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Guide To Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits and Uses

"Sandalwood brings our wisdom into a meditative state, quieting us so we can hear and rejoice in the choral singing of universal soul," writes aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul. She also says the emotional benefits of sandalwood essential oil (Santalum album) are to encourage warmth, sensitivity, serenity, harmony, peace, wisdom, insightfulness, and unity.

Aromatherapy supplies with the words A Guide To Sandalwood Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses and photo of a sandalwood tree.

Santalum album is also called East Indian sandalwood and is the focus of this profile. Other essential oils available include Santalum austrocaledonicum (New Caledonia sandalwood), Santalum paniculatum (Hawaiian sandalwood), and Santalum spicatum (Australian sandalwood).

The Indian medicine system of ayurveda values Santalum album for its ability to sedate the nervous system and cool the fire of pitta. The oil is considered cooling and useful for calming inflammation.

Sustainability is an issue with East Indian sandalwood. Programs are in place to help ease the concerns, including growing the plant in Australia.

Basic Sandalwood Facts

Plant family: Santalaceae

Production: Steam distilled from the tree's wood, once the tree is at least 30 years old (thus the sustainability issue). A CO2 extract is also available.

Aroma: Warm, balsamic, woody.

Perfume/Aromatic note: Base

Is sandalwood safe to use during pregnancy? Yes, according to Aromatherapy and Massage For Mother and Baby, but not during labor.

Is sandalwood essential oil safe for children? Do not use on babies.

Caution: Adverse skin reactions are rare but can happen.

Main components of Santalum album:

  • (Z)-alpha-santalol 46.2–59.9%
  • (Z)-beta-santalol  20.5–29.0%
  • (Z)-nuciferol         1.1–5.5%
  • epi-beta-santalol    4.1–4.3%

Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.

Sandalwood Aromatherapy Benefits

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: You can use sandalwood on all hair and skin types, although it's especially useful for mature, dry, acne-prone, or chapped skin. The essential oil may also help relieve depression, anxiety, stress, or insomnia and promotes spiritual practices, relaxation, openness, and becoming grounded. 

Essential Oils & Aromatherapy for Dummies: Sandalwood essential oil benefits all skin types and may help repair skin damage and encourage new cell growth. The scent is an aphrodisiac. A sandalwood syrup or chest balm can help relieve persistent coughs or sore throat.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Uses for sandalwood essential oil include helping relieve coughs, sore throat, swelling, scarring, insomnia, anxiety, nervous tension, exhaustion, and depression.

The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Use sandalwood essential oil for skin care, nausea, cough, laryngitis, sore throat, insomnia, nervous tension, depression, and stress-related complaints.

Aromatherapy For Healing the Spirit: Traditional Chinese Medicine considers sandalwood cool and decongesting, suitable for hot, inflammatory, and catarrhal problems. This essential oil is excellent for the skin, especially dryness, irritation, itching, and inflammation. The oil can also help relieve hot, agitated emotional states that lead to headache, insomnia, and nervous exhaustion. Because sandalwood can clarify and still the mind, it's useful for meditation, prayer, and spiritual practice.

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume 2: Psychologically, sandalwood promotes cognitive flexibility, integration and disinhibition, and strength and stability. Physically, the oil relieves congested/damp and restores hypotonic/weak terrain conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the essential function of the oil is to nourish the Yin, resolve damp, and calm the Shen. Suggested essential oil blends with sandalwood:

  • To help relieve chronic stress-related conditions with nervous exhaustion, insomnia, worry, or burnout: atlas cedarwood or patchouli.
  • To help reduce varicose veins or menstrual pain: geranium.
  • To help reverse loss of libido: scotch pine.

Essential Oils Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice: In ayurvedic aromatherapy, sandalwood is bitter, sweet, astringent, and cool. The oil controls the doshas but has more physical effects on pitta. The oil is also used to lighten and concentrate the mind.

Subtle Aromatherapy: Sandalwood is a meditation and visualization aid that quiets mental chatter. The essential oil is also useful for healing and has protective qualities. "One of [the oil's] greatest virtues lies in linking the Base with the Crown chakra."

The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing
: Sandalwood calms and quiets the mind. The oil is a meditation aide and help aligns mental processes to support self-improvement, self-actualization, and self-acceptance. This essential oil also helps align you with compassion, inner peace, tolerance, and love.

Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Sandalwood grounds, calms, comforts, and supports healing on all levels. The oil is especially useful for the seventh (chakra) to encourage states of higher consciousness and spiritual development.

Sacred Oils: Sandalwood is for meditation, encourages listening deeply from the heart, quiets mental anguish and mental chatter, and grounds and stabilizes. The oil has an affinity with the sacral (2nd) and crown (7th) chakras.

Mixing Essential Oils for Magic: Sandalwood supports personal growth, spiritual inspiration, manifesting peace, renewal, strength, stability and well-being. The oil also supports psychic work, contacting spirit guides, past-life work, and awareness for clairvoyance.

Sandalwood Essential Oil Uses and Blends

Diffuse sandalwood for meditation.

Aphrodisiac Blend

Diffuse this sandalwood essential oil blend or add it to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil for a massage.

  • 1 drop sandalwood
  • 1 drop patchouli essential oil
  • 1 drop jasmine oil

Source: Astrological Aromatherapy

Dry Skin Moisturizer

Here's facial moisturizer for dry skin:

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) organic unscented lotion
  • 10 drops sandalwood essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • One 2-ounce glass or PET plastic jar with a lid
  • Glass stirring rod or spoon handle
  1. Clean jar and stirring implement.
  2. Fill empty jar with unscented lotion.
  3. Add essential oils to lotion. Stir for at least one minute.
  4. Use as desired.

Source: Essential Living

Spritz For Brittle Hair

Place the following ingredients in a glass mister bottle:

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) distilled water
  • 10 drops argan oil
  • 20 drops sandalwood essential oil

Shake well and let set for a day before using. Shake well before each use and spray on hair (wet or dry) up to three times a day.

Source: Essential Oils: Natural Remedies

Chest and Throat Rub

Make a rub to use for coughs or sore throats and to help ease breathing.

  • 5 drops sandalwood
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 7 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil

Blend ingredients. Store in small, dark glass container. Massage the oil blend into chest, throat, and upper back as needed.

Source: Essential Oils: All-Natural Remedies

Homemade Men’s Cologne

Many people consider sandalwood to have a "masculine" scent. You can use the essential oil in a homemade deodorant for men. Or make a cologne, such as this one:

  • 5 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 3 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 2 drops sandalwood essential oil
  • 1 cup 70 percent alcohol or vodka
  • Glass roll-on tube or glass cologne spray bottle

Blend the ingredients and store in the tube or bottle. Use the cologne as desired.

Source: Essential Oils Guide by Dr. Axe

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Photo Credit: J.M.Garg CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons