Sandalwood has a long history of religious use, notably for statues and prayer beads. It is also a favorite in perfumery for its sweet, warm scent and as a fixative. Aromatherapists value the oil when working to reduce wrinkles and scars. All of these uses make sandalwood popular but also an endangered crop.
For years India was the main producer of oil from the sandalwood species known as Santalum album. Over-harvesting and unsustainable practices has made this oil scarce and often adulterated. A newer oil from Australia is from the species Santalum spicatum. The oil is similar to Indian Sandalwood in scent and constituents, and is an ecologically responsible alternative. When you see a post here for a recipe with Sandalwood essential oil, know that you can use either species to achieve the desired healing effect.
There are wonderful healing qualities of sandalwood, especially for the skin. Researchers discovered that “skin cells possess an olfactory receptor for sandalwood scent (indicating) that the cell proliferation increases and wound healing improves if those receptors are activated.” Our skin can benefit from these regenerative properties of sandalwood as the fall air outside turns drier and air dries out inside when we turn on the heat. It is an important ingredient in our Lizard Lotion for Dry Skin.
As an aphrodisiac, sandalwood shows us another side. Its intoxicating scent lures men and women alike into romantic euphoria. It also has other uses for women by balancing hormones and easing PMS and menopause. For spiritual types, its soothing aspects aid in meditation, yoga and shamanic rituals. Sandalwood also calms an anxious mind and is helpful when trying to relax or fall asleep.
With all of the curative attributes that sandalwood possesses, it would be a useful addition to a health regimen any time of year. With the religious connection that sandalwood has, it is a great choice for scenting and healing as the holidays approach.