Origin of sandalwood (Santalum album)
Sandalwood is considered spiritual and mystical in Hindu mythology. Since ancient times it has been part of the skin and beauty care regime. Its homeland is southern India and Southeast Asia.
Sandalwood refers to the wood (core) of wood species belonging to the Santalaceae family and santalum genus. The wood from these trees has a characteristic aromatic aroma. There are many species of trees that fall into this genus, of which the East Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) [ref. 1] and the Australian sandalwood (S. spicatum) [ref. 2] are among the most famous.
Its enticing aroma calms the mind and relieves anxiety by relaxing the central nervous system as well. This is a great help in meditation, and its natural firming properties help to tone the old skin when used topically on it.
With a fragrance that promotes concentration and tranquility and diuretic properties that help eliminate toxins, sandalwood purifies both the body and mind. It is also a relaxant that can be used to treat cramps and not only.
Therapeutic properties of sandalwood
Sandalwood for insomnia and anxiety
The chemical compounds "sesquiterpenes", present in the essential oil of sandalwood, stimulate the pineal gland in the brain to produce melatonin. It is the main hormone that regulates sleep cycles, promotes complete rest, and eradicates insomnia, as well as other sleep disorders.
The aroma of the oil has a powerful effect on the limbic system of the brain and has sedative qualities that can provide a continuous night's sleep.
Promotes concentration and mental clarity
Used for millennia to promote clarity of mind and as an aid in meditation, sandalwood has been the subject of recent research that confirms it is able to improve mood and concentration.
Sandalwood essential oil is rich in the active compound alpha-santalol. In a study published in the journal Planta Medica, the researchers found that alpha-santalol helps for improved attention and mood compared to placebo. The study also found that sandalwood increased participants' blood pressure, heart rate, and sweating, which were markers of increased alertness. [ref. 3]
One of the many traditional uses of sandalwood is as a natural aphrodisiac. It has been found that the aroma and chemical effects of sandalwood are similar to those of androsterone – human pheromones. This androsterone effect helps to promote sensuality by relieving tension and mental blockages that can cause impotence and loss of libido.
Did you know that: sandalwood is a popular ingredient in aftershave for men? The similarity of androsterone to male pheromones sends a subtle but very effective erotic signal to the opposite sex, which is believed to increase the attraction of the other sex!
Sandalwood for skin health
As a natural anti-inflammatory agent, sandalwood is rich in antioxidants that fight damage to free radicals associated with aging.
It also improves the condition in skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, the researchers found that sandalwood reduces the severity of these conditions. In the treatment of warts with sandalwood, it was found that a mixture of salicylic acid and santalol (the active compound in the sandalwood) completely clears the warts in 21% of the treatment group.
The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic action of sandalwood makes it an effective remedy for insect bites and superficial wounds. You can also use sandalwood powder or sandalwood oils for acne or skin bleaching or for daily skin care.
Possible applications of sandalwood in psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition in which a person suffers from itchy, scaly and red spots usually on the elbows, knees, body and scalp. When applied topically to places where plaques are found, sandalwood has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of the disease. This is due to its potential anti-inflammatory effect.
Potential applications of sandalwood for cancer treatment
The α-santalol, present in sandalwood, has anticancer properties, as evidenced by animal studies and cell cultures. Therefore, it has potential use in the treatment of skin tumors, which need to be further studied before its use in humans. [ref. 1]
Potential applications of sandalwood for the treatment of ulcers
An ulcer is a rupture of the mucous membrane of the stomach or intestines. Studies have shown that sandalwood has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Sandalwood oil can be effective against Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium responsible for the development of a gastric ulcer. Thus, the oil extract of sandalwood can be used in the treatment of gastric and intestinal ulcers. However, ulcers are a serious threat to health and should be treated properly by a doctor.
Skin & hair care with sandalwood
- Prevention of hair loss: By tightening the skin tissue, sandalwood essential oil strengthens the hair roots.
- Anti-dandruff: The cooling, antibacterial nature of the sandalwood soothes the sensitive scalp and limits infections, preventing peeling.
How to use sandalwood for beautifying procedures? Dilute sandalwood essential oil with a base oil such as jojoba oil or sweet almond oil and use it in scalp massage oil.