Chances are that you have used camphor numerous times in your life — but didn’t even know it. It is used in over-the-counter medicines and even some food products, but long before that it was used by our ancestors, who took advantage of the dried leaves, bark and wood to heal everything from coughs to minor cuts.
Let’s take a look at camphor and how it was used — and whether you can grow a beautiful camphor tree of your own.
The Many Uses For Camphor
Today, camphor is obtained by distilling the leaves of the camphor tree. However, the pioneers did not have the equipment for this endeavor, and so they relied on wood which was brought to Europe via Asia, where the trees originate. The white, waxy-looking substance is found in the wood of these trees, much like resin on pine trees.
Camphor wood or oil from the wood was prized as a medicine and rightly so, which explains why the pioneers often had either the oil or some wood packed in their “medicine bag.”
This strong-smelling compound is a natural antibacterial, antiseptic and disinfectant, although the pioneers were not aware of this, per se.