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The Camphire-Tree.

Botanical name:

Arbor camphorifera.

THIS is a kind of bay-tree of the East Indies. hut it grows to the height of our tallest trees. The bark is brown and uneven on the trunk, but it is smooth and green on the young branches. The leaves are like those of the common bay-tree, only a little longer; and they are curled at the edges.

The flowers are small and white, and the fruit is a berry, altogether like our bay-berries, and of the bigness of a large pea. The wood of the tree is white or a little reddish, and veined with black, and smells of the camphire. The leaves also, when they are bruised, smell of camphire; and the fruit most of all.

The only product of this tree, used in medicine, is the resin called camphire; and this is not a natural, but a sort of chemical preparation. They cut the wood to pieces and put it into a sort of subliming vessel with an earthen head full of straw. They make fire underneath, and the camphire rises in form of a white meal, and is found among the straw. This is refined afterwards, and becomes the camphire we use.

It is sudorific and works by urine; it also promotes the menses, and is good in disorders of the bladder.


The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.



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