Camphor, also known as 1,7,7-trimethyl-bicyclo(2,2,1)heptan-2-one, d-camphor, d-(+)-camphor, (+)-2-bornanone, d-2-bornanone, 1,7,7-Trimethylnorcamphor, 2-Camphanone, 2-camphonone, Bornan-2-one, or Caladryl has the chemical formula C10H16O.
Camphor is a white transparent waxy crystalline solid with a strong penetrating pungent aromatic odor. It is found in wood of the camphor laurel, Cinnamomum camphora, which is a large evergreen tree found in Asia (particularly in Borneo, hence its alternate name); it can also be synthetically produced from oil of turpentine.
Modern uses include as a plasticizer for cellulose nitrate, as a moth repellent, in embalming, and in fireworks. A form of anti-itch gel currently on the market uses camphor as its active ingredient . Historically it has been used in medicine. In 1980, the United States Food and Drug Administration set a limit of 11% allowable camphor in consumer products and totally banned products labeled as camphorated oil, camphor oil, camphor liniment, and camphorated liniment. Camphor is readily absorbed through the skin and produces a feeling of cooling similar to that of menthol and acts as slight local anesthetic; however, it is poisonous when ingested and can cause seizures, mental confusion, irritability, and neuromuscular hyperactivity. Since alternative treatments exist, medicinal use of camphor is discouraged, except for skin-related uses, such as medicated powders, which contain only small amounts of camphor.
Other substances deriving from trees are sometimes wrongly sold as camphor.
Last updated: 08-19-2005 10:44:39