At Foodcraft we believe that food is our medicine and herbs are our powerful healing partners for physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts used for a variety of purposes, including aromatherapy, skin care, and natural remedies.
We like to share the benefits of essential oils by focusing on specific oils in each blog.
Sandalwood has been a highly valued plant since prehistoric times. Not only are they commercially important, these shrubs are also culturally important. Sandalwood essential oil is used in aromatherapy, cosmetics and for its medicinal value.
Sandalwood (Santalum sp.) is a small, semi-parasitic plant native to parts of Asia such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Hawaii, and Australia. About 15 species of sandalwood are grown worldwide. So on your next trip to Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Philippines or Australia, make sure to take some home with you.
The flowers and wood of this plant are collected for their oil. It takes 10 to 30 years to harvest the tree because it is believed that the effectiveness of the oil depends on age. The heartwood or center of the wood is where sap is mainly extracted. It is considered to be the most expensive wood in the world because of its oil.
The two main components of sandalwood oil, a-santalol (45.8%) and b-santalol (20.6%), are what give sandalwood oil its distinctive woody scent that is described as rich and earthy, making it a favorite among perfumers.
History of sandalwood oil use
Sandalwood essential oil has been used in everything from cosmetics to medicine and even in religious rituals.
Sandalwood is an important part of religious beliefs in some Asian countries. They are associated with gods, used in sacred rituals. It is one of the most common scents used in temple incense.
Sandalwood oil began to be used in Egypt and India around 3100 BC. The Egyptians used this oil in the embalming process to preserve the dead. Hindus embalmed the dead bodies of their leaders with sandalwood oil to elevate them to higher incarnations.
Apart from its many uses in various cultural events, the essential oil of sandalwood is also highly valued in making beauty products. It is soothing and moisturizing, making it an ideal ingredient in soaps, creams and other beauty products. Its smell makes it an important ingredient for most perfumes.
Sandalwood essential oil has been used therapeutically and medicinally in the past. And with technology, it evolved further, thus incorporating oil into many things we use today.
Benefits of using sandalwood essential oil
Antiseptic and anti-viral
The antiseptic properties of sandalwood essential oil make it perfect for treating wounds, cuts, sores and even acne. It prevents the occurrence of infection. It has been found that this oil can work against certain strains of bacteria, such as streptococcus and staphylococcus.
This essential oil has also been found to work against common types of viruses like herpes. It prevents the virus from replicating further thus proving to be an effective anti-viral means.
Sandalwood essential oil is used with other compounds to make a paste that is used in wound care.
Due to its antiseptic properties, sandalwood oil can also be used to disinfect household items.
Sandalwood oil helps with mild skin inflammations such as insect bites, acne and rashes by having a cooling effect, which provides relief. Based on a study, certain compounds in sandalwood essential oil can reduce inflammatory markers in the body, making it not only effective against skin irritations but also providing relief from muscle inflammation, the digestive system, and even the circulatory system.
For a healthy respiratory system
Sandalwood essential oil has been used to relieve symptoms of respiratory infections and has proven to be an excellent expectorant. It is effective in treating cough and also works against cold and flu. A blend of sandalwood essential oil with myrrh essential oil works to benefit the respiratory system.
Sandalwood essential oil has been proven to reduce stomach pain. It works against microorganisms that contribute to the development of ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.
Sandalwood essential oil has a calming effect that can promote better sleep. This is due to the presence of the beta-santalol compound, which has a mild sedative effect.
Boosts the immune system
Sandalwood oil, when used in aromatherapy, can boost the immune system. It triggers the production of white blood cells that act against infections and foreign bodies that can cause damage.
Increases mental alertness
Although it has a calming effect, inhaling sandalwood may cause a mild increase in blood pressure, pulse rate, and skin temperature. These effects actually improve brain function and are brought about by the alpha-santalol compound in the oil.
This effect may vary from person to person. For some, using sandalwood oil can bring a calming sensation while for other people it can increase alertness.
Several studies have shown that sandalwood essential oil can be easily effective concern. It helps keep blood pressure at normal levels and tension levels at bay. It improves mood by reducing spasms and contractions in muscles and nerves. Ylang-ylang essential oil and sandalwood are blended to improve mood and relieve stress.
Safety tips and warnings
Although sandalwood essential oil can be used topically, it is best not to apply the pure oil directly. Doing so can cause rashes, skin irritation and skin burns. Before using the oil, consult a doctor for advice.
When using sandalwood for massage, it is best to dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut or argan oil. A skin test is always recommended for sensitive skin.
Experts advise not to take the oil internally as it can cause some serious damage to the stomach and kidneys. The key to experiencing calming relief from sandalwood essential oil is the correct dosage. Prolonged exposure may cause increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Sandalwood oil should be kept away from children. For pregnant women, the first step is to consult a doctor before using the oil.
Credits: Innerfire Co