Last Updated : Jan 22,2018
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Also known as
Camphor is a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong, aromatic odor. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is used for its scent, as an ingredient in cooking (mainly in India), as an embalming fluid, in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes. A major source of camphor in Asia is camphor basil. The word camphor derives from the French word camphre, itself from Medieval Latin camfora, from Arabic kafur, from Sanskrit, karpoor. In ancient and medieval Europe it was widely used as ingredient for sweets but it is now mainly used for medicinal purposes.
How to select
It is widely available at Indian grocery stores and is labeled as "Edible Camphor. In Hindu pujas and ceremonies, camphor is burned in a ceremonial spoon for performing aarti. This type of camphor is also sold at Indian grocery stores but it is not suitable for cooking. The only type that should be used for food are those which are labeled as "Edible Camphor.
· Currently, camphor is mostly used as a flavoring for sweets in Asia and in confections resembling ice cream in China
· Camphor is used as flavoring agent in main dishes such as tharid, stew, and desserts in Middle Eastern countries.
· Camphor is widely used in cooking (mainly for dessert dishes) in India where it is known as Pachha Karpooram (literally meaning "green camphor).
How to store
Camphor should be stored in an air tight container.
· Camphor is readily absorbed through the skin and produces a feeling of cooling similar to that of menthol and acts as slight local anesthetic and antimicrobial substance.
· There are anti-itch gel and cooling gels with camphor as the active ingredient. Camphor is an active ingredient (along with menthol) in vapor-steam products, such as Vicks VapoRub, and it is effective as a cough suppressant.
· Topically, camphor is used to relieve pain. It has been used to treat warts, cold sores, hemorrhoids, and osteoarthritis.
· Orally, camphor is used as an expectorant, antiflatulent, and for treating respiratory tract diseases.
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