Arab Times – June 12, 2005
Sandalwood is one of those really oriental herbs that
people in the West associate with Eastern lands,
pungent, spicy foods, and mostly India. Sandalwood is
indeed a lovely, woody, sensuous, exotic, mysterious
aroma that stays with you, attracts you, and is a
known aphrodisiac as well!
The scientific name for sandalwood is “Santalum
album”. Many people use the wood itself for scenting
their clothing, drawers, and closets. The use of
sandalwood dates back to before written history, and
the first known use of sandalwood goes as far back as
4000 years! In fact, historically, it is mentioned in
the Bible that God ordered Solomon to build the
furniture for his temple from sandalwood, thus the
aroma would penetrate the place. But, the most
important use for sandalwood is more medicinal than
that, and the essential oil of sandalwood is derived
through steam distillation, as are most essential
oils. Sandalwood gives a very deep, woody aroma that
is considered a base note to any aromatherapy blend
that it is a part of.
Sandalwood mostly comes from
India (although it is found in other areas, even as
far away as Australia), and the “Mysore” sandalwood is
considered the best. The essential oil is gotten from
the wood itself, and you can find many things,
nowadays, made of aromatic sandalwood, including
hand-carved worry beads that smell divine. An
interesting bit of information about sandalwood is
that it takes 30 years of growth before the tree gets
to the point where essential oil can be extracted from
it! The problem that we will be facing now is the
increasing price, since the tree is fast becoming
extinct, and India has been curbing essential oil
harvesting and production, in fact, every single
sandalwood tree is now controlled by governmental
In India it is used as a medicine, in beauty
treatments, soaps, and as incense as well as for
furniture and other more artistic objects.
Additionally, it is known to keep away ants, and in
that capacity, it is also extremely useful. The
ancient Egyptians used sandalwood as well, and it was
a part of their embalming recipe. Sandalwood was also
known amongst the Greeks, Romans, and Chinese for a
variety of reasons, including medicinal and religious
As for the medicinal uses that are found with
sandalwood, I will try to list them all here, but I
will probably miss a few, if not more, since there are
so many fantastic uses for this wonderful essential
oil that there will probably not be space!
Medicinally, sandalwood essential oil is good for all
sorts of respiratory ailments, including colds and
bronchitis. It acts as a decongestant, antiseptic, and
antispasmodic (for reducing coughing). It is also
great for throat inflammations like laryngitis.
It is great for skin problems such as excessive
dryness (even chapped or cracked skin will benefit,
excessive oiliness, skin sensitivity, aging skin,
scarring, stretch marks, acne, and even eczema. It is
also great for scalp problems, and dandruff.
Sandalwood is particularly famous for dealing with
psychological problems, especially depression, stress,
nervous disorders, insomnia, nervous tension, and
headaches. It is good for calming, reducing
aggression, and increasing concentration and
It is known to help with impotence, and will help as
an aphrodisiac as well.
It is great as a natural diuretic, for those suffering
from water retention, as well as helping bladder
infections. It also is great for heartburn, nausea,
diarrhea, and even dysentery.
Sandalwood is a general antiseptic, and as such is
great for infections, and inflammations. It even kills
bacteria, and in that light, can help with all sorts
of fungi, including athlete’s foot. It also helps to
strengthen the immune system.
It is great for aches and pains, including sciatica,
all sorts of neuralgia, muscle spasms, It will help to
strengthen the connective tissues.
Sandalwood is considered a heart regulator, as a
general cardiac tonic, and it helps to increase the
circulation, and helps with varicose veins.
And, these are just a few of the things that
sandalwood does! So, as you can see, sandalwood oil is
one of those important essential oils that can be used
for practically everything! Plus, it’s common around
these parts of the world, and so is readily available,
although it is fairly expensive.