The use of camphor can treat coughs, manage pain and treat skin irritation or itching, according to WebMD. Additionally, some research suggests that it may be effective in treating osteoarthritis, as of 2015.
Camphor is a common ingredient in medicines such as Vicks VapoRub, and it is FDA approved for treating pain, itching and coughs, states WebMD. Camphor may work by stimulating nerve endings to relieve symptoms. Camphor may also be active against fungi that cause toenail infections; however, more research is needed in this area. Side effects are generally minor and can include redness and irritation on or around the application site.