This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Camphora, Cinnamomum camphora. Blumea balsamifera, a common shrub in the Philippines, is also a promising source of camphor. The synthetic camphor is inferior for medicinal use.
Toxic to many of the lower forms of life, but not markedly antiseptic. Rubefacient externally and carminative internally.
Camphor is a direct stimulant to the respiratory center, and to a less degree to the central nervous system as a whole.
The normal circulatory system is not markedly affected by camphor; but its known therapeutic uses in abnormal functioning of the circulatory system caused the pharmacologists to re-investigate it, and with the following results:
A rabbit deeply under the influence of chloral was readily awakened and restored to activity by subcutaneous injection of camphorated oil. Even when anesthesia was profound, the respiratory rate was increased and the reflexes reappeared from this administration of camphor.
A cat's heart was perfused, thus showing fibrillation. Camphor restored it, slowed the heart and increased its force.
Here was an instance where pharmacology was vitally defective until corrected by the teaching of clinical experience. If colchicum, for instance, was first introduced to-day, and the pharmacologists reported upon it, they would note it as a drastic cathartic and announce it as not of any probable value. Its immense value in gout would escape them entirely: that was learned by clinical experience. And the same is true of camphor.
Indicated in respiratory and cardiac depression, especially in cardiac fibrillation.
Cardiac weakness may be met with Curschmann's solution, made as follows: Two parts of camphor are dissolved in three parts of sulphuric ether, and seven parts of olive oil added. The dose is 10 to 15 minims every four hours for an adult; twice as much in emergency.
In severe cardiac involvement, as in pneumonia, 5 to 10 minims of a 20 per cent. solution in olive oil may be deeply injected under the skin. It may be given frequently and over long periods.
In the broncho-pneumonia of children, when a heart stimulant is needed, inject camphorated oil in 10 per cent solution, giving ten grains of camphor in twenty-four hours and never exceeding twenty grains.
Monobromated Camphor, in 5-grain pills, is used in the nervous form of epidemic influenza, lumbago, chorea, and petit mal, as well as in irritated sexual states.
Camphor Water is a mild carminative; chiefly used in eye washes. Spirit of Camphor is used in choleraic diarrhea.
Camphor enters into many formulae for external use.