Borneol is an alcohol that easily oxidizes into the ketone: camphor. It is found in Coridothymus capitatus (thyme), Artemisia herba alba (artemisia), Origanum vulgare (oregano), Ocimum canum (basil), lavender, lavandin, rosemary, sage, and feverfew.
Alcohols are the most therapeutically beneficial type of component in an essential oil, and have a low toxicity for safer use with fragile populations (like the elderly). Alcohols can be sensitizing when oxidized, so proper storage is important.
Links to Plants Containing Borneol
The listings of research below represents a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
- Essential oils of sage, rosemary, thyme, juniper, pine, turpentine, and eucalyptus and their constituents of thujone, eucalyptol, camphor, borneol, thymol, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, bornylacetate, and menthol inhibited bone resorption. From: Mühlbauer, R. C., Lozano, A., Palacio, S., Reinli, A., & Felix, R. (2003). Common herbs, essential oils, and monoterpenes potently modulate bone metabolism. Bone, 32(4), 372-380.
- Inhalation of essential oil of valerian root and its constituents borneol, isoborneol, bornyl acetate, and isobornyl acetate caused a sedative effect in mice. From: Buchbauer, G., Jäger, W., Jirovetz, L., Meyer, F., & Dietrich, H. (1992). Effects of valerian root oil, borneol, isoborneol, bornyl acetate and isobornyl acetate on the motility of laboratory animals (mice) after inhalation. Die Pharmazie, 47(8), 620.
- Isoborneol, as found in several plant essential oils, showed activity against herpes virus 1. From: Armaka, M., Papanikolaou, E., Sivropoulou, A., & Arsenakis, M. (1999). Antiviral properties of isoborneol, a potent inhibitor of herpes simplex virus type 1. Antiviral research, 43(2), 79-92.
- Thymus caramanicus composed of carvacrol (68.9%), p-cymene (6.0%), thymol (5.3%), gamma-terpinene (4.6%) and borneol (4.0%), showed strong activity against Helicobacter pylori bacteria. From: Eftekhar, F., Nariman, F., Yousefzadi, M., Hadiand, J., & Ebrahimi, S. N. (2009). Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity and essential oil composition of Thymus caramanicus from Iran. Natural product communications, 4(8), 1139-1142.
- Cinnamon essential oil and its constituent: trans-cinnamaldehyde, caryophyllene oxide, l-borneol, l-bornyl acetate, eugenol, β-caryophyllene, E-nerolidol, and cinnamyl acetate demonstrated anti-inflammation in vitro. From: Tung, Y. T., Chua, M. T., Wang, S. Y., & Chang, S. T. (2008). Anti-inflammation activities of essential oil and its constituents from indigenous cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum) twigs. Bioresource Technology, 99(9), 3908-3913.
- Essential oil constituents with an analgesic activity are reviewed. Included are p-cymene, carvacrol, linalool, eugenol, menthol, alpha-bisabolol, cinnamaldehyde, citronellal, citronellol, citronellyl acetate, alpha-phelandrene, alpha-terpeneol, vanillin, borneol, myrtenol, pulegone, citral, thymol, limonene, nerol, anethole, nerolidol, carvone, farnesol, and beta-caryphyllene. From: Lima, T., da Nóbrega, F., de Brito, A., & de Sousa, D. (2017). Analgesic-like activity of essential oil constituents: an update. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(12), 2392.
- Coriander seed essential oil and its major components of geraniol (24%), d-linanol (16%), borneol (7%), α-pinene (9%) and β-pinene showed antioxidant activities in vitro. From: González-Marrugo, L. B., Granados-Llamas, E. A., Granados-Conde, C., Tejada-Tovar, C. N., & Ortega-Toro, R. (2018). Extraction and Evaluation of the Antioxidant Properties of Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Seed Essential Oil.
By: Kathy Sadowski