Camphor (樟 Zhāng)
The white crystalline oil which comes from this evergreen tree has been very highly valued by the Chinese for thousands of years, not only for medicinal purposes but also for embalming, including the oil in the manufacture of soap to give it an aromatic scent, and for making Chinese inks and artists colourings.
The whole plant can be used medicinally, including the bark and the roots, but it must be given only in small doses as it can prove to be poisonous in large amounts. It has 'heat' properties, which help to stimulate the blood and the circulation of Ch'i energy, and because of this, it is excellent for complaints of the stomach, abdominal pains and the bowel system. It alleviates all kinds of pain, such as toothache, injuries that may have been incurred in accidents, sprains and other muscular stresses, and it has also been found invaluable in the fight against rheumatism, osteoarthritis, cholera and beri-beri. (I have ample personal evidence for this. I was a prisoner of war of the Japanese, in the jungles of Burma for three years, and whilst many other prisoners died from malnutrition, malaria, cholera and beri-beri, I never got a single attack of illness, because I was able to find many herbs, and also managed to scrounge, from time to time, some camphor from the local men and women who had been conscripted into the working parties. When I finally managed to escape, I was nearly down to six stone in weight, but I had retained my good health.)
- Taoist Ways of Healing page 57