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Family Lauraceae
Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) J. Presl.

Xiang zhang shu

Scientific names Common names
Camphora camphora (L.) H.Karst. Camphor (Engl.)
Camphora hahnemannii Lukman. Camphor laurel (Engl.)
Camphora hippocratei Lukman. Camphor tree (Engl.)
Camphora officinarum Nees Camphorwood (Engl.)
Camphora vera Raf. Gum camphor (Engl.)
Camphorina hippocratei (L.) Farw. Laurel camphor (Engl.)
Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) J. Presl.  
Cinnamomum camphoriferum St.-Lag.  
Cinnamomum camphoroides Hayata  
Cinnamomum nominale (Hats. & Hayata) Hayata  
Cinnamomum officinarum Nees ex Steud.  
Laurus camphora L.  
Persea camphora (L.) Spreng.  
Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J.Presl is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BRAZIL: Hon sho, Ho sho.
CHINESE: Xiang zhang, Zhang shu.
CREOLE: Kafm, Bom zangle.
DUTCH: Kamferboom.
FRENCH: Camphrier, Camphre, Baume anglais, Abre a camphre.
GERMAN: Kamferßaum.
HINDI: Karpuram, Karpur.
ITALIAN: Canfora, Confora.
JAPANESE: Kkusu-no-ki, Kuso-no ki, Hon sho.
NEPALI: Kapur.
PORTUGUESE: Alcanforeira.
SPANISH: Arbor del alcanform Alcanforero, Alcanfor del Japon.
SWAHILI: Mkafuri maita.
SWEDISH: Kamfertraed.
TAMIL: Karpurammu.

Camphor is a large evergreen tree growing to a height of 20 to 30 meters. Bark is pale, very rough, and fissured vertically. Leaves are green and glossy, with a waxy appearance, emitting the smell of camphor when crushed. In season, it produces a bright green foliage with masses of small white flowers. Fruits are berry-like, about 1 centimeter in diameter.

- Grows in subtropical countries, especially in East Asia.
- Native to Taiwan, southern Japan, southeast China and Indo-China.

- Yields a colorless crystalline translucent mass.
- Camphor is obtained by passing steam through the chipped wood. The distillate contains camphor, which is separated and re-sublimed, yielding the essential oil of camphor.

- Roots, trunk, leaves, branches and fruits yield volatile oils.
- Hon-Sho leaf oil from C. camphora (Brazil) yielded 31 components, 94% of its composition made of monoterpenes and 2% by sesquiterpenes. Oxygenated terpenes represented 81% of the total, camphor being the main component (68%) and linalool (9%). (11)
- GC and GC-MS analysis of essential oil of leaves yielded main components of D-camphor (40.54%), linalool (22.92%), cineole (11.26%), and 3,711-trimethyl-3-hydrox-6,10-dodecadien-1-yl acetate (4.50%). (see study below) (13)
- Study of C. camphora isolated ten compounds identified as 4-hydroxysesamin (1), 3,3 ́-dihydroxy-4,4 ́-dimethoxytetrahydrofuran lignanoid (2), 3, 4- methylenedioxyphenyl-3 ́,9-dihydroxy-4 ́-methoxy- tetrahydrofuran lignanoid (3), lyoniresinol (4) , (+)-3 -(3, 4 – methylenedioxyphenyl)- 1,2- propanediol (5), isolariciresinol (6), taiwanin C (7), chinensinaphthol l(8), borneol (9) and daucosterol(10). (see study below) (15)

- Considered aphrodisiac, contraceptive, aborttifacient, antiseptic, lactation suppressing.
- Also considered uterotrophic, antitussive, anticonvulsant, anti-implantation.

Parts used
Gum, chopped wood.


- Centuries of use as a culinary spice.
- In ancient and medieval Middle East and Europe, used as an ingredient for sweets.
- In China, used as confections flavoring during the Tang dynasty.
- In India, still used in cooking, especially dessert dishes.
- Used for colds, chills, diarrhea associated with colds, inflammatory affections, fevers, and hysterical complaints.
- Beneficial for gout, rheumatic pains, neuralgia, and irritations of the sexual organs.
- Externally, applied to inflammed affections, bruises, sprains, etc.
- In Iranian folk medicine, used as both aphrodisiac and anti-aphrodisiac: In small doses, aphrodisiac in exciting the reproductive organs, causing urethral heat and nocturnal emissions; in large doses, antiaphrodisiac in diminishing urino-genital irritation, and possibly decreasing libido and sexual performance.
- Timber: In Japan, Taiwan, China and Indo-China, cultivated for camphor and its timber.
- Used as an important ingredient in the production of smokeless gunpowder, disinfectants, and celluloid. It has a wide range of medicinal uses. Safrole, produced from the residual oil after camphor extraction, is used in soap and perfume manufacture. (A large proportion of the world's camphor is now produced synthetically from pinene, a turpentine derivative, or from coal tar.) (16)
- Rituals: Burned in Hindu poojas and ceremonies.

Anti-Inflammatory / Chemotype Diffrerences:
Study of C. camphora showed an anti-inflammatory effect on the rat arthritis induced by Freund's adjuvant. The different chemotypes showed different pharmacologic activity and mechanisms of action. Results suggest that the difference be considered in clinical applications. (4)
Essential Oils / Antimicrobial: Study investigated the inhibitory effects of CC on various inflammatory phenomenon. Results showed the anti-inflammatory actions of CC may be due to its modulation of cytokine, NO, and PGE2 production and oxidative stress.
Sperm Motility Effects: Study
indicate camphor has an effect on motility and viability of the human sperm and suggests a potential for the use of camphor as a local contraceptive. (6)
Antimicrobial: Study of methanolic extracts of four plants, including C. camphora, showed potent antibacterial activity against six bacteria (E coli, Citrobacter, Shigella flexneri, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa and Yersinia aldovae) and significant to moderate antifungal activity against six fungal strains. (7)
Effects on Sexual Behaviors: Study on the effects of camphor on sexual behavior in male rats showed sexual desire and sexual performance enhancing properties. (8)
Review on a Traditional Medicine: Review focuses on the use of camphor as a remedy for daily minor problems, together with its new applications in the use for treatment of life threatening diseases such as cancer and diabetes. (10)
Anti-Depressant / Oil: Study evaluated the antidepressant activity of CC oil using 3 doses (250, 500, and 750 mg/kg) in 2 in vivo models. Animals treated with 3 doses of CCO showed decrease in their immobility times in Forced Swim Test (FST) and Tail Suspension Test (TST). (12)
Insecticidal / EO of Leaves:The essential oil of leaves of C. camphora and its active compounds showed potential to be developed as natural fumigants and insecticides for control of L. serricorne. Contact toxicity for L. serricorne adults showed an LC50/LD50 of 2.5 mg/L air and 21.25 µg/adult, respectively. (see constituents above) (13)
Linalool / Anti-Molluscicidal and Larvicidal / O. hupensis and Schistosoma japonicum: Study evaluated the molluscicidal and larvicidal effects of linalool against O. hupensis and Schistosoma japonicum. Study identified 44 components from the leaf extracts of C. camphora. Linalool, the most abundant component, exhibited striking molluscicidal and larvicidal effects with LC50 of 0.25 mg/L for O. hupensis and LC50 of 0.07 mg/L for cercaria of S. japonicum. Linalool caused damage to gills and hepatopancreas of the snails, and disruption of cercarial integument. (14)
Lignaloid / Inhibition on ß-Glucuronidase Release: Study yielded 10 compounds. Compound 1, 3,3 ́-dihydroxy-4,4 ́-dimethoxytetrahydrofuran lignanoid, showed inhibitory activity on the release of ß-glucuronidase from rat PMNs induced by PAF. (see constituents above) (15)
Effect on Male Reproductive Traits: Study evaluated the effect of camphor on sexual behavior in male rams. Results showed caphor reduced semen volume, mass activity, testes length and live sperm percentage. (17)


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update February 2016
August 2011

IMAGE SOURCE: Tree / Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl - camphortree / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Seeds / Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl - camphortree / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Tree trunk / C. camphora (L.) J. Presl - camphortree / W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Lauraceae - Cinnamomum camphora. / Pharmacopoeia of the United States of America by Hermann Adolph Koehler. / Gera-Utermhaus, Fr.Eugen Köhler, 1887, 1. edition, volume 1, plate 76. Chromolithographed plate (sheet 220 x 298 mm). / Meemelink

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J.Presl is an accepted name / The Plant List
Cinnamomum camphora / Wikipedia
Study on antiinflammatory effect of different chemotype of Cinnamomum camphora on rat arthritis model induced by Freund's adjuvant / Li H, Huang L, Zhou A, Li X, Sun J / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Dec;34(24):3251-4.
In vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects of Cinnamomum camphora extracts / Hye Ja Lee, Eun-A Hyun, Weon Jong Yoon et al /
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 103, No 2, 16 January 2006, Pages 208-216 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.08.009
Effect of Cinnamomum camphora on human sperm motility and sperm viability
/ Jadhav M V, Sharma RC, Rathore Mansee, Gangawane AK / Journal of Clinical Research Letters, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2010, PP-01-10
/ Mehjabeen Mansoor Ahmad, Noor Jahan, M Zia-Ul-Haq et al / Pak. J. Bot., 43(3): 1773-1775, 2011.
Effects of Camphor on Sexual Behaviors in Male Rats / Akram Jamshidzadeh, Javad Sajedianfard et al / Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Autumn 2006: 2(4): 209-214
Cinnamomum camphora / Synonyms / The Plant List
Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), a traditional remedy with the history of treating several diseases / Rafie Hamidpour, Soheila Hamidpour, Mohsen Hamidpour, Mina Shahlari / IJCRI – International Journal of Case Reports and Images, Vol. 4 No. 2, February 2013
Essential Oils of Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora Nees & Eberm) Cultivated in Southern Brazil /
Caren D. Frizzo , Ana C. Santos , Natalia Paroul , Luciana A. Serafini , Eduardo Dellacassa , Daniel Lorenzo and Patrick Moyna
An Investigation of Anti-Depressant Activity of Cinnamomum Camphora Oil in Experimental Mice / Jay Rabadia*, Satish.S, J.Ramanjaneyulu, Narayanaswamy VB / Asian Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences; 3(20) 2013, 44-48.
Chemical Constituents and Insecticidal Activities of the Essential Oil of Cinnamomum camphora Leaves against Lasioderma serricorne / Hai Ping Chen, Kai Yang, Chun Xue You, Ning Lei, Rui Qi Sun, Zhu Feng Geng, Ping Ma, Qian Cai, Shu Shan Du, and Zhi Wei Deng / Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2014 (2014) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/963729
Linalool, derived from Cinnamomum camphora (L.) Presl leaf extracts, possesses molluscicidal activity against Oncomelania hupensis and inhibits infection of Schistosoma japonicum / Fan Yang, Erping Long, Juhua Wen, Lei Cao, Chengcheng Zhu, Huanxin Hu, Ying Ruan, Kamolnetr Okanurak, Huiling Hu, Xiaoxia Wei, Xiangyun Yang, Chaofan Wang, Limei Zhang, Xiaoying Wang, Pengyu Ji, Huanqin Zheng, Zhongdao Wu and Zhiyue Lv / Parasites & Vectors, 20147:407 / DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-7-407
Studies on the Chemical Constituents of Cinnamomum camphora / Lei Jin, Yongdong Luo, Li Zhang, Shanshan Zhang, Yongming Luo / 3rd International Conference on Material, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (IC3ME 2015)
Cinnamomum camphora: kapur, camphora tree / Synonyms / WorldAgroforestry
Effect of adding Cinnamomum camphora on the testosterone hormone and reproductive traits of the Awassi rams / Tamara N. Dawood / Kufa Journal for Veterinary Medical Sciences Vol. 5, No. 2, 2014

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