• Jun-Ke Song
  • Li-Da Du
  • Gui-Fen Qiang
  • Guan-Hua DuEmail author


Camphor was recorded in many ancient books of traditional Chinese medicine. There has been a long history for traditional Chinese medicine to use camphor. The research and development process of camphor has gone through from the natural product extraction to the modern chemical drug synthesis. Camphor is mainly used for the treatment of pruritic skin diseases, fibrous tissue inflammation, neuralgia, and influenza. It is toxic to human. Overdose of camphor can cause irritability, drowsiness, muscle spasms, vomiting, convulsions, epilepsy, and other symptoms. Camphor has wide pharmacological activities, but its toxicity limits the clinical application.


Camphor Pruritic skin diseases Pharmacological activities Toxicity 


  1. 1.
    Mann J, Davidson RS, Hobbs JB, et al. Natural products: their chemistry and biological significance. London: Longman Scientific & Technical; 1994.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Xiong Y, Wu XR, Tu XM. Advances in the pharmacy of camphor. Lab Med Clin. 2009;6(12):999–1001.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chen F, Chen SH. Brief introduction to the development of synthetic camphor. J Chem Ind For Prod. 1997;31(2):20–3.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tang QY, Li JB, Lei CX. Extracting camphor and camphor oil from camphor trees. J Yiyang Teach Coll. 2000;17(5):49–50.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ding YG, Ma HM, Zhang BL. Research on pharmacology, toxicology and safety of camphor: review and prospect. Chin J Pharmacovigilance. 2012;9(1):38–42.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Smith AG, Margolis G. Camphor poisoning: anatomical and pharmacologic study; report of a fatal case; experimental investigation of protective action of barbiturate. Am J Pathol. 1954;30(5):857–69.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Manoguerra AS, Erdman AR, Wax PM, et al. Camphor poisoning: an evidence-based practice guideline for out-of-hospital management. Clin Toxicol. 2006;44(4):357–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. and People's Medical Publishing House, PR of China 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun-Ke Song
    • 1
  • Li-Da Du
    • 2
  • Gui-Fen Qiang
    • 1
  • Guan-Hua Du
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Drug Targets Identification and Drug Screening, Centre for Pharmaceutical ScreeningInstitute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Biomedical SciencesChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

Personalised recommendations