Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood, a member of the family Santalaceae, is native to India where it is now cultivated for commercial purposes, particularly in the southern state of Karnataka, formerly known as Mysore for making sandalwood oil. The sandalwood tree is a small evergreen, a parasite that gets nutrients from photosynthesis but draws the water and minerals that it requires from the roots of a host tree. (Mistletoe belongs to the same family.)

There has been some concern over depleting resources in recent years, but this problem is now being resolved with replanting programmes that have been initiated by the Indian government, which also regulates the quality of the oil that is produced. Another variety of sandalwood, Australian sandalwood, is also used for essential oil production but the Indian sandalwood is considered superior and is thus the one of choice.

Sandalwood has been used for its perfume for some four thousand years in the East. In powdered form it is burned as incense and it has been used as a component in the embalming process. Its ceremonial and religious uses include weddings, funerals and festivals. It was also used therapeutically in Eastern traditional medicine for fighting off disease. The wood was used for building and for ornamental carvings, in particular for temples.

Essential Oil

Sandalwood oil is obtained from the heartwood of the tree, which has previously been dried and powdered, by steam distillation. It is used as a perfume and a fragrance fixative in cosmetics, aftershaves, colognes and perfumes. It is one of the essential oils that appeals equally to both sexes. This oil is a component of many varieties of incense. It also has value as a flavoring in some commercially produced food and drinks.

Sandalwood oil is safe to use in massage, bathing, skin care and inhalation. It will do much to relieve anxious feelings of depression. It has a relaxing, soothing effect on the spirits. It is cooling, quietening and calming and is often used by those who meditate. Sandalwood oil can help break the vicious circle of insomnia, wherein the sufferer has trouble sleeping, becomes anxious about not sleeping and then finds it even harder to sleep because of the anxiety. Sandalwood will induce a state of relaxation that is conducive to sounder, easier sleep.

The skin can benefit from the use of sandalwood oil as an emollient and anti-inflammatory agent on dry, cracked and tender skin. It cleanses and softens and is pleasant to apply in dilution to the face after shaving. It is also mildly astringent. Its fragrance has an almost universal appeal. Sandalwood is also valued for its aphrodisiac properties and is believed to increase sexual enjoyment, in particular for men

Used in the bath, sandalwood oil is extremely beneficial to the genitourinary system and can help in the treatment of vaginitis, leucorrhoea, cystitis and urethritis. It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic and can also be used to treat some sexually transmitted diseases.

Used in steam inhalation, sandalwood can help in the treatment of dry coughs and heavy, mucousy colds. It is an effective decongestant and can help to clear catarrh.

Suitable Methods of Use


None. Sandalwood oil is nontoxic, non-sensitizing and nonirritant.

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