Indian sandalwood, Santalum album, is the tree used to produce sandalwood essential oil. Sandalwood originated in the Indian subcontinent but is today grown around the world.
Indian sandalwood is an evergreen tree which can grow to be up to 30-feet tall. It’s a very long-lived tree, and can live to be more than a hundred years old. It uses the roots of other trees to parasite on and boosts its growth. The tree’s bark can be reddish or brown, but it can be so dark that it looks black. The tree produces thin green leaves and small black fruits.
Extracting Sandalwood Essential Oil
The essential oil of sandalwood can be extracted in a variety of way. The oil is located in the tree’s heartwood. The traditional method of extraction was hydrodistillation. Steam distillation is a popular extraction method today. Other methods, like CO2 extraction, and absolute extraction, are also used.
Sandalwood essential oil has a sweet and woody scent. It’s often described as “divinely sweet.” It’s also exotic, slightly musky, sensual, and lingering.
How Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits the Body
Sandalwood essential oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a long history of use to treat minor wounds, sores, and pimples. These properties also make it a common ingredient in skin care products.
The essential oil of sandalwood acts as an astringent and cicatrizing agent. These properties are also in high demand for skin care products. They mean that sandalwood oil can tighten the skin and help it heal faster. Sandalwood is also highly regarded as an emollient.
Sandalwood essential oil also acts a diuretic. By reducing inflammations and relaxing, it facilitates urination. It also works as an expectorant. It can be used to help people who are coughing. Sandalwood oil also reduces blood pressure.
How Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits the Mind
Sandalwood essential oil has a calming and harmonizing effect on the mind. It can help clarify thoughts and leave us feeling refreshed.
The essential oil of sandalwood is helpful to people who need to still their mind. It reconnects us to our sense of being, and bring our body, soul, and mind into alignment. It can free the mind and allow us to use it for creativity.
People who tend to overthink things might benefit from using sandalwood essential oil. The oil reduces tension and is helpful in dealing with the effects of a hectic daily life.
Sandalwood Essential Oil Can Help Relieve Anxieties and Insomnia Caused By:
- Obsessive worry. Needs to overthink everything.
- Over-attachment and need for security
- Hectic lifestyle but feels isolated and alone
- Fatigue and agitation, a perfectionist attitude
Blending Sandalwood Essential Oil for Other Causes of Anxieties and Insomnia:
- Jasmine and Geranium – when feeling edgy, nervous and exhausted
- Vetiver and Lemon – continual and relentless overthinking unimportant issues
- Patchouli and Geranium – obsessively detailed, thorough and detached from life
Sandalwood in Ancient History
Sandalwood is a much-revered tree in many of India’s cultures. It has a special place in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. The ancient Egyptians used to import sandalwood and use it for medicine and in funerary rites.
Sandalwood was recommended for the worshiping of Shiva in Vamana Purana. It is believed that the goddess Lakshmi lives in a sandalwood tree. Sandalwood paste if much used in religious ritual and ceremonies in Hinduism.
Buddhists used sandalwood to help them stay alerted during meditation. Some Buddhists believed that sandalwood shared a common origin with lotus, an important plant in their religion.
Sufi Muslims applied sandalwood paste to the graves of their fellow Sufis as a sign of devotion.
Sandalwood in Modern History
Sandalwood was a major trading commodity during the eighteenth and the nineteenth century. Sandalwood became a part of the colonial trade between Australia and China. That trade propelled further discovery and contact with indigenous cultures of the Pacific.
At the same time, sandalwood essential oil was being used as medicine in the United States. The Indian Journal of Medicine, Volume 3 from 1872, contained a lengthy advert for sandalwood oil capsules. The advert containing the following claims:
“OIL OF SANDALWOOD is fast superseding every other remedy, sixty Capsules only being required to insure a safe and certain cure in six or eight days. For no other medicine can a like satisfactory result be obtained.“
Sandalwood Essential Oil Cautions
Sandalwood essential oil is considered to be a generally safe essential oil for use. However, using it undiluted on the skin shouldn’t be practiced. Pregnant and nursing women should also be careful when using sandalwood essential oil.