Sandalwood – Benefits, Uses and Interesting Facts

Posted by Dima Gouralnik on

The spicy, woody, warm, sweet aroma of Sandalwood makes it a very important ingredient in oriental perfumes. Almost 90% of East Indian Sandalwood is used in perfumes, soaps and cosmetics.

The Sandalwood tree reaches maturity at age 40 and reaches heights of 50 feet. The centre of the trunk is called the heartwood and it is the heartwood and the roots which contain the beautifully fragrant oil.

The greatest oil content is reached at maturity and steam distillation is used to extract the oil. One mature tree can yield up to 200 kg of oil.

Santalum Album

Santalum Album is indigenous to South India and is unfortunately nearly extinct. Years of poaching and over-harvesting due to huge demands of the perfume industry has taken its toll.

The ecologically responsible alternative to Indian Sandalwood is grown on a large scale in Western Australia. Here the tree grows to a height of about 20 feet and bears fruit within a period of 5-10 years.

Australian Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum)

Australian Sandalwood has a woody soft scent with a balsamic undertone.

The exporting of Australian Sandalwood to China goes as far back as the mid 19th century in 1844. The Chinese used the oil to produce incense for Buddhist worship.

The Australian Sandalwood Tree is native to a large portion of Western Australia, where it grows about 20 feet tall and bears fruit within five to ten years. The stem, branches, and root ball are all placed through steam distillation to extract Sandalwood Australian essential oil. This distillation process can take four to seven days, which contributes to the oil’s cost.

Due to its popularity, the Australian government has limited harvesting to sustainable levels. This has helped this popular oil to remain an ecologically responsible alternative to wild Indian Sandalwood.

New Caledonian Sandalwood (Santalum Austrocaledonicum)

New Caledonian Sandalwood essential oil is a variety cultivated sustainably to meet the demand for Sandalwood without endangering the Santalum Album.

The New Caledonian Sandalwood tree is native to the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. The small tree flowers after a period of 6-7 years. Fruit matures in a short period of three months.  Sandalwood is obtained by using the process of steam distillation of the wood.

To produce valuable Sandalwood oil with high fragrance levels, Santalum trees need to be a minimum of 15 years old.

Interesting Facts About Santalum Album

It is an evergreen tree that grows from Sandalwood fruits resembling small black berries. Germination from the seeds of the fruits takes about 20 days.

The roots of these seedlings attach themselves to nearby plants, grasses and trees. The young tree depends on other plants for nourishment for a period of 7 years and in doing so cause the other plants to die.

History Through The Centuries

This fragrant essential oil has played a huge role in many different religions and the Sandalwood tree is considered holy.

In Hinduism Sandalwood paste is used in rituals and ceremonies and

In Jainism Sandalwood paste is mixed with saffron.

In Buddhism the oil is used to produce incense for worship

While Chinese and Japanese religions use it in worship and different ceremonies.

Health Benefits Of Sandalwood Essential Oil

  • It is believed to improve mental clarity; this is one of the reasons why it has played such an important role in various religions.
  • A natural aphrodisiac, just add a few drops to massage lotion and mix with Ylang Ylang or Rose oils.
  • Tired skin is soothed when applied and it has anti-viral and anti-septic properties.
  • It contains anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for use in minor skin irritations.
  • Also good to apply to insect bites and is excellent to treat dry red skin.
  • Rich in antioxidants it will help skin stay youthful when applied to face for its anti-ageing benefits.
  • Sandalwood also has astringent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant and sedative properties.
  • The scent of this fragrant oil has a calming and relaxing effect on you and will help aid in sleep. Many use it while meditating. Blend with Frankincense or Lavender.
  • Soothing on the digestive system, stomach, circulatory and nervous system makes this oil an excellent heart tonic.
  • It has strong anti-bacterial properties equal to Tea Tree oil.

Add some today to your growing collection of essential oils and enjoy its endless benefits!


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