Camphor Formula

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The Chemical Formula and Properties of Camphor

Camphor, a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong, aromatic odor, has long been recognized for its diverse applications ranging from traditional medicine to industrial uses. Its distinct fragrance and properties have made it a valuable commodity across cultures and industries. Understanding the chemical composition and properties of camphor is essential for appreciating its wide-ranging significance.

Chemical Formula:

The chemical formula of camphor is C₁₀H₁₆O. This means that each molecule of camphor consists of ten carbon atoms, sixteen hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom. Its molecular weight is approximately 152.23 grams per mole.

Camphor Formula Structure

Camphor’s structure is characterized by a bicyclic monoterpene skeleton, which forms the basis of its aromatic properties. It features a fused ring system with a ketone functional group (C=O) located at one end. This structure contributes to its stability and reactivity in various chemical reactions.


  1. Physical Properties: Camphor exhibits several notable physical properties, including:
    • State: It is a solid at room temperature.
    • Color: It typically appears as a white or transparent crystalline substance.
    • Odor: Camphor possesses a strong, characteristic odor that is both aromatic and medicinal.
    • Solubility: It is sparingly soluble in water but readily dissolves in organic solvents such as ethanol, acetone, and chloroform.
    • Melting Point: Camphor has a relatively high melting point of around 175°C (347°F), which allows it to undergo sublimation at room temperature, transitioning directly from a solid to a gas phase.
  2. Chemical Properties: Camphor displays various chemical properties owing to its molecular structure and functional groups. These include:
    • Reactivity: It can undergo oxidation, reduction, and various functional group transformations.
    • Flammability: Camphor is flammable and can burn with a bright, sooty flame.
    • Stability: While stable under normal conditions, camphor may undergo decomposition when exposed to heat or light, leading to the formation of volatile by-products.
Chemical formula C10H16O
Molecular weight152.237 g/mol
Density0.992 g/cm3
Boiling point 209 °C
Melting point 175–177 °C


  1. Traditional Medicine: Camphor has a long history of use in traditional medicine for its perceived medicinal properties. It has been employed as a topical analgesic, antiseptic, and cough suppressant. Additionally, it is a common ingredient in balms, liniments, and ointments used for treating various ailments such as muscle pain, respiratory congestion, and skin irritation.
  2. Fragrance and Aromatherapy: Due to its pleasant aroma, camphor is utilized in the production of perfumes, cosmetics, and aromatic products. It is often included in essential oil blends for its refreshing and invigorating scent. In aromatherapy, camphor oil is believed to possess stimulating and clarifying effects on the mind and body.
  3. Industrial Applications: Camphor finds widespread use in various industrial processes and products. It serves as a plasticizer in the manufacture of celluloid and other plastics, imparting flexibility and stability to the final products. Additionally, it is utilized in the synthesis of fragrances, flavors, and pharmaceutical intermediates.
  4. Insect Repellent: Camphor is known for its insect-repellent properties, making it a common ingredient in mothballs and insecticides. Its strong odor acts as a deterrent for pests, helping to protect clothing, fabrics, and stored goods from damage caused by insects and larvae.

Physical Properties of Camphor

  • The molecular formula of camphor is C6H16O.
  • It is mostly found as a white waxy solid.
  • The molecular weight of camphor is 154 amu.
  • The density of camphor is 0.992
  • Camphor has a pungent aromatic taste.
  • It has a mothball-like smell.

Chemical Properties of Camphor

  • The boiling point of Camphor is around 177 0 C.
  • The melting point of camphor is 2090 C.
  • It is soluble in oils, and ethanol but not in Water.
  • When Camphor reacts with Bromine in the presence of sulfuric acid, it undergoes bromination to produce (+)-9-bromocamphor and (-)-9-bromocamphor.

When camphor undergoes oxidation it produces dicarboxylic acid known as camphoria.

Camphor, a waxy, colorless solid with a strong aroma, has a unique chemical formula: C10H16O. This formula represents the number and type of atoms that make up one molecule of camphor.

Breaking Down the Formula:

  • C10: This signifies the presence of 10 carbon atoms in each camphor molecule.
  • H16: This indicates 16 hydrogen atoms are present.
  • O: This symbol represents a single oxygen atom within the molecule.

Beyond the Formula:

While the formula provides the basic building blocks of camphor, it doesn’t reveal the arrangement of these atoms. To fully understand the structure and properties of camphor, its chemical structure must be considered.

Camphor is classified as a bicyclic monoterpene ketone. This translates to:

  • Bicyclic: The molecule has two rings made of carbon atoms.
  • Monoterpene: It is derived from a unit containing two “isoprene” molecules, which are common building blocks in nature.
  • Ketone: The molecule contains a carbonyl group (C=O) bonded to two carbon atoms.

Understanding both the formula and structure of camphor is crucial for appreciating its various properties and applications, which range from historical medicinal uses to modern applications as a plasticizer and insect repellent.

In conclusion, camphor’s chemical formula, structure, and properties play a fundamental role in understanding its diverse applications across medicine, industry, and everyday products. From traditional remedies to modern industrial processes, camphor continues to be valued for its unique characteristics and versatility. As research into its properties and applications advances, the potential uses of camphor are likely to expand, further highlighting its importance in various fields.

Types of Camphor

Below are the different types of camphor

Natural camphor – It is obtained naturally from plants that produce camphor, particularly Cinamommum camphora. It has been marketed for many years as a forest product.

Synthetic camphor – It is derived from turpentine oil, specifically from the alpha-pinene found in coniferous tree oils. Acetic acid is used as a solvent and strong acid as a catalyst to convert alpha-pinene into isobornyl acetate. Hydrolysis of isobornyl acetate yields isoborneol, which is then oxidized to produce racemic camphor.

Production of Camphor

A biosynthetic method can be used to produce camphor using geranyl pyrophosphate. Geranyl pyrophosphate is converted to linaloyl pyrophosphate, which is further converted to bornyl pyrophosphate. Bornyl pyrophosphate is then hydrolyzed into borneol, which is then oxidized to form camphor.

Through the mevalonic acid pathway, geranyl pyrophosphate is converted to bornyl pyrophosphate. The reaction occurs in cells, so the reaction conditions are not well defined, but the enzyme bornyl diphosphate synthase is required to convert geranyl pyrophosphate to bornyl pyrophosphate. A series of steps are then followed by the oxidation of borneol or isoborneol into camphor to convert bornyl pyrophosphate into camphor enzymatically.

In order to produce camphor via chemical synthesis, borneol or isoborneol must undergo oxidation. This process involves dissolving the borneol in a mixture of acetone and ethanol, which is then acidified with chromic acid in sulphuric acid. The resulting solution is heated and refluxed for several hours to initiate the reaction. After cooling, any excess acid is removed using reducing agents. Finally, the isolated camphor can be obtained by dissolving it in non-polar solvents and evaporating the solvents.

Uses of Camphor

  • It is an important ingredient of many creams or rubs whose aim is to reduce pain caused by insect bites, cold sores, minor burns, etc. 
  • It helps reduce fungal infections.
  • It is sometimes used as a food additive to enhance the flavor of the food.
  • It is used for some religious purposes.
  • Camphor is used to reduce pains caused by arthritis.
  • Camphor can be used as a cough suppressant.
  • Camphor can be used as a muscle rub to reduce muscle cramps.

Health Hazards of Camphor

  • When Camphor comes in direct contact with the eyes it causes irritation.
  • Inhaling of camphor acid can cause irritation in the nose and throat which leads to a cough.
  • Continues Exposure to a high quantity of camphor causes Unconsciousness or even death.
  • High Exposure to camphor may cause Kidney damage and has adverse effects on the nervous system. 

Frequently Asked Questions – Camphor Formula

1. What is the chemical formula of camphor?

  • The chemical formula of camphor is C10H16O.

2. What is camphor used for?

  • Camphor is used in various applications including pharmaceuticals, as a plasticizer in the production of celluloid and other plastics, in insect repellents, as a flavoring agent, and in traditional medicine for its medicinal properties.

3. How is camphor synthesized?

  • Camphor can be synthesized from α-pinene, which is derived from turpentine oil. The synthesis typically involves oxidation of α-pinene followed by isomerization and cyclization reactions.

4. What are the physical properties of camphor?

  • Camphor is a white crystalline solid with a characteristic odor. It has a melting point of around 176°F (80°C) and is sparingly soluble in water but soluble in organic solvents like alcohol and ether.

5. Is camphor toxic?

  • Camphor can be toxic if ingested in large amounts. It is also not recommended for use on broken or damaged skin as it can be absorbed into the body and cause adverse effects. Proper precautions should be taken when using camphor products.

6. What are the medicinal properties of camphor?

  • Camphor has been traditionally used for its analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly found in over-the-counter topical treatments for pain relief and respiratory congestion.

7. Can camphor be used in aromatherapy?

  • Yes, camphor is often used in aromatherapy for its uplifting and invigorating scent. However, it should be used sparingly and with caution due to its potency.

8. Are there any precautions to consider when using camphor?

  • Yes, camphor should not be ingested in large amounts and should be kept away from children and pets. It should also be used with caution on the skin and diluted properly in carrier oils when used topically. Pregnant and nursing women should consult with a healthcare professional before using camphor products.

9. Can camphor be synthesized in a laboratory setting?

  • Yes, camphor can be synthesized in a laboratory using various chemical reactions starting from suitable precursors. However, commercial production often relies on extraction from natural sources such as the camphor tree or synthesis from natural products like α-pinene.

10. Is camphor regulated by any authorities?

  • Yes, the use of camphor is regulated by health authorities in many countries due to its potential toxicity. Regulations may include restrictions on concentration in consumer products and labeling requirements for safety information.

1. What is Camphor Formula?

Camphor Formula is a solution containing camphor, a natural compound derived from the camphor laurel tree. It is commonly used as a topical medication for various skin conditions.

2. What are the uses of Camphor Formula?

Camphor Formula is typically used to:

  • Relieve itching caused by minor skin irritations, insect bites, and allergic reactions.
  • Temporarily relieve muscle aches and pains.
  • Act as an antifungal and antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes.

3. How is Camphor Formula applied?

Camphor Formula is applied topically to the affected area. It is important to follow the directions on the product label and avoid contact with eyes, mouth, and mucous membranes.

4. What are the potential side effects of Camphor Formula?

Common side effects of Camphor Formula may include:

  • Skin irritation, burning, or stinging
  • Dryness or redness of the skin

In rare cases, more serious side effects can occur, such as:

  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing

It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these severe side effects.

5. Who should not use Camphor Formula?

Camphor Formula is not recommended for:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Infants and young children
  • People with open wounds or severe skin conditions
  • Individuals allergic to camphor or other ingredients in the formula

6. Can Camphor Formula interact with other medications?

It is important to consult with your doctor before using Camphor Formula if you are taking any other medications, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements.

7. Where can I buy Camphor Formula?

Camphor Formula is typically available over-the-counter at pharmacies and drugstores.

Question 1: What is camphor?


It is a waxy solid which produces a strong aroma. It is flammable and transparent. The chemical formula of Camphor is C6H16O. It is found in some trees of the laurel family. Camphor laurel is an evergreen tree from the forest of eastern Asia. It is extracted from the wood of a tree called camphor laurel. 

Question 2: Briefly explain the structure of Camphor.


Camphor is made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The chemical formula of Camphor is C6H16O. It has a very strong smell, it is similar to that of a mothball. The IUPAC name of Camphor is 1,7,7-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-one.

Question 3: What can Camphor be used for? Does it have any pain relieving properties? 


It is an important ingredient of many creams or rubs whose aim is to reduce pain caused by insect bites, cold sores, minor burns, etc. It is used for some religious purposes. It is sometimes used as a food additive to enhance the flavor of the food. 

Question 4: Explain some of the processes of production of camphor.


Camphor Basil is a major source of camphor in Asia.  Methylation with methyl iodide and a complicated reduction procedure produced camphor. Camphor can be produced from alpha-pinene. It is present in coniferous trees.  Camphor can be synthetically produced from the oil of turpentine.

Question 5: List some of the physical characteristics of camphor.


  • The molecular formula of camphor is C6H16O. 
  • It is a white waxy solid. 
  • The molecular weight of camphor is 154 amu. 
  • It has a pungent aromatic taste and it smells like a mothball

Question 6: What are the unique chemical properties of Camphor?


The boiling point of Camphor is around 177 o C. When Camphor reacts with Bromine in the presence of sulfuric acid, it undergoes bromination to produce (+)-9-bromocamphor and (-)-9-bromocamphor.

Question 7: Is Camphor safe for use?


Camphor may not be totally safe for use. High exposure to camphor may cause Kidney damage and has adverse effects on the nervous system. When Camphor comes in direct contact with the eyes it causes irritation.

How does Camphor work as beneficial for health? What are some common uses of it?

Solution: Camphor seems to stimulate the nerve endings which relieve symptoms such as pain and itching when applied to the skin. It is also active against fungi that cause infections in the toenails.

Scientific research is limited for some of the purported uses for camphor and there is the evidence of largely anecdotal. Camphor oil may also be used to treat the following problems:

  • hair loss
  • acne
  • warts
  • earaches
  • cold sores
  • hemorrhoids
  • heart disease symptoms
  • poor blood circulation
  • flatulence
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • muscle spasms
  • low libido

Q.2: Calculate the molar mass of camphor.

Solution: Its formula is:


So, its molar mass is:

= 6×12.0107+12×1.00794+15.9994

= 152.237 gram per mol

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