178. Camphora.—Camphor. Gum camphor.
BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—A large and handsome tree. Leaves evergreen, shining, alternate, ovate-lanceolate. Flowers small, perfect, in corymbose panicles; anthers 4-celled, opening by terminal pores.
SOURCE.—The camphor tree grows in Japan and China, especially in the island of Formosa. This island alone furnishes half of the total product of the globe, or 5,200,000 pounds. Japan grows 1,560,000 pounds. The rest comes from China, Java, Sumatra, and Florida. It should be mentioned that the camphor of Malaysia is not extracted from Cinnamomum camphora, but from Dryobalanops aromatica. The United States alone uses 2,000,000 pounds of camphor yearly. The trunk, root, and branches are cut into chips and exposed to vapors of boiling water. The camphor volatilizes and condenses in small granules on the straw with which the head of the still is lined. It is freed from the volatile oil by draining or expressing, and is purified by resubliming with lime from a vessel into which the steam is allowed to escape through a small aperture. The camphor condenses in a compact cake, with a circular hole in the center corresponding to the aperture. Camphor has had to compete with rivals which are cheaper. In the manufacture of celluloid, the substitution of naphthalin for camphor has produced a considerable effect in controlling the high price resulting from the Japanese monopoly of the industry.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—Refined camphor comes in white, translucent masses, tough and somewhat flexible, breaking with a shining, crystalline fracture; reduced to a powder only by the addition of a few drops of alcohol, ether, chloroform, glycerin, volatile or fixed oils, or other volatile liquids for which it has an affinity, by triturating with an equal weight of sugar, by precipitating the alcoholic solution with water, or by sublimation. It is very volatile, even at ordinary temperatures, giving out a characteristic penetrating odor. Taste pungent, aromatic, leaving a cooling sensation in the mouth. Lighter than water, small pieces taking up a circulatory motion therein, which ceases upon the addition of a drop of oil. Very inflammable, burning with a dense smoke, and leaving no residue. When triturated with about molecular proportions of thymol, phenol, or chloral hydrate, it liquefies. It melts at 175°C. (347°F.) and boils at 204°C. (399.2°F.).
Borneo or Sumatra camphor is an allied camphor. By oxidation it yields ordinary camphor. Borneol Valerates have been introduced as useful in various neuroses. See "New and Non-official Remedies."
CONSTITUENTS.—Camphor has the composition C10H16O, and is considered as a ketone yielded indirectly by the oxidation of borneol, a secondary alcohol having the composition C10H18O. By treatment with various reagents camphor yields a number of interesting compounds, as cymol, camphoric acid, etc. With iodine and bromine it forms compounds, one, the monobromated camphor (C9H15BrCO), being used as a nerve sedative in doses of 3 gr. (0.2 Gm.); it is made by heating equal portions of bromine and camphor at 172°F.; one-half the bromine goes off as hydrobromic acid. One H of the camphor molecule, is replaced by Br in the reaction. Camphoric acid, C10H16O4, and camphronic acid, C9H12O6, are produced by oxidation with nitric acid. Ash, not more than 0.05 per cent.
- OFFICIAL PREPARATIONS.
- Aqua Camphorae (0.8 per cent.), Dose: ½ to 2 fl. oz (15 to 30 mils).
- Spiritus Camphorae (10 per cent.), 5 to 40 <minim> (0.3 to 2.6 mils).
- Tinctura Opii Camphorata (0.4 per cent.), 1 to 4 fl. dr. (4 to 15 mils.)
- Linimentum Camphorae (20 per cent.).
- Linimentum Saponis (4.5 per cent.).
- Linimentum Chloroformi (70 per cent.).
- Linimentum Belladonnae (5 per cent.).
ACTION AND USES.—Stimulant and antispasmodic. Externally anodyne and rubefacient. Dose: 3 to 10 gr. (0.2 to 0.6 Gm.), in pill or emulsion.
178a. OLEUM CAMPHORAE.—OIL OF CAMPHOR. Obtained in the sublimation of camphor from the wood. It is a reddish liquid with a slight yellowish tint, and is probably a mixture of a hydrocarbon and camphor. It resembles the latter in medical properties, but is more of a stimulant, and is especially applicable to those cases of bowel complaint or spasmodic cholera in which an anodyne and stimulant effect is wanted. This volatile oil must not be confounded with Linimentum Camphorae, the common name for which, with many, is oil of camphor. Dose: 2 or 3 drops (0.13 to 0.2 mil).