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Camphor Tree

Common designation of a large, broadleaf evergreen tree, with the botanical name Cinnamomum camphora, and which is also commonly known as Camphorwood and Camphor Laurel. It grows up to around 25 meters tall and has fragrant, glossy, ovate to obovate leaves, that are green in colour and have a waxy appearance. They smell of camphor when crushed and are arranged alternate, whilst their venation is pinnate. The tree produces clusters of berry-like fruits with a diameter of around 1 centimeter, and which turn black as they ripen. It has a pale brown bark, that is very rough and fissured vertically. This tree is native to China, south of the Yangtze River, Taiwan, southern Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, and has been introduced to many other countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. From it, camphor is gained, a substance which is used as a culinary spice, a medicine, and as a component of incense (fig.). In Thailand, where it is known as kaanboon, camphor is used in perfume bags, often sold in the form of a small cotton dolls, known in Thai as tukkatah kaanboon hom, i.e. Ďaromatic camphor dollsí. In Myanmar, the dark wood chips hacked from the root of the Camphor Tree, dug out from around the base, are used in herbal teas. The essential oils in the root are said to aid blood circulation and also are a remedy against bronchial problems. The digging and chipping has to be done very carefully as to not damage the root so that the tree would die and in order to be able to keep harvesting the root.