Ho Wood Essential Oil (Cinnamomum camphora)

Ho Wood Essential Oil
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Botanical name  Cinnamomum camphora

Family  Lauraceae

Source Wood and branches

Origin  China

Processing Method  Steam Distillation

Color/Consistency  A thin, pale yellow to yellow liquid.

Aromatic Summary / Note / Strength of Aroma   A middle note with a medium aroma, Ho Wood Essential Oil has a sweeter woody scent like rosewood's, with camphoraceous notes.

Blends With Bergamot, Lavender, Geranium, Sandalwood, and Cedarwood.

Product Abstract

Ho Wood is a tree quite similar to (or of the same genus as) the camphor tree which is where camphor oil comes from. If you have any experience with the latter, you can already start imagining how Ho Wood oil will smell. Ho Wood oil is also commonly referred to as ‘white camphor’ oil because it is a lighter grade and can be blended more easily


Ho Wood became more popular in 1985 when a major explosion at a linalool-producing facility greatly decreased the available supply, which launched Ho Wood as a natural and sustainable replacement. Locally referred to as Shiu Oil, it is commonly broken for its aromatic constituents.

Harvesting/Extraction Information

Ho Wood Oil is steam distilled from the bark and wood of the ho tree. This oil is extremely high in calming linalool and is excellent for promoting a peaceful and relaxing environment. Ho Wood has a woody, floral, and camphorous scent.

Common Usage

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-convulsant
  • Antidepressant
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-spasmotic
  • Antiviral
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Calming
  • Cellular
  • Regeneration
  • Immune stimulant
  • Sedative
  • Stress tension


Dilute before use; for external use only. May cause skin irritation in some individuals; a skin test is recommended prior to use. Contact with eyes should be avoided.

Key constituents

Safrole 50–60%

Camphor <3.0%

Safety summary
Hazards  Potentially carcinogenic, based on safrole content.
Contraindications  Should not be used, either internally or  externally

Our safety advice
Due to its high safrole content we recommend that brown camphor oil is not used in therapy.

Regulatory guidelines
IFRA and the EU recommend a maximum exposure level of 0.01% of safrole from the use of safrole-containing essential oils in cosmetics.

Organ-specific effects
Adverse skin reactions   Undiluted brown camphor oil was not irritating to rabbit, pig or mouse skin; tested at 4% on 25 volunteers it was neither irritating nor sensitizing. It is non-phototoxic.

Systemic effects
Acute toxicity  Brown camphor oil acute oral LD50 in rats 2.53 mL/kg; acute dermal LD50 in rabbits >4 mL/kg
(Opdyke 1976 p. 703). The minimum lethal oral dose of safrole in the rabbit is 1.0 g/kg (Spector 1956).

Carcinogenic/anticarcinogenic potential No information!  found. Safrole and its 20,30-epoxy, 10-hydroxy and 10-sulfate metabolites can form adducts with DNA and other macromolecules in the liver, and safrole is a weak carcinogen in rodents. Essential oil profiles C H A P T E R 1 3 227 Humans are at lower risk than rats due to differences in metabolism and more efficient detoxification mechanisms.

Brown camphor oil is not normally available commercially, as it is commonly used for the isolation of safrole or 1,8-cineole. Brown camphor oil is sometimes sold as ‘Chinese sassafras oil’. See comments under Camphor.

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