back Camphora

Synonym,. - Laurus Camphora.

Natural order.- Lauracese.

Common name. - Camphor.

Habitat. - The Camphor tree is found principally in Central China, Japanese Islands and the Island of Formosa.

Preparation. - Tincture made by dissolving one part of camphor gum in nine parts of Alcohol.


Acts powerfully upon the cerebro-spinal system, depressing both the motor and intellectual centers, causing a general prostration of the system, giddiness and cerebral oppression. Its pathogenesis also shows convulsions, hysterical and epileptiform, delirium, and other nervous systems.  The mucous tissues are involved in a catarrhal irritation, giving rise to coryza and diarrhoea, though the primary effects of camphor upon the mucous lining of the stomach and bowels are manifested by extreme coldness and torpor of these parts, and a similar condition, also, is found upon the skin, the body being ice cold, the system in profound collapse and the pulse feeble.  The genito-urinary system is involved, the genital organs becoming cold and relaxed; and in the urinary tract a condition of strangury is established.  The action of camphor is rapid and intense, though comparatively evanescent. Its chief sphere of usefulness is in the treatment of choleric conditions, and the effects of cold.


Mind. - Great anxiety and extreme restlessness (Acon., Ars., Rhus. tox.).  Loss of consciousness (Ars., Bell., Op.). Afraid to be alone, especially at night in the dark.  Indescribable wretchedness. Agitation. Haste.

Head.- Vertigo and heaviness of the head, especially on stooping (Acon., Bell., Puls., Sulph.). Headache as from con- striction of the brain.  Dull headache above the frontal bone, with nausea. Contraction, as if laced together, in the cerebellum and glabella, with coldness all over.  Throbbing in the cerebellum (Glon., Bry.).

Eyes. - Eyes fixed, staring, distorted (Bell., Hyos., Stram.); hollow ; pupils dilated.  Sensation as if all objects were too bright and glittering.

Ears.- Red ulcer in left external meatus, with sticking on pressure.  Lobules of ear red.

Nose. - Fluent coryza, on sudden change of weather.  Sneezing.  Nose stopped.  Air in room seems cooler to nose when walking.

Face. - Face pale, livid, haggard; pale and anxious (Ars., Plumb.); distorted; bluish cold (Verat. alb.); red.

Mouth. - Tongue cold (Cupr., Naja, Verat. alb.).  Speech feeble, broken, hoarse.  Teeth seem too long, with toothache which seemed to originate from swollen submaxillary gland.

Stomach.- Increased taste of all food.  Eructations after eating.  Burning in pharynx and stomach. (Ars., Canth.).  Coldness in the stomach. (Colch.).  Pressive pain in pit of stomach.

Abdomen. - Aching in anterior part of liver.  Constrictive pain below the short ribs, extending to the lumbar vertebrae.  Coldness in the upper and lower abdomen, followed by burning heat therein.

Stool.- oColic and diarrhoea from cold (Coloc, Dulc).  oAbsence of discharges; cholera (Ars., Cupr., Verat. alb.). Constipation from inactivity of the rectum (Alum.).

Urinary Organs.- Diminished urination. Retention of urine with full bladder (Acon., Hyos., Verat. alb.); strangury.  Burning urine (Acon., Apis. Ars., Canth.).  Scanty.

Male Organs.- Absence of sexual desire; testicles relaxed (Agn., Arg. nit., Coni., Sulph.). Impotence (Agn., Phos, ac).

Female Organs- Increased sexual desire.

Respiratory Organs. - Mucus in the air-passages (Ant. tart., Ipec.).  Almost complete arrest of breathing.  Suffocative dyspnoea, as if from pressure at pit of stomach.  Short cough from scraping in the throat. Dry, hacking cough, stitches in left chest when walking.

Heart and Pulse. - Great precordial anxiety and distress (Acon., Ars.) ; sensation of severe coldness and irresistible sleepiness. Palpitation. Pulse very weak, scarcely perceptible (Acon, Ars.).

Back.- Drawing stitches through and between scapulae, on moving the arm, extending into chest. Difficulty oi motion. Numbness, tingling, coldness.  Coldness of the limbs (Ars., Cupr., Verat. alb.) and cramps of the calves (Acon., Calc. c, Nitr. ac, Nux v., Sil., Sulph.).  Cold arms, hands and feet.

Upper Limbs. - Pressure in right elbow, worse when leaning upon it, which causes it to extend into the hand.  Hands pale.  Fingers bluish.

Lower Limbs. - Staggering as if drunk.  Cracking and creaking in hip-joints, in knees and ankles. Drawing bruised pain after walking in right thigh and on inner side near and below patella; he fears that the leg will bend forward suddenly.  Drawing in muscles of left calf when sitting, extending into foot.  Tearing cramp in dorsum of foot; extending along outer side of calf to thigh; worse on motion.

Generalities.- Convulsive circular motion (rotation of arms).  Subsultus tendiniom.  General discomfort.  Restlessness.  Easily startled when awake, and then feels throbbing and palpitation.  Great prostration. Sudden and great sinking of strength (Ars., Sec).  Icy coldness of the whole body (Tabac), Feeling as if a cold wind were blowing over the body. Epileptic and other convulsions (Ars., Bell., Calc. c, Cic, Stram.).  Want of bodily irritability; insensible to touch.  Cold, clammy, exhausting sweat (Ars., Tereb.).  Cramps in inner and outer parts.

Aggravation. - At night; in the dark; from motion; from cold or cold air.

Amelioration. - In open air.  From profuse sweat.  Pains disappear when thinking of them (Reverse, Baryt. c, Ox. ac.).

Conditions. - Irritable; weakly; blondes most affected.  Scrofulous children most sensitive to camphor.

Compare. - Acon., Ars., Bell., Canth., Cupr., Coccul., Carb. v., Hyos., Op., Tereb., Secale c, Stram., Verat. alb.

Antidotes.- Op., Nitr. sp. d.

Camphor Antidotes.- Canth., Cupr., Squilla, and most vegtable poisons.  Tea, coffee and lemonade do not interfere with action of Camphor. (C. Hg.)


THERAPEUTICS. Camphor is chiefly used in cholera and choleraic conditions in general. In Asiatic cholera it is indicated when the discharges are scanty, or suddenly suppressed with icy coldness of the body and collapse.  It is also useful at the onset of the disease before the characteristic choleraic discharges are established, the immediate prostration being very marked, the body cold, the voice husky.  The mother tincture should be given a few drops on sugar or in water every few minutes until reaction takes place.  According to Allen, Camphor is not to be given if there is perspiration, or should be stopped as soon as that occurs.  Cholera infantum, attacks sudden, great prostration, vomiting, diarrhoea, coldness.  Cholera morbus, or colic, with prostration and coldness. Camphor will often break up a cold if given at once during the chilly stages with sneezing. Often a palliative in cough and hay fever.  It may also be useful in asthma, dry cough, congestion of the lungs, emphysema, etc., other symtoms agreeing.  It is also useful in delirium, mania, convulsions and inflammation of internal parts when there is great coldness and extreme prostration.  Especially when troubles are caused by suppression of measles or other eruptions in children.  Camphor is the remedy in sudden and rapid prostration with tendency to collapse from shock or other causes.  Excessive strangury, retention of urine occurring in cholera, from suppressed eruption, suppressed gonorrheal discharges, cold, or poisoning by cantharis, etc.  May also be useful in many other conditions when prostration, coldness and collapse are the chief indications.  Camphor is an antidote to drastic vegetable poisons.  Also tobacco, mushrooms, etc.  Bad effects of poisonous insects.

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