The aromatic Sandalwood needs no introduction. It belongs to the family Santalum and is a sturdy stem, yellowish in color with a fine texture. It’s oil, paste and powder has been used to make perfumes and in the cosmetic industry since time immemorial. Its medicinal benefits are also well known across the world. It is one of the most expensive woods in the world and has a sweet woody aroma (perhaps the reason why sandalwood essential oil is also expensive; it is so expensive and sought-after that its whole trunk is removed during harvesting). The tree itself is quite interesting as it is a hemi parasitic tree. The roots of the tree get its nutrition from other host plants. Some of the host trees for sandalwood are Dalbergia latifolia, acacias and pyerocarpus indicus. Research showed that the best host for sandalwood was Dalbergia. In India, the best host for sandalwood is Azadirachta indica, commonly known as Neem plant. The scientific name for sandalwood in India is Santalum album. It is predominantly found in the Ghats or hilly regions of South India.
In India, sandalwood finds mention in the ancient and revered texts called Vedas. It is even believed that heaven has the aroma of sandalwood. There is also a famous proverb which goes like this – “Just as the sandalwood tree imparts its aroma to the axe that cuts it, humans should impart their goodness even to those who harm them”. Sandalwood paste is extensively used in Ayurveda, the science of medicine of the sages. It treats and mitigates the three doshas of the human body. The paste has a cooling effect when applied on the body. It is also mentioned in the scriptures how sandalwood is used to treat other health conditions
Today, sandalwood essential oil is the most popular essential oil due to its woody milky scent and the multitude of benefits that it offers.
Sandalwood Essential Oil Uses
Sandalwood essential oil for skin care
Skin care – The primary reason why people prefer to choose sandalwood essential oil over other oils is its effect on skin. In ancient times, it is believed that the kings and queens used to apply sandalwood paste on their body to have radiant skin. According to Ayurveda, skin problems such as acne, white and black heads, redness etc. are caused due to the Pitta doshas. The active ingredients present in sandalwood restore the damaged skin cells and prevents various skin conditions. And unlike in ancient times, sandalwood essential oil for skin is easily available online at nominal rates. Besides treating and preventing skin conditions, Sandalwood oil also makes the skin radiant and wards off external agents that harm the skin. It can also be applied topically on wounds and burns for healing and reducing scars. It is also effective in mitigating the symptoms of severe skin conditions such as psoriasis and rosacea. It offers some relief to those suffering such disorders.
Face packs – Adding a few drops of sandalwood oil in face packs is effective for any skin type and it can be done at home.
Acne – The most common skin complaint is acne. Children and adults both suffer from this problem. Here’s a simple solution with sandalwood essential oil. Make a paste of sandalwood oil with curd and aloe vera gel and apply it topically on the acne spot for some time. Try it a few days to see the difference. How does it work? Well, the antibacterial property of sandalwood kills off the microbes near the region and soothes the region.
Mixing curd and sandalwood essential oil has many other benefits. For instance, adding a tinge of honey, lemon juice (or lemon essential oil) and turmeric powder makes for an excellent pigmentation mask. This mixture can be used to reduce tan. Another face pack with rose water and chickpea flour can whiten the skin. All these face packs should be tried for several days to see any effect.
Sandalwood essential oil for hair
Other than skin care, sandalwood also benefits hair health. Common hair issues such as hair loss and dandruff are treated with sandalwood oil. It does so because of its astringent property, which shrinks the body’s tissues. Sandalwood oil can be blended with other essential oils such as lavender for hair growth.
Sandalwood essential oil for oral health
The astringent property of sandalwood oil tightens the gums, thus strengthening the muscles. This prevents gum diseases such as periodontitis.
Sandalwood essential oil for improving immunity
The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of this oil cleanse the body and stimulate the production of WBCs or white blood cells. WBCs help the body fight against diseases and several infections. This effectively boosts the immune power of the body.
Sandalwood essential oil for serenity
Essential oils have a sedative property and sandalwood oil is no different, and hence it is used as a relaxant. The mild sedation that this oil has can soothe the nerves. Ideally it should be inhaled or applied topically on the feet to produce the calming effect. A night’s sleep with sandalwood fragrance in the room will boost the energy levels the next morning. It has been clinically proven that sandalwood essential oil can work as a relaxant.
Sandalwood essential oil for treating infections
The oil has antiseptic properties which is useful in treating or lowering the symptoms of bacterial urinary tract infection (UTIs), sore throats and bladder inflammation.
Sandalwood essential oil is easily available in the markets and online stores, but it is always good to know how one can make it at home. It is quite simple. The first ingredient is of course sandalwood powder or clumps. These clumps should be crushed and mixed with oil, preferably neutral oils such as coconut or olive oil. It should then be left for a week. The oil can be extracted by squeezing it out from the sandalwood powder. In case it is too tedious, buy a bottle of sandalwood essential oil at a reliable store from a trustworthy vendor.