Sunday, May 18, 2014

Camphor, that lights up bright God's face!

A white round sweet-like substance that smells pleasant and strong to the nose shall attract definitely any child towards it. When it is lighted up, its flame also attracts the child to touch it - but its heat makes the child to retract its hand back! It is our Camphor ('Karpooram' or 'Soodum' in Tamil).
Its natural source is the Camphor tree (Cinnamonum camphora). The raw camphor called as 'Patcha karpooram' in Tamil, is extracted from the wood of this tree. These trees are found to grow in South East countries like Sumatra. In the past, Indian merchants had sailed to Sumatra and traded for camphor on its west coast.
This camphor is also synthesized from Turpentine oil. It is mainly used in the Hindu religious rituals performed in temples - to light up and burn it and to show the light before Gods. It is also used as moth repellent. In the past it was used as a tincture with opium for the treatment of diarrhoea; but now its use is discontinued. Its content in steam inhalation medication (Vicks Vaporub) for treating the common cold is well known. It also makes tools rust proof by its coating on them!
This wonder camphor has so many such uses; but it is though attractive to kids, is a poisonous substance for them; so, avoid children handling it.

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