Latin name: Santalum album
Synonyms: Yellow sandalwood, Indian sandalwood
Plant family: Santalaceae
Extraction: Distillation of the roots and heartwood, powdered and dried.
Origin: Native to Asia. India (Mysore) used to be the main area but now supplies are low and Mysore sandalwood is not easy to obtain. New Caledonia produces an oil almost chemically identical.
Plant characteristics: A small, evergreen tree about 9 metres high, sandalwood has brown-grey bark, from where the essential oil is distilled, leathery leaves and small pink flowers. The tree has to be over thirty years old before it is ready for the production of essential oil.
Oil characteristics: A yellow, thick oil with a sweet, balsamic, woody aroma with fresh overtones and a comforting base.
Traditional use: One of the oldest perfume materials with 4000 years of uninterrupted use. Chinese medics use it to treat stomach ache, vomiting, skin complaints and gall bladder conditions. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used for urinary and respiratory conditions and chronic diarrhoea.
It has a relaxing, harmonizing and calming effect, which reduces tension. Ideal for problems related to depression, fear, stress, nervous exhaustion, chronic illness and anxiety.
Chronic chest infections, sore throats and dry coughs as well as bronchitis and asthma can benefit greatly from this oil, as well as cystitis and bladder infections. It is also helpful with sexual problems such as frigidity and impotence.
On the skin, sandalwood oil relieves itching and inflammation of the skin, and is most effective in relieving dehydrated skin – making it great for anti-ageing skincare and the astringent action has a great toning effect and is also used with great results in oily skin conditions and to prevent the skin from forming scars.
Blends well with: Rose, black pepper, bergamot, rosewood and patchouli essential oils
Cautions and comments: There are no known contra-indications. Sandalwood is mainly used for making religious furniture and incense and is mentioned many times in the Bible and other religious writings as having antiseptic and ‘mysterious’ properties.
Main chemical constituents: Alcohol (A-santanol and B-santalol, sesquiterpenols), 65% – 90%
How to use?
4-5 drops in bath, on tissue or in a vaporiser. 15 drops in 50ml carrier.
WARNING – do not apply undiluted or internally. Keep away from children and eyes. Store in cool, dark place.