Sandalwood Essential Oil:
For many, sandalwood essential oil is one of the most fragrant of the essential oils. It has a unique aroma that makes it fit for use in many perfumes. Furthermore, in many bath and beauty products, like homemade soaps.
In addition, some explore this scent profile for religious purposes. For example, Buddhists emphasize this oil in spiritual sessions.
Sandalwood oil comes from the wood and root of Santalum Album. Sandalwood (Santalum album) is an evergreen tree, with the heartwood being the most precious part of the tree. The height of this tree can reach up to 9 meters. Like many essential oils, it has a deep history that spans back 4,000 years. Specifically, with uses in cosmetics, aromatherapy, within the practice of yoga, meditation, as well as several touted, medicinal uses.
Sandalwood oil itself is held tightly within the wood of the tree. The process of extracting the oil itself is slightly different then others. The wood itself is first ground into a powder form. Secondly, methods from steam distillation, hydro-distillation, CO2 extraction and absolute extraction, end with a beautifully fragrant essential oil.
However, the most used method remains steam distillation. The end result after cooling is a layer of oil and a layer of water. The oil then rises to the top, and can be collected.
Sandalwood oil is touted for several medical benefits. In addition, many applications exists for which the oil can be utilized. Many applications of this oil have been used in Traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. However, more research is needed to prove some of the suggested positive outcomes.
One of the more popular ways Sandalwood essential oil is used is with aromatherapy. Most notably would be specific blends or drops of the oil(s) in essential oil diffusers.
Popular Sandalwood Blends Include:
- clary sage
Important Compounds within Sandalwood:
a-santalol & ß-santalol are the two primary active components which are associated with the unique aroma that is produced with sandalwood essential oils.
Some Potential Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil:
The Potential For Increased Alertness:
One study conducted included participants whom inhaled East Indian Sandalwood essential oil vs. participants that inhaled a placebo or alpha-santalol (which is one of it’s main compounds). The study found that sandalwood increased pulse rate, skin conductance level, and blood pressure.
It’s important to note that these participants had increases in certain vitals. However, patients who received just the alpha-santalol, elicited higher ratings of attentiveness and mood.
A Potential For Anxiety Relief:
Research was conducted and reported in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Furthermore, indicating that aromatherapy massage using sandalwood essential oil on patients undergoing palliative care in 4 different counties, had an impact on helping to reduce anxiety.
Although there were limitations in data collection, the results do suggest at least some effect, of sandalwood essential oil on reducing anxiety.
The American College of Healthcare Science lists Sandalwood as one of the essential oils, along with basil, grapefruit, lime and sweet orange that can have a positive effect on reducing anxiety.
Potential To Help Fight Skin Cancer:
Some research and literature suggest that a compound called alpha-santalol (a main compound in Sandalwood oils), in cell-line and animal studies, have chemo-preventative effects without causing toxic side-effects. In fact, laboratory data showed anticancer effects on chemically induced skin carcinogenesis in mice.
This compound has also been linked to having anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiviral, and anti-bacterial activities.
Further studies on the same compound showed that it could help in the killing of cancerous cells.
Potential Wound Healing Support/Anti-aging & Inflammation Support:
Sandalwood essential oil contains anti-septic properties. Furthermore, making it suitable for use on both internal and external injuries. Internal injuries may include ulcers. One study found Sandalwood oil beneficial in preventing replication in viruses, such as Herpes simplex-1 and 2. Within the study explained, that it was dose dependent and more pronounced against HSV-1.
Applying sandalwood oil on your skin may protect against boils, wounds, pimples, and other injuries. It is also touted to have beneficial effects on psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and helping to even-out skin pigmentation.
A study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology stated that when olfactory receptors of skin cells are exposed to sandalwood, the resulting cell activity could facilitate wound healing.
A study in 2014, discussed sandalwood oil’s ability to mimic ibuprofen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID). A more recent study discussed sandalwood oils ability to improve neurological deficits, oxidative overproduction, and the inflammation cascade in cerebral ischemia in mice.
In addition, sandalwood essential oil has been suggestive to have;
- anti-aging benefits do to said astringent properties (helping to tighten skin),
- providing relief against spasms,
- improving digestion,
- aiding/regulating blood pressure.
Possible Side Effects of Using Sandalwood Essential Oil:
Sandalwood oil is safe when used in aromatherapy and occasional application on the body. As such, you should be careful applying it directly to your skin as some may have allergic reactions. Thus, resulting in irritation or rash. You may also find it better diluted within a carrier oil. For example, jojoba, coconut oil or sweet almond oil.
Always test the diluted oil on a small area of skin to note any potential sensitivities. If an allergic reaction occurs, discontinue use immediately and consult a licensed medical professional.
Surely, NEVER take sandalwood oil (or other essential oils) internally. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains.
As a precautionary measure, do not give sandalwood essential oil to children or use if pregnant. Importantly, consult a licensed medical professional before treating any condition with essential oils, included sandalwood.
Sandalwood is a must have if you’re an avid user of essential oils. However, one should be diligent in their research on any essential oil used in the terms of it’s healing properties. Furthermore, results may fluctuate based on the individual.
Oftentimes, essential oils are used as a complementary therapy, or for therapeutic aides when used in adjunct with other, more conventional therapies. Specifically, never stop any current regimens or therapies for any physical or mental ailments to solely rely on said oils.
Please share your experiences with this versatile essential oil, whether that be in soaps, lotions, incense, or aromatherapy blends.