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Camphene (not to be confused with camphor) is an important terpene component of the essential oil of conifers, particularly fir trees. Camphene has been demonstrated to confer protection against reactive oxygen species by acting as an antioxidant, making it useful in potentially reducing the oxidative damage caused by inflammation (1,2), and also eliciting anti-nociceptive (pain-killing) effects (7).


Camphene has also shown promise in controlling serum cholesterol and lipid profiles, reducing both in a hyperlipidemic phenotype with comparable activity to statins, but via a different mechanism (3). Rather than reducing HMG-CoA reductase activity as statins do, camphene upregulates the SREBP-1 gene, with a similar result but with reduced maximal inhibition of cholesterol synthesis (4).

Camphene has also been demonstrated to protect normal metabolism, potentially by directly augmenting the activity of damaged beta islet cells allowing them increase insulin production to more normal levels (5). There is also evidence that camphene decreases insulin resistance and protects against fat accumulation in the liver by upregulating the production of adiponectin (a hormone encouraging mitochondrial uncoupling) and the activity of AMPK (a fat oxidation, energy utilisation gene)(6).

There has also been renewed interest recently in camphene for its anti-proliferative effects in skin tissue (8).

 Key references:

  • Protects metabolism (3,4)

  • Reduces blood cholesterol & triglycerides (3,4)

  • Protects against fatty liver (6)

  • Protects against insulin resistance (5,6)

  • Reduced lipogenesis and increased fatty acid oxidation (6)

  • Anti-proliferative (8)

  • Anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory (1,2)

  • Pain reduction (7)


1 - Tiwari, M., & Kakkar, P. (2009). Plant derived antioxidants–geraniol and camphene protect rat alveolar macrophages against t-BHP induced oxidative stress. Toxicology in vitro, 23(2), 295-301.

2 - Murad, S., Iftikhar, S., Ghaffar, A., Arain, A. Q., Murad, J. S., & Saif, S. (2019). Resins, Camphene, Phellandrene, Eucalyptol, Citral, Borneol, and Linalool Containg Plants Reduce ROS Burden in Body. International Journalof Research in Pharmacy and Biosciences, 6(9), 11-15.

3 - Vallianou, I., Peroulis, N., Pantazis, P., & Hadzopoulou-Cladaras, M. (2011). Camphene, a plant-derived monoterpene, reduces plasma cholesterol and triglycerides in hyperlipidemic rats independently of HMG-CoA reductase activity. PloS one, 6(11), e20516.

4 - Vallianou, I., & Hadzopoulou-Cladaras, M. (2016). Camphene, a plant derived monoterpene, exerts its hypolipidemic action by affecting SREBP-1 and MTP expression. PloS one, 11(1), e0147117.

5 - Mishra, C., & Code, Q. R. (2018). Comparative anti-diabetic study of three phytochemicals on high-fat diet and streptozotocin-induced diabetic dyslipidemic rats. Int. J. Biomed. Adv. Res., 9, 286-293.

6 - Kim, S., Choi, Y., Choi, S., Choi, Y., & Park, T. (2014). Dietary camphene attenuates hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance in mice. Obesity, 22(2), 408-417.

7- Quintans-Júnior, L., Moreira, J. C., Pasquali, M. A., Rabie, S., Pires, A. S., Schröder, R., & Araújo, A. A. (2013). Antinociceptive activity and redox profile of the monoterpenes (+)-camphene, p-cymene, and geranyl acetate in experimental models. ISRN toxicology, 2013.

8 - Girola, N., Figueiredo, C. R., Farias, C. F., Azevedo, R. A., Ferreira, A. K., Teixeira, S. F., & Lago, J. H. (2015). Camphene isolated from essential oil of Piper cernuum (Piperaceae) induces intrinsic apoptosis in melanoma cells and displays antitumor activity in vivo. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 467(4), 928-934.

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