Sandalwood essential oil for body, mind and spiritCredit: istock
Sandalwood essential oil is truly an oil that works at all levels: body, mind and spirit. It’s use is recorded in Ayurvedic medicine as well as in the De Materia Medica (Europe’s first medical reference dating back to AD 78). It’s distilled from the wood of what is essentially a parasitic tree (it feeds on other trees through suckers attached to the roots), that is at least 25 years old before any oil is extracted.
Species of sandalwood
A high demand and limited supply has put this tree on the endangered list in parts of the world. There are around 7000 tonnes produced worldwide (2012 figures) and the demand clearly outstrips the supply. There is likely to be a lot of adulteration in oils and the production of incense sticks (one of the primary uses for sandalwood). One process I’ve heard used for making incense sticks is to spray cedarwood powder with plastics such as DEP (Diethyl Phthalate). This is a real nasty, so clearly the lesson is “buyer beware”.
Sandalwood is high in sesquiterpenes, which help stimulate the emotional centre of the brain.
In India, which is home to the Santalum album variety, it’s estimated that 90 per cent of the supply is poached on an annual basis. Even in Australia, which has overtaken India as a grower of sandalwood, it’s estimated that 20 per cent of the annual supply is poached. Australia has two species of sandalwood: Santalum album (which is cultivated) and S. spicatum (which is wild). The two species are similar, however I’m led to believe that S. spicatum is largely extracted using chemical solvents. Stay away from oil that has been extracted in this way and stick to that which has been steam-distilled. Another species of sandalwood that is very similar to Santalum album in aroma and constituency is S. paniculatum or Hawaiian sandalwood.
Let’s look at some of the uses for this essential oil.
Uses of sandalwood
Skincare. You can use this lovely oil in its own right, or mix it in blends (see the information below). It’s great for all skin types but particularly good for cracked, dry and ageing skin. You can use it in creams or compresses for eczema and acne. In my last post, I mentioned that you could use it for cold sores.
Perfumes and aftershaves. Sandalwood is regarded as an aphrodisiac. It makes a great base for perfume and aftershave blends, as the aroma lasts a long while. 
Supports the pulmonary system. Use it in a diffuser or inhale to help loosen and remove mucus or to ease bronchitis, dry coughs and sore throats.
Supports the urinary system. Use the sandalwood with a warm compress and/or massage for ailments such as cystitis and urethritis.
Emotionally. Sandalwood is high in sesquiterpenes, which help stimulate the emotional centre of the brain. It’s calming, assists sleep and helps to harmonise and balance one’s emotions. Diffuse it in a room and/or rub a few drops on your wrists and neck.
For spiritual activities. Sandalwood is considered sacred in many cultures. It has traditionally been used to help with meditation and is said to be both stimulating and grounding. Its frequency sits at 96 MHz, which is a level associated with the emotional and the spiritual levels. Sandalwood helps to diminish one’s egocentricity and open the heart. Diffuse it in a room 15 minutes prior to meditating, yoga or doing any kind of spiritual work. Alternatively, rub a few drops on the base of your neck, the temples, the third eye and your wrists.
Blending and usage data
Blend Classification: Modifier and equaliser
Blends with: Cypress, frankincense, lemon, myrrh, patchouli, spruce and ylang ylang
Odor Type: Base Notes (5-20 per cent of the blend); Scent: Soft, woody, sweet, earthy, balsamic and tenacious
Frequency: Approximately 96 MHz
Safety data: Not for children under the age of 6 and diluted for children over 6. To be used with caution during pregnancy.
Till next time!
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.
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