Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood is the name of a class of fragrant woods from trees in the genus Santalum. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and unlike many other aromatic woods, they retain their fragrance for decades. Sandalwood oil is extracted from the woods for use. Both the wood and the oil produce a distinctive fragrance that has been highly valued for centuries. Consequently, the slow-growing trees have been over harvested in many areas.

Sandalwood is one of the main ingredients in perfumes, incense, lotions and body oils. For over 2000 years it is one of the most important perfume materials used in Asia and in India. It’s valued for its spiritual and medicinal qualities and is considered the most sacred of all trees used as an important part of devotional rituals and religious practices. Sandalwood has been used by humans as oil, scented burning sticks and aromatic carving wood for centuries.

Sandalwood can be finely carved and has a beautiful scent. The most common carvings are of Hindu Gods. Hindu pilgrims might buy one of these figures as a souvenir when they have visited a shrine. Artisans carve blocks of wood by hand, spending years learning how to make the intricate designs. Sandalwood is used in making animal figures, boxes, cabinets, trays, chess sets, walking sticks, and a variety of small carved articles, such as boxes, cabinet panels, jewel cases, combs, picture frames, fan handles, pen holders and card cases etc. A large amount of craft work is exported or sold to tourists. This provides an income for many people in India, who often form craft and trade co-operatives to support each other.

Indian sandalwood is a threatened species. It is indigenous to South India, and grows in the Western Ghats and a few other mountain ranges such as the Kalrayan and Shevaroy Hills. Although sandalwood trees in India and Nepal are government-owned and their harvest is controlled, many trees are illegally cut down. Sandalwood oil prices have risen to $2,000 per kg recently. Sandalwood from the Mysore region of Karnataka (formerly Mysore), and Marymoor forest in Kerala, southern India is high in quality. Sandalwood or Chandan tree was extensively used as traditional cosmetic agent before the invention of modern cosmetic products. Apart from being used as cosmetic product, sandalwood or Chandan was also used as medicine for many diseases, some of which include headaches, fevers, inflammations and skin diseases.

Benefit & Uses:

The extracts of sandalwood possess anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties against some of the common stains of fungi, bacteria and viruses. Apart from these sandalwood extracts also possess insecticidal properties.

Sandalwood extracts were effective in controlling ulcers in research studies, where animals with ulcers developed by stress and aspirin administration were tested. The experiments showed that sandalwood extracts controlled ulcer formation to a considerable extent.

One of the essential oils found in sandalwood, has been studied for its efficacy on skin. Studies suggest that it has the potential to prevent skin cancer and has also reported to possess chemo preventive effects.

Sandalwood along with neem, bhringaraj, nirgundi, sobhanajana, punarnava, satapatri and madhu extracts are mixed to form a classic Ayurvedic formulation which is used in ocular disorders like refractive error correction and also in cataracts.

The active ingredients in sandalwood are santalols, which should make up to about 90% of the oil. These compounds have anti-bacterial activity. Extracts of sandalwood have also been used to treat urinary infections. However, the medicinal properties of sandalwood have not been fully studied and thus they should only be used under the supervision of a qualified doctor or herbalist. It is used internally in chronic bronchitis, a few drops on sugar giving relief; also in gonorrhea and gleets; in chronic cystitis, with benzoic and boric acids. Much used as a perfume for different purposes. The wood is used for making fancy articles and is much carved.

 

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