The health benefits of Sandalwood essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, astringent, cicatrisant, carminative, diuretic, disinfectant, emollient, expectorant, hypotensive, memory booster, sedative and tonic substance.
The essential oil of sandalwood is extracted through steam distillation of pieces of wood from matured Sandalwood trees which are 40-80 years old, although 80 years is preferred. The older the tree, the more oil is available, and the aroma is stronger.
As far as quality is concerned, Indian Sandalwood (botanical name Santalum Album) is considered best. There are two more varieties, namely the Hawaiian Sandalwood (Santalum Ellipticum), which is quite expensive, and the Australian Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum) which is not overly beneficial, but is commercially more in use, since the first two varieties are rare and subsequently expensive; the Indian variety is on the verge of extinction and is exorbitantly expensive. The main constituents of the essential oil of sandalwood are Beta Santalol, Santyl Acetate and Santalenes.
For centuries, sandalwood has reserved a place of dignity and respect in many civilizations and religions of the world, especially in the Hindu Religion, where it is considered holy and indispensable in almost all of the social and religious rituals and ceremonies, from the birth of an individual until their death. In every step, sandalwood is required. It is offered to the various Hindu gods and goddesses, used in decorating babies on their birthdays, used in marriages to decorate brides and bridegrooms, mixed with flowers and other ceremonial offerings, used to embalm bodies and foreheads which is a common practice among people of many communities in India, and it is also burnt with the pyre when cremating the dead.
Sandalwood oil and the paste of sandalwood is used in medicines, skin and beauty treatments and numerous industrial products including mouth fresheners, edibles, incense sticks, room fresheners, deodorants, perfumes, soaps, lotions, and creams. It has some really remarkable medicinal properties, which we will explore in greater detail below.
Antiseptic: The essential oil of sandalwood is very good as an antiseptic agent. It is safe for both internal and external applications. When ingested, it helps to protect internal wounds and ulcers from infections. Similarly, when applied to the skin, it protects wounds, sores, boils, and pimples from developing infections or from becoming septic.
Anti-inflammatory: Both sandalwood paste and its essential oil are very effective as anti-inflammatory agents. They have a nice cooling effect and provide relief from all types of inflammation in the brain, digestive, nervous, circulatory, and excretory systems that result from infections, fevers, side effects of antibiotics, poisoning, insect bites, or wounds. Sandalwood essential oil is particularly beneficial in cases of nervous and circulatory inflammations.
Antispasmodic: Being both relaxant and sedative in nature, this oil works great against spasms. It relaxes nerves, muscles and blood vessels, thereby ending spasms and contractions. Thus, it is helpful in treating problems associated with spasms, such as cramps, aches, and coughs.
Astringent: Although it is very mild, this essential oil has some astringent properties which induce contractions in the gums, muscles and skin. This proves beneficial in terms of strengthening the hold of gums on the teeth, the strengthening of muscles, and tightening of the skin.
Cicatrisant: The essential oil of sandalwood soothes the skin and helps scars and spots to heal much faster. It is a very old practice to use paste of sandalwood as a skin pack. The same effect can be obtained from using this essential oil. This oil is now extensively used in skin care soaps, lotions and creams.
Carminative: The Essential Oil of Sandal Wood, being relaxant in nature, induces relaxation in the intestines and abdominal muscles, thereby facilitating the removal of gases. Also, it prevents excess gases from forming.
Diuretic: Due to its relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes inflammation in the urinary system and induces relaxation, thereby promoting the easy passage of urine. It also increases the frequency and quantity of urination. This helps in treating infections and inflammation in the urinary system, because it flushes out dangerous toxins in the urine.
Disinfectant: It is the disinfectant property of sandalwood essential oil that justifies its wide use in religious ceremonies and cosmetics. Its fragrance keeps away microbes and small insects, which is why it is extensively used in incense sticks, sprays, fumigants and evaporators to disinfect large areas. Moreover, this oil can be mixed with bathing water or other lotions or oils to apply on the skin and wounds to ensure their protection from infections. This oil can also be safely taken with milk to cure internal infections, such as those of the throat, esophagus, stomach, intestines, and excretory tracts.
Emollient: Sandalwood Oil soothes the skin, relieves it from inflammation and irritation, cures infections and keeps you feeling fresh and cool.
Expectorant: Sandal Wood Essential Oil behaves as an expectorant and is particularly effective in treating coughs. It also fights the viral infections which initially cause the coughing, cold, flu, mumps, or any other illness.
Antiphlogistic: As mentioned above, sandalwood oil has antiphlogistic properties and gives relief from inflammation resulting from fever and viral infections.
Hypotensive: This is a very useful property of sandalwood essential oil. It can be taken with milk or even water to reduce blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension. The paste of sandalwood has the same effect when topically applied to various parts of the body.
Memory Booster: It improves memory and stimulates your powers of concentration. It also keeps the brain cool and relaxed and saves you from undue stress and anxiety.
Sedative: This oil sedates inflammation, anxiety, fear, stress, and restlessness. Furthermore, it induces relaxation, calmness, concentration, inner vision, and positive thoughts.
Tonic: This oil can be a very good health tonic for anyone, especially for growing children. It can be safely given to children, while many other essential oils are not. Since it is soothing on the stomach and the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems, it helps these systems function in harmony and without any abnormalities.
Other Benefits: Some people use sandalwood essential oil as a deodorant to relieve body odor.
A Few Words of Caution: No risks have been associated with sandalwood essential oil, except that it is recommended not to be used raw on the skin. For application on the skin, it should be mixed with some type of carrier oil.
Blending: Bergamot, Black pepper, Geranium, Lavender, Myrrh, Rose, Vetiver and Ylang-Ylang blend very nicely with sandalwood essential oil for aromatherapy uses.