Sandalwood, scientifically known as Santalum, belonging to Santalaceae family, is an exceedingly aromatic wood that has high religious significance, especially for people of Japan and India. Of the 16 known species of Sandalwood, the three popular species are Santalum Album, Santalum Spicatum and Santalum Ellipticum. The most fragrant of all the species is found in Mysore region in India.
Sandalwood, used for more than 4,000 years, is sought after for its fragrance which can be retained for centuries, and its aromatic essential oil with various health benefits. The Egyptians mummies revealed the fact that their ancestors used sandalwood for embalming.
Another amazing quality of sandalwood is that termites do not attack it. It is an excellent insect repellent as well. Besides it medicinal values, its beautiful, durable, finely grained wood is used in making expensive furniture, jewelry, decorative wood carvings, toys, idols, incense sticks, ornaments, perfume, soaps and many more products.
The tree is hemiparasitic that penetrates roots of other plants for nutrients. The slow growing trees take nearly 60-80 years to reach maturity, at which they achieve good oil content in their heartwood and roots. The high demand and low supply of the sandalwood products led to overharvesting, thus leading to its depletion in many regions. Mysore which was once famous for its forests filled with sandalwood trees now has only immature trees that cannot supply wood or oil, since all mature trees have been harvested, despite government control.
Health Benefits of Sandalwood
The calming aroma of sandalwood is known to enhance mental clarity and provide relief from stress, depression and anxiety. It is known to help in meditation as it calms the mind, transforms desire and helps in extreme conscious state which is known as opening of the third eye.
It is also very popular as an effective aphrodisiac, which is used in treating fertility and sex related problems.
The disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties of sandalwood has seen its extensive use in treating skin disorders like sores, eczema, itching, boils, scrapes and bacterial infections. Moderate consumption of the sandalwood can prevent stomach infections and ulcers from getting inflamed. Sandalwood is an excellent moisturizer, providing relief from sunburn; in addition to removing blemishes and scars from skin.
Sandalwood possesses diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, antiviral and antispasmodic properties which have seen it being used to treat various health issues affecting human body.
Sandalwood is used in treating conditions like:
- Urinary tract infection
- Skin infections
- Skin cancer
- Respiratory infections
- Scar tissues
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil is extracted from the heartwood and roots of the mature tree. It is widely used in cosmetic industry due to its moisturizing, anti-ageing and anti-blemish properties.
When mixed with rosewater and turmeric, sandalwood essential oil provides relief from acnes and pimples; plus, it removes any scars or blemishes left by the infection effectively, leaving behind a clear skin.
For removing sun tan and uneven tones of skin, mix 5 parts of coconut oil with 2 parts of jojoba oil and 1 part of sandalwood oil. Massage gently on areas exposed to sun or having dark pigmentation. The skin will glow with even tone within a few days.