Sandalwood Essential Oil- Benefits, Uses, and Origin
Sandalwood (Santalum sp) is a small, semi-parasitic plant that is native to some parts of Asia such as India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Hawaii, and Australia. There are about 15 species of sandalwood grown worldwide. So during your next travel to Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Philippines, or Australia, make sure to carry some back home with you.
The flowers and wood of this tree are harvested for their oil. It takes 10 to 30 years to harvest the plant because it is believed that the oil’s effectiveness depends on age. The heartwood or the center of the wood is where the coveted is mainly extracted. It is deemed to be one of the most expensive wood in the world because of its oil.
The two key components of sandalwood oil a-santalol (45.8%) and b-santalol (20.6%) These are what give the sandalwood oil its distinctive woody scent that is described as rich and earthy, making it a favorite among perfume makers.
History of Sandalwood Oil Uses
Sandalwood essential oil has been used in pretty much everything, from cosmetics, to medicines, and even in religious rituals.
Sandalwood is a vital part of the religious beliefs in some Asian countries. They are associated with gods, used in sacred rituals and religious ceremonies. It is one of the most prevalent scents used in incense offered in temples.
The use of sandalwood oil dates back to 3100 BC in Egypt and India. Egyptians used this oil in the embalming process to preserve bodies. Hindus embalm the corpses of their leaders with sandalwood oil to help them gain a higher incarnation.
Aside from its many uses in different cultural ceremonies, sandalwood essential oil is also highly prized in beauty product manufacturing. It is soothing and moisturizing, making it an ideal ingredient in soaps, creams, and other beauty products. Its scent also makes it an important component for most perfumes.
Sandalwood essential oils have been used for therapeutic and medicinal ways in the past. And with the help of technology, it was further developed, thus incorporating the oil into a lot of things we use nowadays.
Benefits of Using Sandalwood Essential Oil
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Antiseptic and Anti-viral
Sandalwood essential oil’s antiseptic property makes it perfect to treat wounds, cuts, sores, and even acne. It prevents the occurrence of infection. It was found out that this oil can work against certain strains of bacteria, such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus.
This essential oil was also found to work against common types of viruses such as herpes. It prevents the virus from replicating further thus proving to be an effective anti-viral means.
Sandalwood essential oil is also used with other compounds to produce paste which is used to care for wounds.
Because of its antiseptic properties, sandalwood oil can also be used to disinfect things at home.
Sandalwood oil helps with mild skin inflammations such as insect bites, acne, and rashes by leaving a cooling effect, which provides relief. Based on a study, certain compounds of sandalwood essential oil can reduce the body’s inflammation markers, making it not only effective against skin irritation but also offers relief from inflammation of the muscle, in the excretory system and even in the circulatory system.
For a healthy respiratory system
Sandalwood essential oil has been used to relieve symptoms of respiratory infections by proving to be an excellent expectorant. It is effective in treating cough and also works against cold and flu. The blend of myrrh essential oil with sandalwood essential oil works for respiratory benefits.
Sandalwood essential oil has been proven to ease abdominal pain. It works against microorganisms that contribute to the development of ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.
Sandalwood essential oil gives a calming effect that can promote better sleep. This is because of the presence of the beta-santalol compound, which is a mild sedative effect.
Boosts the immune system
Sandalwood oil, when used in aromatherapy, can boost immunity. This triggers white blood cell production that works against infections and foreign bodies that may cause harm.
Boosts mental alertness
Although it has a calming effect, inhaling sandalwood can also trigger a mild increase in blood pressure, pulse rate, and skin temperature. These effects actually improve the brain’s functions and are brought about by the oil’s alpha-santalol compound.
This effect can vary from person to person. To some, using sandalwood oil can bring a calming sensation while to other people, it can increase alertness.
Several studies showed that sandalwood essential oil can be effective in easing anxiety. It aids in keeping the blood pressure at a normal level and the tension level at bay. It also improves mood by reducing the spasms and contractions in the muscles and nerves. Ylang-ylang essential oil and sandalwood is blended to uplift the mood and relieve stress.
Safety Tips and Precaution
Although sandalwood essential oil can be topically used, it is best to not apply pure oil directly. Rashes, skin irritation, and skin burn can result from doing so. Before using the oil, contact a doctor for advice.
When using sandalwood for massages, it is best to dilute it with carrier oils such as coconut or argan oil. A skin test is always recommended to those with sensitive skin.
Experts also recommend not to take the oil internally for it can cause some serious damages in the abdomen and kidney. Proper dosage is the key to experience calming relief from sandalwood essential oil. Prolonged exposure can trigger an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
It is best to keep sandalwood oil away from children. For pregnant women, consulting a doctor before using the oil is the first step.