Sandalwood oil is commonly known for its woodsy, sweet smell. It is frequently used as a base for products such as incense, perfumes, cosmetics and aftershave. It also easily blends well with other oils.
Traditionally, sandalwood oil is a part of religious traditions in India and other Eastern countries. The sandalwood tree itself is considered holy. The tree is used for various religious ceremonies including weddings and births.
Sandalwood oil is one of the most expensive essential oils available on the market today. The highest quality sandalwood is the Indian variety, known as Santalum album. Hawaii and Australia also produce sandalwood, but it’s not considered to be of the same quality and purity as the Indian variety.
To get the most benefit from this essential oil, the sandalwood tree must grow for at least 40–80 years before the roots can be harvested. An older, more mature sandalwood tree typically produces an essential oil with a stronger smell. The use of steam distillation or CO2 extraction extracts the oil from the mature roots. Steam distillation uses heat, which can kill a lot of compounds that make oils like sandalwood so great.
Sandalwood oil contains two primary active components, alpha- and beta-santalol. These molecules produce the strong fragrance associated with sandalwood. Alpha-santalol specifically has been evaluated for multiple health benefits. Some of these benefits include improving blood glucose control in animal subjects, decreasing inflammation and helping to reduce the proliferation of skin cancer.
Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits
- Mental clarity
One of the primary sandalwood benefits is that it promotes mental clarity when used in aromatherapy or as a fragrance. Therefore it’s often used for meditation, prayer, or other spiritual rituals.
A study evaluated the effect of sandalwood oil on attention and arousal levels. The researchers found that sandalwood’s main compound, alpha-santalol, generated high ratings of attentiveness and mood.
Inhale some sandalwood oil next time you have a big deadline that requires mental focus, but you still want to remain calm during the process.
- Relaxing and calming
Sandalwood commonly makes on the list of essentials oils used in aromatherapy to relieve anxiety, stress and depression.
- Natural aphrodisiac
Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine traditionally use sandalwood as an aphrodisiac. Since it’s a natural substance that can increase sexual desire, sandalwood helps to increase libido and may help men with impotence.
Sandalwood is a mild astringent, meaning it can induce minor contractions in our soft tissues, such as gums and skin. Many aftershaves and facial toners use sandalwood as one of their primary ingredients to help soothe, tighten, and cleanse the skin.
If you’re looking for an astringent effect from your natural body care products, you can add a couple of drops of sandalwood oil. Many people also use sandalwood oil to fight acne and dark spots.
- Anti-viral and antiseptic
Sandalwood is an excellent anti-viral agent. It has been found to be beneficial to prevent replication of common viruses.
Other uses include the reduction of inflammation from mild skin irritation such as superficial wounds, pimples, warts or boils. Just make sure to always test the oil on a small area before applying it directly to the skin or mix it with a base carrier oil first.
If you have a sore throat, you can also gargle with a cup of water with a few drops of anti-viral sandalwood oil added to it.
Sandalwood is also an anti-inflammatory agent that may provide relief from mild inflammation such as insect bites, contact irritations or other skin conditions.
Sandalwood is an excellent expectorant that can be helpful in the natural treatment of colds and coughs. Add a few drops to a tissue or washcloth and inhale to help reduce the severity and duration of a cough.
Sandalwood is high in antioxidants that can help reduce damage caused by free radicals, which promote aging. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory.
Clinical trials reveal sandalwood oil’s ability to help naturally improve acne, eczema, psoriasis, common warts, and molluscum contagiosum.
Try adding five drops of sandalwood oil to an unscented lotion and applying it directly to the face for natural anti-aging benefits or to help treat acne and other minor skin concerns.
- Anti-cancer effects
Studies using an animal model demonstrate that sandalwood oil and its active component, alpha-santalol, act as chemopreventive agents. A topical application containing five percent sandalwood oil demonstrates chemopreventive effects on chemically induced skin cancer in ani mal subjects.
Meanwhile, lab research shows that alpha-santalol reduces tumor incidence and multiplicity in a time- and concentration-dependent manner.