What if you found a natural substance that takes care of all your hair needs? Camphor is one such plant extracted compound which guarantees healthy scalp and strong, lustrous tresses.
According to Ayurveda, camphor or ‘Karpura' is a special herb that balances kapha and pitta doshas, which are often responsible for dandruff, oily scalp, follicle damage and hair loss. Topical application of oils and hair lepas that contain camphor have proven to increase hair growth when used frequently.
Read on to know the different hair benefits of camphor and the best ways to include it in your daily hair care routine.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Camphor is Lekhaniya (scraping) and Daurgandhya hara (bad odour reducing). These qualities make it an excellent scalp detoxifier."
Dr. Zeel, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix.
- What Is Camphor?
- Is Camphor Good For Hair Growth?
- What Are The Benefits Of Camphor For Hair?
- How To Use Camphor For Hair?
- Which Camphor Is Good For Hair?
- Differences Between Brown, Yellow, & White Camphor Oil
- Are There Any Side Effects Of Camphor?
- Special Precautions & Warnings About Camphor
- Frequently Asked Questions About Camphor?
What Is Camphor?
Camphor is an organic chemical widely used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetic products. It is known for its benefits as a topical pain reliever and decongestant, flavouring ingredient and an antimicrobial agent.
Camphor is naturally derived from the camphor laurel tree (cinnamomum camphora) through the process of condensation from vapours emitted while burning parts of the plant. It has a wax-like texture, and is transparent in colour with a strong aroma making it an oft used ingredient in Arabian perfumes.
Is Camphor Good For Hair Growth?
Traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic remedies have been using camphor since ancient times for its various skin, hair and health benefits. According to recent research, applying camphor on scalp can soothe scalp irritations, prevent dryness and keep various infections and hair problems at bay. It is also known to improve blood circulation  ensuring healthy hair growth with frequent usage.
What Are The Benefits Of Camphor For Hair?
1. Prevents Itchiness & Scalp Irritations
Camphor is a natural pain reliever, which reduces itchiness and skin irritation experienced due to scalp infections. Camphor is often used with menthol to reduce excess scalp heat and balance the pitta dosha.
2. Prevents Dandruff & Fungal Infections
Camphor is a potent anti-dandruff remedy whose antifungal nature prevents Malassezia yeast proliferation on the scalp. It reduces inflammation and keeps your scalp moisturized and healthy. Camphor may also be useful in treating scalp ringworm.
Bacterial infections of the scalp such as Scalp Folliculitis, may be prevented with camphor. Bacterial folliculitis occurs where naturally occurring Staphylococcus Aureus bacterium enters the scalp through a hair follicle or an open wound. This causes acne-like small, inflamed, itchy bumps especially in the frontal hairline.
Using camphor  along with other antibacterial herbs like neem, calendula, tulsi can inhibit bacterial growth and heal the condition.
4. Promotes Hair Growth
According to research, application of camphor improves blood circulation on the scalp. This boosts hair growth and ensures better nutrition supply to the hair roots.
5. Improves Hair Texture
Camphor has good moisturizing properties. When applied to hair, it can help control dryness, split ends and breakage.
6. Kills Head Lice
The strong aroma and hot and cool sensations of camphor makes it an excellent pest repellent. Camphor oil or camphor powder with coconut oil is a natural remedy for head lice.
7. Prevents Hair Loss
Camphor's multifarious hair benefitting properties as an antibacterial, antifungal, skin soothing agent along with its blood circulation boosting abilities, help arrest hair loss and prevent balding.
"Camphor is Lekhaniya (scraping) and Daurgandhya hara (bad odour reducing). These qualities make it an excellent scalp detoxifier. The scraping action decongests the scalp and increases blood flow. Healthy nutrients carried forth with blood, promote hair growth", says Dr. Zeel.
How To Use Camphor For Hair?
1. Camphor Tablets
Camphor is available in the form of transparent, crystalline tablets that can be directly added to your regular hair oil or used in a hair pack.
2. Camphor Oil
You can also enjoy the benefits of camphor by adding camphor essential oil to your hair products. Make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil and do a patch test before using it for the first time.
Naturally extracted camphor has a slight off white colour. However, camphor that is synthetically produced from turpentine oil has a rough texture and is completely white in colour.
3. Ayurvedic Hair Remedies With Camphor
A. For Hair Growth
1. Camphor, Bhringraj, Amalaki, Coconut Oil
While camphor increases blood circulation and better oxygen supply to your hair, bhringraj and amalaki nourish and strengthen your hair roots.
How To Use
- Heat coconut oil and add bhringraj and amalaki to it.
- Let the oil simmer till the contents sink to the bottom of the vessel.
- Add 1-2 camphor tablets or powder to the oil and turn off the heat.
- Cover the vessel and let the mixture cool.
- Strain the oil and apply it on your scalp and hair at least 3 to 4 times a week for thick, lustrous hair.
B. To Prevent Hair Fall
1. Camphor, Gunja, Vata
Both Gunja and Vata improve follicle health, promote new hair growth and along with camphor help reduce hair loss.
How To Use
- Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and add 1-2 camphor tablets to it.
- Once the tablet melts, add this to a mix of vata and gunja powders.
- Prepare a paste and apply this lepa (hair pack) on your scalp and wash off after 30 minutes.
- Repeat as frequently as required.
C. For Scalp Acne
1. Camphor, Haritaki, Cedar
All three ingredients have powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help treat scalp acne.
How to Use
- Add 1 to 2 camphor tablets to preheated coconut oil.
- Prepare a hair lepa by mixing camphor infused coconut oil, haritaki and cedar powders.
- Apply this on the affected areas on your scalp and wash off after half an hour.
- Use regularly till the condition improves.
D. For Dandruff
1. Camphor, Gandhak, Reetha
All three ingredients are packed with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight dandruff and dryness. Further, natural saponins in reetha cleanse your scalp and add moisture to it.
How To Use
- Soak reetha overnight and boil it the next day till it begins to froth.
- Add gandhak and camphor to this mixture and let it cool.
- Strain and use this natural anti-dandruff shampoo to treat your dandruff condition.
E. For Head Lice
1. Camphor, Neem & Coconut Oil
Both camphor and neem are excellent remedies for head lice due to their strong aromas. Caprylic, lauric, oleic and other acids present in coconut oil further help to kill head lice.
How To Use
- Heat coconut oil and add 15 to 20 neem leaves to it. Let it simmer.
- Add 2 camphor tablets to it and let the oil reach room temperature.
- Strain and apply on your scalp and through the length of your hair. Now wear a shower cap or a towel wrap to prevent the lice from spreading.
- Leave it on for an hour before combing and washing your hair.
- You can also add neem oil to camphor infused coconut oil instead of neem leaves.
F. For Itchy Scalp
1. Camphor & Olive Oil
Camphor works instantly to reduce itchiness and scalp irritation while olive oil removes dry flakes and keeps your scalp moisturised.
How To Use
- Add 1 or 2 camphor tablets to warm olive oil and massage your scalp with it.
- Leave it on for half an hour before washing off.
G. To Improve Hair Texture
1. Camphor, Hibiscus, Sesame/ Jojoba Oil
All the above ingredients contain natural moisturizing compounds that form a protective layer over your hair shaft and prevent dryness and splitage.
How to Use
- Heat sesame/ jojoba oil and add 6-8 hibiscus flowers to it.
- Cover and keep till the oil changes colour.
- Add camphor oil or powder to it and apply through the length of your hair.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour and wash off.
Vedix Tip: Make a hair serum using camphor oil, lavender oil and olive oil and apply from root to tips to keep your hair nourished and smelling great all day long.
Which Camphor Is Good For Hair?
There are 4 types of camphor oils - brown, yellow, blue and white. Amongst these, white camphor oil is used for medicinal, food, skin and hair care purposes. Both brown and yellow camphor oils are toxic to humans as they contain the carcinogenic agent safrole. These types are not easily available in the market. Blue camphor oil is also toxic and is hardly sold. So keep an eye out while purchasing pure camphor oil for your hair to make sure that it is white.
Differences Between Brown, Yellow, & White Camphor Oil
Brown Camphor Oil
Yellow Camphor Oil
White Camphor Oil
Contains 80% safrole which is a carcinogen.
Contains 10% to 20% safrole.
Does not contain safrole.
Used as a pest/ insect repellent.
Used as an insecticide  / pesticide.
Used for medicinal and skincare purposes.
Unsafe for oral consumption. May be used for therapeutic purposes.
Unsafe for oral consumption. May be used for therapeutic purposes.
Safe for oral consumption. Often used to flavour sweets and savouries.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Camphor?
1. When inhaled or consumed in large amounts, camphor can cause nausea, restlessness, seizures and vomiting.
2. Camphor may cause allergic reactions on skin and scalp, especially on sensitive skin.
3. Camphor may react with topical medications prescribed to treat scalp conditions.
4. Might increase blood pressure, hence not suitable for people who have high blood pressure.
Special Precautions & Warnings About Camphor
1. Camphor that is artificially produced from turpentine oil is unsafe for consumption and may cause skin irritation. Hence purchase from trusted Ayurvedic stores or brands to ensure its purity.
2. Do a patch test before applying camphor oil or camphor on your skin. Wait for 48 hours to check for allergic reactions.
3. Consult your doctor before using products that contain 11% or more camphor. Too much camphor might cause skin irritation.
4. Brown and yellow camphor oils contain high amounts of a toxic substance known as safrole, which is also a potent carcinogen.
5. Camphor oil is listed as a convulsant and may cause neurological problems if inhaled in large amounts. People with epilepsy are advised against using camphor oil.
6. People suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma, must refrain from using camphor oil/ camphor.
7. Consult your doctor before using camphor during pregnancy.
8. Pure camphor essential oil must be used with caution. It is considered harmful for people with liver conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Camphor?
1. Does Camphor Cause Grey Hair?
Camphor is known to delay premature hair greying. You can further add bhringraj and amalaki to your camphor hair oil/ pack to prevent your hair from losing its natural colour.
2. Can You Mix Camphor And Coconut Oil?
Camphor and coconut oil is a great remedy for various hair and scalp conditions. Both ingredients when combined together serve as a treatment for scalp dryness, split ends, dandruff, inflammation and infections.
The Last Word
Camphor is a natural compound with multiple health and hair benefits. Including it in your daily hair care routine can strengthen your hair and keep your scalp healthy. However, too much camphor can irritate your skin or cause allergic reactions. Thus, it is advisable to consult your Ayurvedic doctor to understand your hair type and Prakriti. This will help you customize your hair care routine with camphor as per your hair requirements.Know Your Dosha Now
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