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What is Camphor (Kapur)? Uses and Benefits

What is Camphor (Kapur)? Uses and Benefits

June 06, 2024 by Rahul Shah

Ever wondered what that white waxy stuff your grandma keeps in her cupboard is? It's probably camphor, also known as kapur! This natural extract comes from the laurel tree and has been used for ages in different cultures for its medicinal and pleasant-smelling properties. But what exactly is camphor, and why do people use it? In this blog post, we'll dive into the world of camphor, exploring its origins, traditional uses, and potential health benefits.

What is Camphor, and What are its Different Names

Camphor (cinnamomum camphora) is an organic compound often found in creams, ointments, and lotions. Extracted from camphor tree wood via steam distillation, camphor oil can be applied to the skin to alleviate pain, irritation, and itching. It also helps with chest congestion and inflammation.

Camphor has a strong odour and taste and is easily absorbed through the skin. Nowadays, camphor is made from turpentine but remains safe for use if applied correctly.

Camphor Benefits & Uses

  1. Spiritual and Cultural Benefits

    In Hinduism, camphor holds a special place in spiritual practices. When burned, it releases fumes that some believe have healing properties and can aid spiritual awakening. The scent, similar to menthol, has a calming effect, which can help people relax and feel better. Camphor is also commonly used during prayer. Lighting it and breathing in the aroma often signifies the end of a religious gathering, adding to the overall spiritual experience. Additionally, some believe camphor helps clear negative energy and address imbalances in a space's energy. In Ayurvedic medicine, a specific type of camphor (Bhimseni) is used to balance aspects of a person's health. Overall, burning camphor is associated with bringing good luck and fortune.

  2. Health Benefits

    Camphor offers numerous health benefits beyond its unique aroma. Let’s take a look at them below:

    • Aromatherapeutic Benefits

      In aromatherapy, camphor is well-known for it’s calming and soothing effects, helping to promote relaxation and relieve stress. Inhaling camphor can also enhance mental clarity and focus.

    • Respiratory Health

      For respiratory health, camphor acts as a powerful decongestant, providing relief from coughs and congestion. Inhalation therapies with camphor can alleviate symptoms of colds, flu, and sinusitis.

    • Pain Relief and Anti-inflammatory Effects

      Topically, camphor oil is effective in soothing sore muscles and reducing inflammation, making it a common ingredient in liniments, balms, and massage oils. It is particularly helpful for pain associated with arthritis and general aches.

    • Skincare

      Camphor also benefits the skin. Its antimicrobial properties help fight acne and eczema, while its cooling effect eases sunburns, itching, and irritation. This makes camphor a valuable ingredient in skincare products, offering cleansing and refreshing effects.

  3. Mosquitos and Insect Repellent

    For centuries, camphor (kapur) has been a reliable natural solution for keeping insects, mosquitoes, and other pests away. Unlike harsh chemical insecticides and repellents, camphor offers a safe and effective alternative.

  4. Household Uses

    Camphor is a versatile product with many household uses, such as:

    • Air Freshener and Purifier: Its fresh scent helps eliminate bad odors and purify the air, making your home smell clean and inviting.
    • Natural Disinfectant: When diluted, camphor provides a natural way to disinfect surfaces and add a refreshing touch to your home.
    • Moth and Mildew Repellent: Camphor protects your clothes and linens by repelling moths and preventing mildew, keeping your fabrics fresh and safe.

What is the difference between Bhimseni Kapoor and Regular Kapoor?

Bhimseni Kapoor - the name itself sounds exotic. But what makes it different from the Kapoor you're used to? Let’s compare the differences.

Feature

Regular Kapur (Synthetic Camphor)

Bhimseni Kapur (Natural Camphor)

Origin

Synthetically derived from turpentine oil or pine resin.

Naturally extracted from the bark of the Bhimseni tree (Cinnamomum camphora).

Aroma

Strong, pungent, and often considered less pleasant.

Milder, more refined, and generally perceived as having a more pleasant aroma.

Purity

Contain chemicals or synthetic additives.

100% natural and pure. 

Uses

Commonly used for household purposes, such as repelling insects, and in religious rituals.

Primarily used for medicinal purposes in Ayurveda, aromatherapy, and for purifying the atmosphere.

Health or Therapeutic Benefits

Limited therapeutic benefits due to its synthetic nature.

Promotes pain relief, reduces inflammation, eases congestion, soothes skin, and helps with better sleep. 

Cost

Generally, it is more affordable due to its synthetic production.

Typically more expensive due to its natural origin and limited availability.

Edible

Non-edible

Edible as it is pure

Explore Our Range of Camphor Products

HEM Aradhana Bhimseni Camphor - 100g

HEM Aradhana Camphor - 50g

Kapoor Dani

HEM Camphor Incense Sticks - Pack of 6 (20 Sticks Each)

HEM Camphor Pouch

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is camphor traditionally used for?

In Hinduism, camphor (kapur) is a key element in pujas (prayers) and aarti (offering of light). Its burning flame symbolizes surrender to the divine and the ephemeral nature of life.

2. Does camphor bring good luck?

While not explicitly "luck," camphor is believed to ward off negativity and create a positive atmosphere conducive to blessings.

3. What are the benefits of burning camphor in the room?

Beyond the spiritual significance, burning camphor is said to cleanse the air and promote a sense of calm.

4. Which Kapoor is best for pooja?

Pure Bhimseni Kapoor crystals, like those offered by HEM Fragrances, are ideal for pooja due to their clean burning and powerful fragrance.

5. What are the benefits of burning clove and camphor?

Burning clove and camphor may bring financial benefits, purify the air, promote relaxation, and create a positive atmosphere.

6. When to burn camphor at home?

In Hinduism, camphor holds a special place. You can light camphor during puja rituals, for prayer offerings, or during auspicious occasions like Diwali. Some people also light camphor during meditation or for a fresh start to the day.

7.Where should camphor be placed in a house?

It's not essential to keep camphor in a specific place, but it's ideal to store it in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. You can keep it on your puja altar or in a designated box with other puja items.

8. Does burning camphor remove negativity?

Yes, according to Hindu beliefs, burning camphor is said to cleanse the atmosphere and remove negativity. The flame symbolizes the burning away of impurities, and the fragrant smoke fills the space with positivity.

9. How to burn camphor as a room freshener?

While camphor does have a distinct aroma, it's not recommended for regular room freshening. The burning process can irritate some people's respiratory systems. If you'd like to use camphor for fragrance, it's best to use natural camphor incense sticks or diffusers specifically designed for camphor.

10. Why do we burn camphor during puja?

Burning camphor during puja signifies several things. The flame represents offering light to the divine, and the complete burning without ash symbolizes surrendering our ego and desires. The fragrance is believed to be pleasing to the deities and helps create a sacred atmosphere.