Sandalwood oil is one of the most popular additives to both air fresheners and many perfumes. It is also an essential oil used in diffusers.
The popularity of Sandalwood oil has made the tree from which it is extracted extremely valuable. However, as attractive as that smell is, it is only one of the benefits of the oil. Its health-giving properties have also been recognized for thousands of years.
The East Indian Sandalwood tree (Santalum album) is harvested for both its wood and roots – and the products of that harvesting are used throughout the world – increasing its value.
The essential oil that is obtained from the Sandalwood Tree has become increasingly widely used in the field of alternative medicine. It is used to treat a wide variety of ailments.
Although research is ongoing the efficacy of the oil is based primarily on anecdotal evidence – but the fact that it has been in use for millennia tends to lend weight to its effectiveness as a treatment for health issues.
So how has the power of the oil traditionally been harnessed?
It has been used in aromatherapy and perfumes. As an essential oil, its use in aromatherapy has been linked to a variety of mental and health benefits. It has been used by many ancient cultures as a popular essential oil -and it remains popular today.
Scientific evidence for its effectiveness is limited – there are simply not enough peer-reviewed studies to come to a science-based conclusion about just how effective it is in treating mental and physical conditions.
However, the anecdotal evidence indicates that it is worthy of further scrutiny. It is said to be effective in the treatment of a variety of conditions such as:
Sandalwood is thought to nourish the skin and improve the elasticity and appearance of the dermis, as well as promote even skin tone. It is for these reasons that many suffering from scarring will use the essential oil.
Treatment of Anxiety
A study of 87 women who were scheduled for breast biopsies showed that the application of lavender, orange peppermint, and sandalwood essential oils helped control anxiety. It should be noted that the study relied on self-reporting at its initial stages and post-application of the essential oils (as regards anxiety levels).
In another study, participants inhaled the scent of lavender and Sandalwood essential oils. The results indicated a drop in blood pressure levels and an attendant drop in Cortisol (the bodies ‘stress hormone) levels in the saliva.
Wrinkles and Aging Skin
Sandalwood oil is rich in antioxidants that help to maintain skin elasticity and the proper functioning of cell structures. It also moisturizes the skin, smoothing out the effects of aging and environmental damage.
The concentration of antioxidants in the oil can also combat the effects of free radicals which have been implicated in aging.
Inflammation, psoriasis, eczema, and healing
The same anti-inflammatory properties of the oil and its rich antioxidant load show promise in the treatment of acne, eczema, common warts, and a skin condition known as ‘molluscum contagious. Clinical trials are ongoing.
Sandalwood oil also has antiseptic properties which can be leveraged to assist in healing and wound care. In India, a traditional treatment for wounds consists of mixing Rosewater and Sandalwood powder as a calming, topical treatment for wounds.
Sandalwood oil is today widely available from pharmacies and health stores. It has been shown to help those suffering from anxiety achieve mental balance and also assist in achieving a restful nights’ sleep.
Aromatherapy treatments using Sandalwood oil lower stress, and encourage focus as well as mental balance. It is also extremely popular as an alternative to chemical-laden perfumes. Traditionally it is applied by rubbing onto the inner wrist.
Research has indicated that the use of Sandalwood oil can increase attentiveness and positively influence mood. It is popular as an additive to mineral baths and is also available as a roll-on application where it is applied to pressure points on the body.
It is also used as a base oil when mixing ingredients such as Jojoba, argan or almond oil. When used in this manner it can soothe the scalp, act as a hair oil and moisturizing conditioner – and provide an excellent oil for a relaxing body massage.