Last update Jan. 13, 2015

Cinnamomum camphora

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Substance which can be extracted under distillation from the Camphor tree bark. Nowadays it is synthesized from the Turpentine.

Used with creams and lotions as local anti-inflammatory agent. There is no proof of effectiveness as decongestant or expectorant when used in inhaled preparations, but as a toxic agent.

Camphor is a highly lipophilic substance which is well absorbed by whatever via of administration (skin, inhalation, mouth) that crosses easily the cell membrane. Pharmacokinetic data support the likelihood of excretion into breast milk in a significant amount.

Camphor has been shown to be toxic at low dose on infants in whom it may cause headache, vomiting, seizures and coma. It should never be administered by mouth.

It is not appropriate its use during breastfeeding, and, in whatever case, it should not be applied on the mother's breast, since severe intoxications be occurred in infants after use of small ingested amounts. Be aware of not using it in the nostrils.


We do not have alternatives for Cinnamomum camphora.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Cinnamomum camphora is also known as Camphor. Here it is a list of alternative known names::


Cinnamomum camphora belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Cinnamomum camphora in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 100 %
Molecular weight 152 daltons
Protein Binding 61 %
VD 2 - 4 l/Kg
Tmax 1 - 3 hours
1.5 - 3 hours


  1. Bunchorntavakul C, Reddy KR. Review article: herbal and dietary supplement hepatotoxicity. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Posadzki P, Watson LK, Ernst E. Adverse effects of herbal medicines: an overview of systematic reviews. Clin Med (Lond). 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Schlumpf M, Kypke K, Wittassek M, Angerer J, Mascher H, Mascher D, Vökt C, Birchler M, Lichtensteiger W. Exposure patterns of UV filters, fragrances, parabens, phthalates, organochlor pesticides, PBDEs, and PCBs in human milk: correlation of UV filters with use of cosmetics. Chemosphere. 2010 Abstract
  4. Khine H, Weiss D, Graber N, Hoffman RS, Esteban-Cruciani N, Avner JR. A cluster of children with seizures caused by camphor poisoning. Pediatrics. 2009 Abstract
  5. Zuccarini P. Camphor: risks and benefits of a widely used natural product. Journal of Applied Sciences & Environmental Management, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 69-74. 2009 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. Chitturi S, Farrell GC. Hepatotoxic slimming aids and other herbal hepatotoxins. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  7. Guilbert J, Flamant C, Hallalel F, Doummar D, Frata A, Renolleau S. Anti-flatulence treatment and status epilepticus: a case of camphor intoxication. Emerg Med J. 2007 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. Manoguerra AS, Erdman AR, Wax PM, Nelson LS, Caravati EM, Cobaugh DJ, Chyka PA, Olson KR, Booze LL, Woolf AD, Keyes DC, Christianson G, Scharman EJ, Troutman WG; American Association of Poison Control Centers. Camphor Poisoning: an evidence-based practice guideline for out-of-hospital management. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2006 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Martin D, Valdez J, Boren J, Mayersohn M. Dermal absorption of camphor, menthol, and methyl salicylate in humans. J Clin Pharmacol. 2004 Abstract
  10. Love JN, Sammon M, Smereck J. Are one or two dangerous? Camphor exposure in toddlers. J Emerg Med. 2004 Abstract
  11. Burkhard PR, Burkhardt K, Haenggeli CA, Landis T. Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem. J Neurol. 1999 Aug;246(8):667-70. Abstract
  12. Gouin S, Patel H. Unusual cause of seizure. Pediatr Emerg Care. 1996 Abstract
  13. Theis JG, Koren G. Camphorated oil: still endangering the lives of Canadian children. CMAJ. 1995 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  14. Liebelt EL, Shannon MW. Small doses, big problems: a selected review of highly toxic common medications. Pediatr Emerg Care. 1993 Abstract
  15. Joly C, Bouillie C, Hummel M. [Acute poisoning by camphor administered externally in an infant]. Ann Pediatr (Paris). 1980 Abstract

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