladonnae, N.F., 5 p.c. 17. Linimentum Opii Compositum, N.F., 1.75 p.c. 18. Linimentum Sinapis Compositum, N.F., 6 p.c. 19. Nebula Aromatica, N.F., 8/10 p.c. 20. Nebula Mentholis Composita, N.F., 1 p.c. 21. Pilulae Antiperiodicae, N.F., 1/8 gr. 22. Tinctura Antiperiodica, N.F., 1/5 p.c.

Unoff. Preps.: Linimentum Camphorae Ammoniatum (Br.) 12.5 p.c., + stronger ammonia water 25 p.c.; Vinum Camphoratum. Camphora Phenolata, Camphora Salicylata, etc. Enters universally into camphorice, dentifrices, etc.


Antispasmodic, stimulant, carminative, stomachic, (an) aphrodisiac, antipyretic, nervine, sedative, diaphoretic, rubefacient, resolvent, antiseptic. Has great healing powers; dilates vessels, increases flow of gastric juice and peristalsis.


Camphor was not known to Greeks or Romans, we having derived it from the Arabians, who use it solely as a refrigerant and to lessen sexual desire. Now employed in hysteria, dysmenorrhea, nervousness, diarrhea, colic, flatulence, rheumatism, gout, tenesmus, asthma, cough, coryza, toothache, headache, spasms, chorea, epilepsy, nausea, typhoid condition, mania. Externally as a wash, liniment, or ointment for ulcers, gangrene, scabies, sprains, bruises, rheumatic pains, convulsions.

Poisoning: Have burning pain, vomiting, weak pulse, giddiness, debility, pallor, cold, clammy skin, faintness, confused ideas, delirium, convulsions, death from collapse; does not kill healthy adults. Give water at once if camphor taken in alcoholic solution, induce vomiting, following with alcohol in small but frequent doses, coffee, cold, arterial sedatives, ether, artificial heat, castor oil; opium and bromides for the convulsions.


Antispasmodics, alcohol, opium, narcotics, aromatics, all in small quantity.


Antispasmodics, alcohol, opium, narcotics, aromatics, all in small quantit.

Allied Products

1. Camphora Monobromata. Monobromated Camphor, CHBrO. -- This ortho-monobromcamphor is obtained by heating together in a flask or retort camphor and bromine in molecular proportions (preferably with a little water or chloroform) until reaction ceases, allowing yellowish solution to crystallize, heating until mass becomes white, recrystallizing from alcohol or petroleum benzin. It is in colorless prismatic needles, scales, or powder, mild, characteristic, camphoraceous odor and taste, permanent, decomposed by exposure to sunlight, soluble in alcohol (6.5), chloroform. (.5), ether (1.6), almost insoluble in water; melts at 75 degrees C. (167 degrees F.). Nervous sedative in nervous irritation, insomnia, headache--no advantages over camphor. Dose, gr. 1-5 (.06-.3 Gm.), in pill, emulsion.

2. Acidum Camphoricum, Camphoric Acid, CHO, U.S.P. 1900.--This dibasic organic acid is obtained by oxidizing camphor 150 Gm. with hot nitric acid 2000 cc., until crystallization takes place, dissolving crystals in water (5) containing sodium carbonate, allowing solution of sodium camphorate to crystallize, dissolving crystals in water (10), decomposing with hydrochloric acid, when camphoric acid crystallizes out. It is in colorless, odorless, monoclinic prismatic crystals, plates, acid taste, melting at 187 degrees C. (369 degrees F.), soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, fatty oils, water (125). Antihydrotic, antiseptic, intestinal disinfectant, anticatarrhal; bronchitis, catarrh, cystitis, night-sweats of phthisis, diarrhea, sore throat, pyelitis, eczema, acne. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.); locally in 2-6 p.c. aqueous solutions, with 11 p.c. of alcohol to each 1 p.c. of acid.

3. Borneol, Borneo, Sumatra, or Barus Camphor (Dryobal'anops aromat'ica (Camphora), CHO, has different odor from official camphor, heavier than water, less volatile, with nitric acid yields ordinary camphor.

4. Ngai Camphor (Blu'mea balsamif'era). -- This is a tall weed of India, China, Formosa. Its camphor has same composition as Borneo, but is levorotatory, and natively is prized higher than our official.

5. Artificial Camphor. -- Although this can be made by oxidizing camphene, CH, with chromic acid mixture, yet the more recent process is based upon the interaction of anhydrous turpentine and anhydrous oxalic acid at 120-130 degrees C. (248-266 degrees F.), yielding pinyl oxalate and formate, which treated with lime gives borneol, and this by oxidation becomes camphor; however, the products terpin hydrate and terpene hydrochloride are recognized generally under this name--the latter being prepared by saturating oil of turpentine, dissolved in twice its volume of carbon disulphide, with hydrochloric acid gas, distilling with lime to form calcium chloride and camphene, oxidizing latter with nitric acid yielding camphor.

6. Oleum Camphorae, Camphor Oil, U.S.P. 1860-1870. -- This is a yellowish-brown volatile oil obtained from camphor by sublimation and expression; has camphor odor and taste, sp. gr. 0.940, dextrorotatory; contains pinene, phellandrene, cineol, dipentene, terpineol, safrol, eugenol, cadinene--at low temperature deposits camphor; used by Chinese for rheumatism, etc. Should not be confounded with Linimentum Camphorae, U.S.P., which also often is called oil of camphor (Ger. Oleum Camphoratum).