February 11, 2016


font size

How does Camphor work?

Camphor seems to stimulate nerve endings that relieve symptoms such as pain and itching when applied to the skin. Camphor is also active against fungi that cause infections in the toenails.

Are there safety concerns?

Camphor is safe for most adults when applied to the skin in a cream or lotion. Camphor can cause some minor side effects such as skin redness and irritation. Don't use undiluted camphor products or products containing more than 11% camphor. These can be irritating and unsafe. Also, don't apply camphor containing products to broken or injured skin.

Camphor is also safe for most adults when inhaled as vapor in small amounts as a part of aromatherapy. Don't use more than 1 tablespoon camphor solution per quart of water. Do not heat camphor-containing products (Vick's VapoRub, BenGay, Heet, many others) in the microwave. The product can explode and cause severe burns.

Don't take camphor products by mouth. Ingesting camphor can cause severe side effects, including death.

Do not use camphor on children. They tend to be more sensitive to the side effects. Keep camphor-containing products away from children. Seizures and death can occur if these products are eaten.

Do not use camphor if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations