Camphor is a stearopten (solid volatile oil), obtained from Cinnamomum Camphora (nat. ord. Laurineae), a tree indigenous in China, Japan, Borneo, Formosa, etc. It is slightly soluble in water (1 to 1300), but freely so in Alcohol, Ether, Chloroform, Carbon Disulphide, Oils and Milk.
Derivatives. Camphor-cymol is obtained by its distillation with Zinc Chloride;—Camphoric and Camphretic Acids result respectively from its lesser or greater oxidation.
- Aqua Camphorae, Camphor Water,—strength, 8 in 1000, with 5 of alcohol to aid in the suspension of the Camphor. Dose, ʒj-iv.
- Spiritus Camphorae,—10 per cent, in alcohol. Dose, ♏v-xx.
- Linimentum Camphorae,—has 2 of Camphor to 8 of Cotton-seed Oil.
- Camphora Monobromata, Monobromated Camphor. Dose, gr. j-x, in emulsion.
- *Rubini's Tincture is a saturated solution in Alcohol ;—Dose, gtt. iv-xx.
- *Raspail's "Eau Sedative" is used externally. [See page 70.]
Camphor is an ingredient of Linimentum Saponis, Linimentum Sinapis Compositum, and Tinctura Opii Camphorata.
Physiological Action. Camphor is antispasmodic, anodyne, antiseptic, diaphoretic, a stimulant expectorant, a cerebral excitant, a gastro-intestinal irritant, and a counter-irritant. It has an acrid, hot taste; irritates the skin and mucous membranes, in quantity exciting severe gastric inflammation, with all the effects of an irritant poison. In medicinal doses it stimulates the vaso-motor system and the cardiac motor ganglia, and lessens the influence of the pneumogastric; thus increasing the circulation and raising the arterial tension. It also stimulates respiration and mental activity, even producing intoxication; promotes perspiration, allays pain, and increases the menstrual flow and the sexual appetite; but its continued use depresses the generative function. "Camphora per nares castrat odore mares."
Large Doses depress the heart and lower arterial tension and diminish the reflex functions of the cord, producing coldness of the surface, insensibility, coma, convulsions and perhaps death. Elimination takes place by the bronchial mucous membrane, skin and kidneys. Camphor has often caused dysuria.
Therapeutics. Camphor was much used by the older physicians, and is yet greatly valued in China and Japan. It has a reputation for very uncertain action. It is, however, much employed in—
- Cholera and choleraic diarrhoea;—allaying intestinal pain and cramp, checking intestinal secretion, and restoring warmth to the extremities.
- Summer Diarrhoea, from nervous exhaustion and irritability,—a few doses of the Spirit will often check this complaint promptly.
- Infantile Diarrhoea,—the Spirit, in milk, is an effective remedy, especially when the flux is induced by nervous irritation.
- Vomiting and Gastralgia,—Camphor has long been effectively employed.
- Cardiac Depression,—it acts promptly as a cardiac stimulant.
- Nervousness, nervous headache, restlessness, delirium tremens, hypochondriasis, hysterical convulsions, etc.,—as a sedative and antispasmodic.
- Nymphomania, Erotomania, etc.,—it is an excellent palliative.
- Whooping-cough, cough from habit, and the sympathetic cough of mothers,— the Monobromated Camphor in 5-grain doses.
- Capillary Bronchitis with depression,—as a stimulant and expectorant.
- Fevers,—small doses in milk frequently used are of great value to promote sleep, quiet the reflexes, and antagonize the cardiac depression.
- Dysmenorrhoea and After-pains,— are much relieved by 10-grain doses.
- Chordee and Strangury,—are relieved by drachm doses of the Spirit.
- Toothache,—Camphor and Morphine in a flaxseed poultice, to the cheek.
- Gangrene,—the Spirit internally and the powder locally to the surface.
- Myalgia, Lumbago, etc.,—the Liniment is effectively palliative.
- Catarrhal Colds are readily broken up by Camphor if used in the incipiency internally and by olfaction. Beard's Cold Powder is made by dissolving parts in Ether to a thick consistence, then adding Ammonium Carbonate 4 parts, and Opium 1 part. Dose, gr. iij-x.
A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.