Camphor arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Studies on camphor suggest it is useful for osteoarthritis. It is used topically as an analgesic and antipruritic. It is safe when used in low concentrations 0.1-11 percent for topical use on intact skin.

Camphor is now made mostly from turpentine oil. It is a major ingredient in Vicks VapoRub.

Its counterirritant action results in improved local circulation, which is why it may temporarily help soothe arthritis pain.

Adverse effects occur with improper oral use. Significant toxicity (respiratory failure, status epilepticus) has been documented with as little as two grams in adults and 700mg in children.

Oral use is not recommended in adults. It is important not to apply camphor to areas of broken skin since it can reach concentrations that are high enough to cause toxicity.

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