Herbs for Resuscitation

  




Camphor 

 
Latin: Camphora
 
Origin:
Camphor is the granular crystal produced through the refinement of the branch, trunk, leaf and root of a plant Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl., of the family Lauraceae. The plant is common in China, Taiwan, and Japan. It is a handsome tree 30 m in height.

Camphor is isolated by passing steam through the pulverized wood and condensing the vapours; camphor crystallizes from the oily portion of the distillate and is purified by pressing and sublimation. Since the early 1930s camphor has been made by several processes from the compound a-pinene.

Camphor is an organic compound of penetrating, somewhat musty aroma, used for many centuries as a component of incense and as a medicinal. Modern uses of camphor have been as a plasticizer for cellulose nitrate and as an insect repellent, particularly for moths. The molecular formula is C10H16O. The pure compound is a white, waxy solid that melts at about 178XV179X C.

In China, the tree Cinnamomum camphora is mainly produced in the places to the south of the Yangtze River and in the southwest parts, among which Taiwan gives the greatest yields, and the camphor produced there is of good quality.

Picked and collected all the year round, old trees of Cinnamomum camphora are mostly felled from September to December. Saw and chop the tree into pieces, distill them in the distiller, cool and obtain refined camphor. Refined camphor can also be obtained from unrefined camphor through sublimation and refinement. Since it is quite volatile, camphor should be packed and sealed for storage.
 
Properties:
Pungent in flavor, hot and toxic in nature, it is related to the heart and spleen channels.
 
Functions:
Induces resuscitation and removes filthy factors when taken orally; removes dampness, destroys parasites, warms the channels and disperses pathogenic cold to kill pain when used externally.
 
Applications:
1. Treats acute filthy disease with abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and coma:

Pungent, fragrant and migratory, camphor can induce resuscitation with its aromatic property, remove filthy factors and resolve turbid phlegm; moving and dispersing with its warmth, it can also warm the channels and dispel pathogenic cold to an extent that kills pain. Therefore, it can be used for the treatment of abdominal pain with tightness and a confused sensation, chills and fever, vomiting and diarrhea and even coma due to affection by filthy, turbid, malignant or infectious factors or affection in summer by pathogenic wind-cold or summer-heat dampness.

Camphor can be prepared into powder or wine for oral administration; in the book entitled 'Original Meaning of Materia Medica', it is ground together with olibanum and myrrh into fine powder and stirred into tea for drinking; or refined camphor is dissolved in brandy or sorghum wine for the treatment of acute filthy diseases with abdominal pain, yielding good effects.

2. Treats scabies, tineae, exudative skin disease, pruritus and ulcers:

Pungent in taste, hot in nature, dry and strong in property and toxic, camphor can not only counteract toxic substances and destroy parasites when used externally, but also subdue swelling and arrest itching.

a) Suppurative scabies and boils:

Camphor is ground together with sulphur, dried alum and zanthoxylum into powder and stirred well with sesame oil for external rubbing, e.g., Zhangnao San.

b) Beriberi with exudative skin disease:

It is pounded together with pig fat and green onion stalk for external application, e.g., Zhangnao Gao.

c) Scrofula and ulcers:

Camphor can be ground together with realgar in equal quantities into powder and stirred well with sesame oil for application, e.g., Xiong Nao San.

3. Treats toothache and traumatic injuries with pain:

So pungent and hot that it is moving and dispersing, it can reactivate stagnated qi, subdue swelling and kill pain.

a) Dental caries and toothache:

Camphor can be ground together with yellow lead and Chinese honeylocust fruit (Fructus Gleditsiae) in equal quantities into powder and made with honey into pills for insertion into cavities.

b) Swelling and pain in case of falls, strains, fractures and contusions:

Camphor is soaked in white wine and dissolved completely and applied onto the affected part from time to time.
 
Dosage and Administration:
Include in powder or dissolve in wine for oral administration.

Use an adequate amount externally. Grind into powder for sprinkling or stir with a fluid for application.
 
Cautions on Use:
As camphor is toxic, it should be used carefully for oral administration and the dosages should be controlled.

It should be used carefully by pregnant women.
 
Reference Materials:
Essentials of Collection of Materia Medica : "Destroying parasites, eliminating scabies and tineae, healing scalds and burns and resisting filthy factors."

The Compendium of Materia Medica : "Clearing all passages and reactivating stagnated qi. Treating pestilent pathogenic factors, cholera, pain in the chest or abdomen, disturbance of lower legs owing to pathogenic cold factors, pruritis and caries. It can eliminate beriberi when put in shoes. Being pungent in taste, hot in nature and fragrant and migratory in property, this drug is good at eliminating pathogenic fire, removing dampness and destroying parasites. If it is burnt to smoke clothing baskets and mats, it can expel bedbugs and moths."
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
The plant is poisonous in large quantities.
 
Modern Researches:
Camphor is a bicyclic terpene ketone.

Camphor can stimulate the central nervous system and enhance respiration and circulation. Its stimulant effect is especially marked when the central nervous system is in an inhibited state. Applied to the skin, it gives a cool and refreshing feeling. It can kill pain and arrest itching and it has mild local anesthetic and preservative effects. It can irritate the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines to make the stomach feel warm and comfortable. A large dose can produce nausea and vomiting.
 
 
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