This month, I would like to continue the aromatherapy series with one of my personal favorites; sandalwood. The reason I haven't written about sandalwood yet is that I was hesitating due to its low availability and high price. Sandalwood essential oil is steam distilled from the sandalwood tree. Trees used for essential oil production need to be 40-80 years old, with the oldest trees producing the most oil. The best, most beneficial variety comes from India, followed by trees found in Hawaii, and finally a variety found in Australia. Indian sandalwood is extremely expensive because the trees are nearing extinction, and the ones that are left are being illegally poached leaving fewer and fewer for legal harvesting. The Hawaiian trees are also dwindling and Hawaiian sandalwood too, is expensive and hard to come by. The Australian variety is less expensive and more readily available, but it is not as beneficial. Sandalwood is very versatile and can be used aromatically, internally, or applied topically. It is recommended that if you use it topically that it should be diffused in a carrier. Sandalwood is safe for both pregnant women and children. So what are the benefits of sandalwood?
Like many other essential oils, sandalwood is an excellent addition to your natural first aid kit. Because it is safe for internal use and is an antiseptic, it is a great addition to a healing ointment or spray. Try mixing it with other healing oils like lavender or tea tree to boost its disinfecting properties. It can be applied topically or taken in capsules, food, or drink to help protect internal wounds like ulcers and inflammation of the digestive tract.
Sandalwood is anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic. This means that along with cleaning and protecting wounds from infection, it can also dull the pain from inflammation. Try applying the paste or oil to skin irritations, cuts, insect bites, or rashes. It will also help reduce other kinds of inflammation such as fevers, infection, and inflammation of the nervous, circulatory, digestive, or urinary systems. If you are taking it internally to protect and cleanse internal sites of inflammation, sandalwood will also help reduce the pain associated with those things. As an anti-spasmodic, sandalwood will also help to relieve spasms, cramps, and coughs. It has also been reported to help reduce the pain and inflammation from endometriosis.
As an astringent, sandalwood is very beneficial as a skin tonic. It can help to tighten your skin and gums. Sandalwood is often found as a paste, or used in soaps, lotions, and other skin products because not only will it tighten, soothe, and cleanse your skin, but it can also help to reduce the appearance of scars and other blemishes. Sandalwood also helps to counteract free radicals, which means that it can help slow down some common signs of aging in the skin.
Fight common illnesses
Sandalwood is an expectorant meaning that it is excellent to help reduce a cough, and because of its anti-viral properties, it will not only ease your cough, but can help to kill the virus that is causing it in the first place. It is particularly effective at helping to clear up a cold, flu, or the mumps. Try breathing in the smell of sandalwood by diffusing it in the air, or placing a few drops on a handkerchief, or washcloth to smell.
Ease urinary trouble
Sandalwood works as a diuretic on the urinary system. This means that it causes less fluid to be absorbed and flushes things through the urinary tract more quickly. This can be especially helpful for people who are having trouble urinating or who are trying to recover from an infection in the urinary tract.
Ease digestive trouble
As mentioned above, sandalwood can be taken internally through capsules, or in food or beverages. It can help to protect and cleanse inflammation and sores throughout the digestive tract. In addition, sandalwood is also very effective at relieving gas pain, and even preventing excess gas to form in the first place.
Calm, relaxation, and meditation
Some of the best known benefits of sandalwood are those for the mind. This is also the most common reason people use sandalwood. For centuries sandalwood has been used as a holy oil, and is traditionally used in the Hindu culture in particular. Sandalwood is a sedative so it can help to reduce anxiety, fear, restlessness, and stress. Unlike some other sedative oils, sandalwood is calming but doesn't make you feel drowsy. Instead, sandalwood helps to improve your focus, clarity, and mindfulness. For this reason, sandalwood is very commonly used for meditation. Sandalwood also helps to improve memory, so it is also very beneficial for people who suffer from panic and anxiety attacks, or who have test anxiety. As a sedative, it is also very useful to aid in maintaining a healthy blood pressure for those who suffer from high blood pressure.
Another very common use of sandalwood oil is as an aphrodisiac. It is particularly effective for men who have trouble with their libido. Try mixing it with other aphrodisiac oils such as jasmine and ylang ylang and diffusing in the bedroom.
Many people like to use sandalwood as a natural deodorant. To increase its deodorizing benefits, try mixing it with oils like lavender and patchouli. To deodorize and clean the air in your home, try placing a few drops in your fireplace before lighting it, or diffusing it throughout your house with either incense or oil burners.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.