Camphor, a natural active ingredient in a medicinal plant well-known in Asia, has a variety of beneficial health effects and exhibits high antifungal potential. Camphor also has an antioxidant effect and even appears to inhibit cancer.
The camphor tree, which is native to Asia, grows up to 50 meters tall, is green all year round and camphor can be extracted from all parts of the tree, which has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries and is now a component of numerous well-known medicines.
Camphor ointment used to treat colds
Thus, camphor is an important component of ointments to treat colds and inflammation of the bronchi. The ointments are applied to the chest and back, which is supposed to make breathing easier and improve the coughing up of mucus.
Relieves pain and has an antimicrobial effect
But camphor can do much more than just help treat colds. A recent study reports that topical application of camphor has the potential to relieve pain, inhibit symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, and reduce itching. According to the researchers, camphor also has an antimicrobial effect.
This antimicrobial effect of camphor is confirmed in a further study in which the antifungal potential was analyzed against three common molds: Alternaria alternata, Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum.
The methanolic extract of camphor therefore shows significant antifungal activity, which the researchers believe is due to the presence of several bioactive metabolites. The extract can be considered an effective fungicide due to its in vitro potency in inhibiting mycelial growth weight.
Significant antioxidant effect
The experts also found that the camphor extract studied had significant overall antioxidant activity. It also has numerous phenolic and flavonoid compounds and contains high levels of osmoprotectants, total amino acids and glycine betaine, the team adds.
In a third research project, the effect of various natural substances – including camphor – against cancer cells was examined in vitro.
According to the researchers, the natural products and their derivatives may represent promising synergistic compounds with potential anti-cancer effects. And compared to normal drugs for cancer treatment, the natural substances are less toxic.
The researchers add that camphor and menthol derivatives are potentially cytotoxic in vitro, which could allow the treatment of different cancer cell lines.
Overall, the results indicate that camphor is a natural compound that not only may be beneficial in treating the common cold, but also has potent overall antioxidant activity, is a safe antifungal agent, and may even enable the treatment of some forms of cancer. (as)