11 Symptoms of Camphor Poisoning

Camphor is of premuim importance to us but, have you wondered what happens if one is poisoned by camphor?

Even when consumed in small amounts by youngsters, the symptoms of camphor poisoning can result in severe toxicity. Seizures resulting from neurotoxicity can happen quickly after consumption.

Numerous topical or vaporized cold remedies, moth repellents, topical musculoskeletal anesthetic medicines, and antibacterial therapies all contain camphor. We describe a young child who experienced seizures after consuming camphor used in religious rituals. All thses affect our environmental health.

What is Camphor?

The bark and wood of the camphor tree were once used to make the chemical known as camphor. Today, turpentine oil is typically used to make camphor.

The fragrance of camphor is quite distinctive. It seems to help with symptoms like pain and itching by stimulating the nerves. Camphor seems to provide a cool sensation in the nose, making breathing more comfortable. Vicks VapoRub is one product that uses it.

Likely Successful for

  • Cough. Coughing appears to be lessened when camphor is used topically as a chest rub. In concentrations lower than 11%, it has FDA approval for this usage.
  • Sharp pain. Pain seems to be diminished when camphor is applied topically. FDA-approved concentrations range from 3% to 11% for this purpose.
  • Itching. Itching on the skin appears to be lessened by applying camphor. FDA-approved concentrations range from 3% to 11% for this purpose.

Although there is interest in using camphor for a variety of additional uses, there is not enough trustworthy data to determine whether it will be beneficial. Insect bites, acne, and numerous other conditions are also treated with it; however, the majority of these applications lack strong scientific backing.

Why Camphor is not good for your Living Room

Despite being a ubiquitous household item, camphor is not a suitable choice for your living room. Even in small doses given to kids, it can result in severe poisoning. Seizures resulting from neurotoxicity can happen quickly after consumption.

The following discussion of camphor’s additional effects follows.

Symptoms of Camphor Poisoning

The following are the reactions from camphor posisoning

1. Lip Dryness

Camphor could make your lips too dry. Although it is typically used to treat different skin inflammations, it can also cause acute lip dryness. Peeling and flaking of the lip skin begin. Treatment for dry lips brought on by an allergic reaction to camphor requires medical supervision.

2. Rashes

When used excessively, camphor causes skin irritation and rashes. All over the skin, red rashes start to appear. Those rashes may cause discomfort and itchiness. The itching and suffering brought on by these rashes can be extremely difficult to manage at home.

3. Eczema

Another skin disease that may be brought on by camphor side effects is eczema. Eczema is distinguished by abnormally dry skin, swelling around the eyes and other soft facial tissues, pain, itchiness, and peeling.

It is impossible to treat this serious skin problem at home. For quick and long-lasting relief, it needs medical intervention right away. The only thing you need to be aware of is that camphor cannot be consumed.

It is only intended for use outside the body. Thus, applying camphor to skin that has been broken or peeled off is extremely harmful. If consumed directly or indirectly, it is exceedingly toxic.

4. Gastrointestinal Disease

Initial GI symptoms following ingestion include vomiting and burning in the mouth and throat. Neurologic symptoms such as seizures, hyperreflexia, myoclonic jerks, and coma are signs of severe poisoning.

The start of symptoms often happens within 5 to 90 minutes of exposure. The main forms of treatment are symptomatic and supportive because there is no known antidote.

According to a 2009 case series, camphor use in communities with high rates of undifferentiated seizures in children should be taken into account. 

Anbesol Cold Sore Therapy Ointment, Tiger Balm, BenGay Ultra Strength, Vick’s VapoRub, Vick’s Vaposteam, and numerous more over-the-counter topical lotions all include camphor.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricts the amount of camphor in items that can be sold in the country to no more than 11%. However, imported goods may have significantly higher camphor concentrations.

A toddler who consumes 500 milligrams could have significant poisoning. This would equal around 4.6 mL in an 11% solution.

5. Seizures

Due to its high lipophilicity, camphor moves quickly across cell membranes and is widely distributed. The fact that its metabolites are removed slowly and are retained in fat deposits may be to blame for the delayed onset of seizures brought on by camphor poisoning.

Seizures and mortality are linked to doses between 750 and 1500 mg, and doses as low as 500 mg in some case reports. Because of this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided in 1982 that goods could only have an 11% maximum camphor content.

A teaspoonful of certain commercially available preparations, however, contains 500 mg.

A case series of pediatric seizures linked to camphor toxicity also emphasizes the continued use of camphor in several ethnic and cultural rituals. Products with high concentrations of camphor that are illegally sold present a risk to these groups.

6. Respiratory Problems

Camphor may also disturb breathing. For kids and babies with respiratory problems, this is a serious medical issue. Children who have asthma or bronchitis should never be exposed to camphor. For these kids, camphor poses a serious risk since it can lead to abrupt respiratory arrest and chest congestion.

7. Pregnant and Lactating Mothers

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid using camphor. It is absorbed by the placenta and can harm the developing fetus physically and neurologically. It can easily pass through skin crevices and get into breastfeeding moms’ milk. As was already mentioned, it causes camphor hepatotoxicity in kids and babies.

8. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s patients may be at risk from camphor, according to some research. It raises the amount of toxicity and may interfere with Parkinson’s disease medications.

In such circumstances, it may prove to be quite poisonous. Despite the lack of sufficient research to support this assertion, it is important to exercise caution because camphor poisoning can result in seizures and other neurological problems.

9. Scalp Problems

The use of camphor oil for topical applications is regarded as a wonderful therapeutic method. But it also poses a common threat. It is quite dangerous to apply camphor to skin that is peeling, damaged, or itchy on the scalp.

It can easily enter the body through scalp fissures. One of the most significant adverse effects of camphor oil is increased skin and scalp itching, which can result in camphor poisoning.

10. Chest Problems

Chest burning or pain may be brought on by camphor. It makes the breast area and surrounding areas feel full and tight. Furthermore, it could result in a bulge in the area that is afflicted.

Camphor has historically been thought of as a herb with therapeutic properties.

They haven’t been told about camphor’s negative side effects, though. There are several advantages and disadvantages to it. Small dosages of camphor can be utilized, but greater doses can be lethal.

Do you still think camphor is a herb that is safe to use on humans? Have some more queries regarding the negative effects of camphor? Comment and let us know what you have to say!

It’s crucial to be aware of any camphor adverse effects. It could be hazardous to sensitive people and cause eczema, rashes, and dry lips. Additionally, it makes respiratory issues worse and may be harmful to a woman’s health while she is pregnant or nursing.

Camphor should not be used by those who have Parkinson’s disease since it may interact with the drugs used to treat the condition. Camphor should be used with caution.

11. Liver Disease

Liver damage has been linked to using camphor orally or topically. The use of camphor might exacerbate liver illness.


Through this article, we have seen some of the symptoms of camphor poisoning. This has shown us that it is best to keep it away from children, as we are not ready to deal with the effects of camphor poisoning, which can be costly.


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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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