The camphor essential oil we find at our suppliers tends to be white camphor or camphor white essential oil (Cinnamomum camphora). It's steam distilled then rectified to remove the poisonous elements. It contains limonene, 1,8-cineole, camphor, linalool, piperitone, eugenol and safrole.
Piperitone is a monoterpene ketone with a minty odour. Eugenol is a phenylpropene that can be found in dill, star anise, wormwood, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil, and bay leaf, to name a few plants. It is used as an anti-oxidant for rubber, and can be hepatoxic (toxic to our livers at certain doses - click here for a case study).
The star of the white camphor essential oil is camphor, a compound we discussed yesterday. (And yes, obvious cat is obvious!) It's claimed to be an analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient, and insecticide. We'll be looking at those claims tomorrow. Be aware that camphor is considered to be hepatoxic as well - click here for the information on that - and a possible contact irritant.
There are two other essential oils - brown (80% safrole content) and yellow (10 to 20% safrole contect) and both are considered toxic, so you're not likely to see these on our suppliers' shelves. (One of the references I've used, click here.)
As an aside, I couldn't find white camphor or camphor white essential oil at any of my favourite American retailers or at Of a Simple Nature (UK), but I found it at four Canadian retailers - Voyageur, Aquarius, Creations from Eden, and NDA - and the American version of NDA. Fresholi has an essential oil from the Cinnamonum camphora tree they call ho leaf essential oil, but it has no camphor. NDA also has camphor powder. Is there some reason the American companies aren't carrying it?
Join me as we take a look at white camphor (I'm calling it that now...) essential oil tomorrow and the claims made about it!