Sandalwood Oil: Benefits, Usage, Properties, and Side Effects
The exotic fragrance of Sandalwood essential oil has been valued for about 4000 years. Besides its marvelous aroma, the sandalwood oil benefits are astounding. It is one of the best oils for maintaining a soft, supple and glowing skin.
Let’s understand sandalwood oil’s history, chemical structure, properties, usage, benefits, and much more.
What Is Sandalwood Oil?
Sandalwood essential oil is extracted from the chipped heartwood and root of Sandalwood tree through steam distillation method.
India and Indonesia are the principal producers of Sandalwood essential oil. It has been a versatile oil for centuries and is well-known for its spiritual and emotional applications.
Sandalwood (Santalum album) is a small tropical tree that belongs to the Santalaceae family and can grow to a height of 30 feet.
The tree takes about 30 years to fully mature. It is usually uprooted in the rainy season (after 30 to 40 years) when it is fully grown.
The tree is parasitic. It has black or red barks, long leaves, small red flowers, and black fruits. It is also termed white sandalwood because the heartwood is white.
Scientific Name Of Sandalwood Oil
The botanical name of sandalwood is Santalum album.
History Of Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood has been an important trade item in the Silk route. You can find ancient carved religious sculptures, temples, and even palaces made of sandalwood trees. The tree can live for 1000 years.
It is still prized for its aroma throughout the world. In the eastern parts of the world, in India especially, Sandalwood is considered sacred and is a part of many religious ceremonies as well as traditional medicines. It is also used as herbal medicine in Tibet & China.
The heartwood has been used in incense, perfumes, and herbal medicine for thousands of years. In the ancient Egyptian civilization, sandalwood oil was available only to the rich. Its traces were found in the many mummies.
The Indian government is strictly controlling the production area and harvesting of the trees by following a sustainable growth policy.
Color, Consistency, and Smell Of Sandalwood Oil
- The color of sandalwood oil is clear to pale yellow.
- The consistency of sandalwood oil is medium to thick.
- The smell of sandalwood oil is soft, rich, sweet, warm, and woody.
Properties Of Sandalwood Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of sandalwood essential oil include:
- Antibacterial – Prevents bacterial growth
- Antidepressant – Alleviates depression
- Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
- Anti-infectious – Prevents uptake of infection
- Anti-inflammatory – Alleviates inflammation
- Antimicrobial – Prevents microorganism growth
- Antioxidant – Inhibits the process of oxidation
- Antiseptic – Kills the microbes and prevents them from further development
- Antispasmodic – Prevents or eases spasms, contractions or convulsions
- Aphrodisiac – Increases sexual desire
- Astringent – Contracts or tightens tissues
- Balsamic – Soothes sore throats, coughs, etc.
- Calmative – Sedative, calming agent
- Cicatrizing – Promotes the formation of scar tissue, thus healing
- Deodorant – Masks or removes unpleasant smell
- Diuretic – Promotes the removal of excess water from the body
- Emollient – Soothes and softens skin
- Hypnotic – Sedative effect
- Hypotensive – Lowers blood pressure
- Nervine – Acts on nerves; relieves nervous disorders
- Pectoral – Beneficial for diseases or conditions in the chest and respiratory system
- Regenerative – Tends to regenerate
- Restorative – Strengthens and revives the body’s systems
- Sedative – Relaxes psychological and physical activity
- Stimulant – Increases the overall function of the body
- Tonic – Invigorates, rejuvenates, and restores bodily functions
Chemical Compounds In Sandalwood Oil
The chemical composition of the sandalwood essential oil varies according to the:
- Age of the tree
- Place of production, and
- Method of oil extraction
Typically, the chemical components of sandalwood oil include (Z)-a-Santalol (46.2–59.9%), (Z)-b-Santalol (20.5–29.0%), (Z)-Nuciferol (1.1–5.5%), epi-b-Santalol (4.1–4.3%), (Z)-a-trans-Bergamotol (<3.9%), a-Santalal (0.5–2.9%), b-Santalal (0.6–1.9%), (Z)-Lanceol (1.5–1.7%), (E)-b-Santalol (1.5–1.6%), b-Santalene (0.6–1.4%), Spirosantalol (<1.2%), and a-Santalene (0.8–1.1%) (4).
Health Benefits Of Sandalwood Oil
Though the sandalwood oil benefits are abundant, the most prominent ones include:
- Rejuvenates your skin
- Prevents premature aging
- Eases heavy legs
- Heals vaginal tract infections
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Overcomes anxiety
- Promotes sound sleep
- Wards off bad odor
- Treats stubborn cough
- Fights depression
1. Rejuvenates your skin
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of sandalwood essential oil. It prevents you from skin eruptions, skin blemishes, scars, spots, eczema, or any kind of skin allergy.
The astringent property of the oil tones the skin and gives a flawless glow. The oil acts as a cicatrizing agent and helps to soothe the skin naturally (5).
Whether you have dry skin or oily skin, sandalwood comes in handy. All you need to do is wash the area and pat dry it. Mix 15 drops of sandalwood oil with 3 drops of chamomile oil and 3 drops of mandarin oil. Take 2 to 3 drops from the blend and dilute it using 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil. Apply the diluted oil on the skin during the night. Wash off with lukewarm water in the morning.
2. Prevents premature aging
Aging is a natural process. But how fast or how slow, depends on one's health condition and genes. Health issues play a crucial role in how your skin looks. Even chronic constipation would make you look old and cause damage to your skin. Wrinkles, dark circles, patches in the skin, loosening of skin are few of its symptoms (6).
The treatment requires a holistic approach. A systematic change in diet, lifestyle, exercise, and sleep is vital. A relaxed mind and a relaxed body can do a great deed. For relaxation, nothing works better than essential oils.
You can inhale the aroma of sandalwood essential oil to keep your mind calm and relaxed. Topical application of diluted essential oil helps you get rid of external skin conditions, tones up your skin and prevents recurrence.
3. Eases heavy legs
Have you ever felt your lower legs heavy, tired, and stiff at times? Well, you are not alone. One in two women suffers from heavy leg syndrome at least once in their lifetime. The legs swell due to blood circulation issues and even cause pale sores.
However, topical application of sandalwood essential oil increases blood flow and soothes the skin. Regular inhalation of the aroma would help you to relax and stay calm.
4. Heals vaginal tract infections
Your vagina creates a safe environment to balance the microflora in it. But any imbalance in the environment can increase the number of microorganisms. This leads to vaginal tract infection.
Essential oils can be used as a form of integrative medicine alongside other medications. Sandalwood is an excellent remedy for treating vaginal tract infection as well as vaginal inflammation (9).
Mix 10 drops of Sandalwood oil with 3 drops of Lavender oil and 3 drops of Chamomile German oil. Take 2 to 3 drops of the mixture and add it to 100 ml of Vitamin E cream or aloe vera gel. It is crucial that you use only unadulterated or purest oils.
5. Lowers high blood pressure
The hypotensive compounds present in the sandalwood essential oil help in reducing hypertension. High blood pressure is the result of stress and anxiety.
Taking the oil internally (via food or beverages) regulates blood pressure levels in the body. Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels requires a good lifestyle, proper diet, and exercise. Sandalwood essential oil makes the process easier. The aroma of the oil gives you a relaxed mind and sound sleep (10).
Add 2 to 3 drops of Sandalwood oil to a glass of milk or water to take it internally. If you are under any medication, consult a doctor before consuming the oil.
6. Overcomes anxiety
Living in the moment is divine. The fear of what’s to come is the opposite, and this is called anxiety.
Anxiety is the body’s response to stress. It is good as well as bad. It makes you more alert and ready to protect yourself from danger. Unnecessary stress and anxiety is harm. When the anxiety is out of control, then it is termed as a disorder.
Happily, sandalwood essential oil helps in easing the anxiety levels. This is due to its sedative properties. Inhaling the aroma of the oil helps you to overcome anxiety in a few seconds. But make sure not to use the oil before any activity that requires concentration (11).
7. Promotes sound sleep
A drop or two of sandalwood essential oil could give you the most luxurious sound sleep that you can ask for.
Sandalwood oil is a natural sedative. It has a calming effect on your nervous system, helps you to get rid of fears, eases tension and anxiety issues.
Hectic lifestyles, excess travel, use of gadgets, and other technological innovations have made sleep a luxury. However, the soothing aroma of sandalwood essential oil relieves emotional stress and the symptoms of depression (11).
All you have to do is to diffuse the oil in the room before you sleep. When you travel to far places, add a drop of sandalwood essential oil in your handkerchief and smell it twice. Make sure you do not drive.
8. Wards off bad odor
If you read the labels of natural and high-end beauty products (hair care, skin creams, or lotions), you are sure to come across the use of sandalwood essential oil in them.
Sandalwood oil keeps you cool and fresh for a long time. Scientific research has found that its chemical structure is one of the primary reasons for its rich fragrance. Hence, it deodorizes bad odor and keeps the environment smelling aromatic (12).
For this benefit, dilute 2 to 3 drops of sandalwood oil in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply the diluted oil immediately after a shower. This method helps you to moisturize the skin and acts as a deodorant as well.
9. Treats stubborn cough
A change in weather can be worrisome for a few people. They feel less immune and tired, which is usually accompanied by cough and cold.
One of the best health benefits of sandalwood essential oil is that it boosts your immune system and helps you to fight against viral infections. You can use it to prevent infections.
Whenever you notice a change in the weather or your body condition, add 2 to 3 drops of sandalwood oil to a warm bath.
10. Fights depression
The importance of mental health is often underrated. Though the cause of depression is not precisely known, it includes a complex combination of biological, genetic, environmental and psychological factors.
Essential oils would provide a magical cure when used appropriately. Sandalwood essential oil gives you instant relief from the symptoms of depression.
Mix 15 drops of Sandalwood essential oil with 10 drops of Rose Otto oil and 5 drops of Lemon oil. Take 2 to 3 drops from the blend and dilute it using 2 tablespoons of Olive oil. Massage your finger joints and rub on your chest to feel fresh. (13, 14)
What Blends With Sandalwood Oil?
Sandalwood oil blends the best with:
- Benzoin oil
- Cananga oil
- Cardamom oil
- Chamomile Roman oil
- Clary sage oil
- Coriander seed oil
- Frankincense oil
- Geranium oil
- Ginger oil
- Jasmine oil
- Juniper berry oil
- Lavender oil
- Lemon oil
- Linden blossom oil
- Mandarin oil
- Neroli oil
- Orange (sweet) oil
- Palmarosa oil
- Patchouli oil
- Petitgrain oil
- Rose oil
- Rose Otto oil
- Rosewood oil
- Spikenard oil
- Tuberose oil
- Valerian oil
- Ylang ylang oil
How To Use Sandalwood Oil?
Sandalwood oil may sometimes be adulterated. They do this by adding terpenes and other fragrant chemicals. In a few cases, they even add coconut oil, castor oil, or other chemicals.
Eastern African sandalwood oil may also be used as adulterants. Hence, it is necessary to be very cautious while purchasing one.
- Topical application: Sandalwood essential oil, like any other essential oil is concentrated and potent. It is always advised to use this oil in a higher dilution with an appropriate carrier oil. Perform a patch test before using it on the sensitive areas. A rare case of adverse skin reaction has been studied with sandalwood essential oil used in lower dilution. However, there is no evidence.
- Aromatherapy: The fragrance of sandalwood Essential oil is irresistible. It is always advised to diffuse the oil using a vaporizer or a diffuser.
- Ingestion: Sandalwood essential oil can be used internally. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor before using it.
Side Effects Of Sandalwood Oil
There are not much side effects studied in using sandalwood oil. However, it is better to be cautious while using it.
- Sandalwood oil is relaxing and sedative. Avoid using the oil before driving, operating machines, or any other work that requires your concentration.
- If you are suffering from any ailment, consult a doctor before using the oil.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a professional aromatherapist before using the oil.