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Camphor is a substance that is processed from the wood and roots of the large evergreen camphor tree. It is the same strong-smelling herb which is used as an insect repellent in clothes cupboards and trunks. Camphor has a checkered history, but its many uses are now discontinued due to the possibility of toxicity. Once a popular "pick-me-up," the blend of camphor in alcohol was found to cause liver damage.
Though camphor oil does have certain toxic effects, it can be used externally without any damage. Camphor oil can be used in vapor therapy to help with respiratory disorders, dispel depression and also calm mental disorders. It appears to have a soothing influence on psychosomatic problems and also has some benefits if handled with care, for the skin. Camphor is also used for inflammations, arthritis and other muscular aches and pains, rheumatism and sprains. Furthermore, the oil is used in massage formulations, lip salve and inhalants. The camphor oil is an agent which eases bruises, inflammations, and joint pains.