Sandalwood is an aromatic evergreen tree of the genus Santalum with a hefty, yellow and fine-grained wood which was an integral part of perfumes, fragrances, colognes for times immemorial. Sandalwood oil and powder are used extensively for its impressive beauty and health incentives. It is second costliest wood in the world after African Blackwood and its unique scent is highly prized in ancient medicines for its innumerable therapeutic properties.
Sandalwood is a hemiparasite tree (which means it cannot live without being planted close to appropriate species like neem, pyerocarpus etc). The Indian sandalwood is scientifically termed as Santalum album which is a native species of South India and widely grown in the Western Ghats, Kalrayan and Shevaroy Hills. Sandalwood trees are grown in India, Pakistan and Indonesia which are government-owned, and the cultivation is monitored. Sandalwood oil is heavily priced at about 65,000 rupees per kg.
Red sander type of sandalwood is widespread in regions like Seshachalam, Veliganda, Lankamala, and Palakonda hill ranges, in the districts of Kadapa, Chittoor, and Kurnool in Rayalaseema region, Nellore and Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh, Mysore in Karnataka and Marymoor forest in Kerala, cultivates high-quality red sander.
It is clad by several vernacular names such as Chandan in Sanskrit and Hindi, Chandanam in Tamil and Malayalam, Gandham in Telugu and Srigandha in Kannada.
Santalum album is the most commercially cultivated wood treasured for its intense fragrance oil. The tree grows to a medium height of 30 feet and needs to be grown for 15 years for complete harvesting which yields high-quality yellow wood and strong-scented oil. Australia is the largest producer of this species. As sandalwood is the priciest wood and to make the best use of the wood, it is harvest by removing the entire tree at the trunk from the ground level.
Uses Of Sandalwood
The precious sandalwood oil is collected from the heartwood (centre) of the tree. It possesses a unique, gentle, warm, velvety and milky prized wood-scent which renders a long-lasting base to several perfumes. The value of the wood peaks as it grows older for more than 50 -60 years.
The wonder wood is ground into a powder and steam-distilled into oil for making soaps, cosmetics, candles, incense, medicine and perfumes. Sandalwood oil is extensively used in beauty products to enhance skin health. The isomers sanatol of sandalwood oil is used in aromatherapy products. The rigid outer wood is cast-off to make beads and engraved to make idols.
Sandalwood oil is valued by several religious societies including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The oil is a key component in the making of attar since ancient times.
How To Make Sandalwood Essential Oil At Home?
Get sandalwood powder or chips from stores
Use a mortar pestle to crush the chips
In a glass jar blend the powder with a cup of virgin olive oil and allow it to stay for a week, keep shaking it occasionally.
Strain the mixture and extract the oil by pressing the sandalwood powder as much as possible.
Store sandalwood essential oil in a glass bottler in dark cool place.
The sandalwood home-made oil is as effective as the one you buy from the store and may cause allergic reactions, so do a patch test before using it.
The Sandalwood tree is greatly esteemed in the Vedic books for its sacredness. Chandana or Indra’s Sandalwood tree named after Lord Indra as it spreads the fragrance to the whole of paradise. Sandalwood is cherished as the quintessence of fineness, rendering the aroma even to the axe that slashes it.
In Vedic books, any substance that is exceptional is termed as “Chandana” and used widely in sacred rituals to purify the divine abodes. Sandalwood oil soap owns natural antimicrobial and hydrating properties and works as a cleanser for all types of skin. Sandalwood oil heals the three doshas of the body - treats Vata, pacifies and balances Pitta and Kapha.
Sandalwood powder is blended with water into a fine paste which exerts a cooling effect when applied topically and eases Pitta heat and heals several other conditions like sunburn, acne, rashes, fever, herpes, sores and ulcers. Furthermore, sandalwood oil has remarkably beneficial in promoting the reproductive system, nervous system, muscular system and circulatory system health. Also Read: 5 Must-have Essential Oils for Monsoons
Healing Health Incentives Of Sandalwood Powder/ Oil
Promotes Skin Health
Sandalwood oil is an amazing oil that aids in curing skin conditions like dry skin, crackling, flaking and wrinkles. Imbalance of Pitta doshas makes the skin prone to acne, blackheads, redness and skin irritations. The goodness of sandalwood oil assists in restoring the damaged skin cells, promotes the skin complexion and maintain skin glow and radiance. The potent astringent, antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-aging and disinfectant properties of sandalwood oil shields the skin from harmful bacteria, virus and fungal attacks. Moreover, applying sandalwood oil topically on the affected skin areas facilitates in healing wounds, sores, scars, pimples, burns and averts infections. Also Read: Top 5 Essential Oils To Revamp Your Skin Health
Sandalwood DIY Face Packs
Sandalwood DIY face packs are proven natural remedy to treat skin problems as it assists in controlling oil secretions, acne, pigmentation and other skin problems. Try these easy to do DIY at home to get an instant glow and radiance.
Acne And Blackhead Removal Pack
Mix one teaspoon of sandal powder with one teaspoon of aloe vera gel and two teaspoons of curd to form a fine paste and apply on the affected areas of the skin. Let it stay for 30 minutes and rinse well with water. The potent antibacterial properties help to kill acne-causing bacteria and get rid of acne, scars and blackheads.
Suntan and Pigmentation Pack
Take one teaspoon of sandal powder mix with a teaspoon of curd, honey, turmeric powder and lemon juice and apply evenly on the face. Allow it to stay for 15-20 minutes and rinse well. This pack fades away suntan, dark spots and pigmentation. Also Read: 3 DIY Methods To Get Rid Of Skin Pigmentation Naturally
Fairer Skin Complexion Pack
Sandalwood powder works well for all types of skin for revamping skin beauty and glow. Mix one teaspoon of sandalwood powder with one teaspoon of besan flour, turmeric powder and rose water to a fine paste and apply well over the skin and let it stay for 15-20 minutes and wash well. Regular use of this face pack helps to revamp the skin texture, glow and fairer complexion.
Sandalwood oil is highly valuable in treating hair problems like dandruff and prevents hair fall. The strong astringent property of sandalwood oil is effective in warding off the excess sebum secretion in the scalp, treats split ends and enhance the hair lustre and growth. An amazing mixture of essential oils like lavender, cypress and sesame blended with sandalwood oil when massaged in the hair scalp aids in curing dandruff.
Sandalwood oil works well as an effective relaxant and sedative which helps to ease muscle spasms. Evidence showed that sandalwood oil aids to calm down nerves, muscles and blood vessels by lessening the spasms and contractions.
Sandalwood oil is a very mild essential oil and possesses astringent property. As per a study published on Morphology, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology the astringent properties present in the oil serve as disinfectants in the genitourinary, bronchial tract, diuretic, expectorant and stimulant. Furthermore, it also facilitates to strengthen the gums, preventing gum disease, muscles and tightens the skin.
The strong antiseptic property of this essential oil is valuable in treating bronchitis, cystitis, dysuria and urinary tract infections. In addition, due to its impressive astringent and antiseptic properties, it is also effective in treating inflammatory skin condition like psoriasis and eczema.
Bolsters The Immune System
Aromatherapy treatment with essential sandalwood oil can trigger the immune system and supports the body to heal. The aromatic oil stimulates the production of white blood cells, battles microorganism, boosts the immunity and keep diseases at bay.
Potent Anti Inflammatory Effect
Sandalwood powder and oil are strong anti-inflammatory agents, a study published in the Journal Of Herbmed Pharmacology 2016, revealed that the calming effect of sandalwood oil confers relief from inflammation of the gut, muscle, brain, excretory system and circulatory system. The essential oil controls the secretions of various pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines compounds.
Prevents Skin Cancer
Research published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics revealed that an active compound alpha-santalol in the sandalwood oil helps to battle skin cancer. Furthermore, several studies have proven that this active compound stimulates the death of cancerous cells and prevent the formation of cancer cells.
Stabilizes Blood Pressure
This wonder essential oil contains gentle sedative hypotensive agents that assist to lower the systolic blood pressure and remarkably stabilize high blood pressure levels. The oil is beneficial to ease physiological impacts of stress and lessen tension, which are common symptoms of hypertension. It also significantly alleviates headaches, uplifts moods and imparts positive emotions in those with hypotension.
The goodness of active compound santalol in sandalwood aids to lessen the waking time and enhances the total non-rapid eye movement (NREM) phase of sleep. This active compound is absorbed in the blood through the respiratory mucosa, thus efficient in inducing good sleep. Sandalwood essential oil serves as an excellent sleep promoter for people with insomnia and those who have a problem falling asleep.
Sandalwood oil has shown to exhibit potent expectorant effect and is effective in treating cough. The antiphlogistic properties provide relief from inflammation caused due to fever and other viral infections. Furthermore, it is also helpful to battle other viral infections, cold, flu and mumps.
The essential oil has been used extensively in traditional medicine to cure abdominal pain and vomiting. The potent antiviral and antibacterial properties of sandalwood oil combat helicobacter pylori which causes gastrointestinal disorders and ulcers.
Sandalwood oil has been used widely in aromatherapy and traditional massage oil. The essential oil facilitates to lessen anxiety and promotes a calming effect in individuals treated with aromatherapy massages. In addition, massaging the essential oil also enhances the skin glow and makes the skin look supple.
Sandalwood powder and oil help to sustain the natural fragrance and essence of soaps wholly. The soothing essential oil confers hydrating, anti-aging and moisturizing effects. It also has exhibited remarkable cleansing and toning properties which makes it an ideal ingredient in most of the beauty products, soaps and creams.
Sandalwood possesses a sweet, strong and enduring cologne. The goodness of its fixative properties is used to make top-class perfumes and essential perfume oil which stimulate mental clarity. To experience a calming effect, add a few drops of this essential oil to a diffuser or massage oil.
Sandalwood Aromatherapy At Home
Sandalwood essential oil can be used as aromatherapy oil at home which includes:
A cleanser for the skin
As a diffuser, add a few drops to your lotions
Air purifier, heat in a small kettle of water to refresh your home
Essential oil infuser can be used as vaporizer to get relief from headache or beat stress
To relax and soothe the body add it to your bathwater
Sandalwood powder and essential oil are considered safe within the recommended dosage. However, it may have minimal side effects such as dermatitis, itching and digestive problems. It is not recommended to be used raw on the skin, for applying on the skin always blend it with some type of base oil. No drug interactions have been reported with the use of sandalwood oil.
Sandalwood powder and oil are greatly valued for its incredible healing health benefits. The wood is esteemed for its imperative Ayurvedic properties and has a multitude of uses. The essential oil has been used since centuries for its spectrum of therapeutic and medicinal values.