Beautifully scented, Sandalwood oil has the distinction of being one of the worlds most expensive essential oils and prized for its extraordinary and memorable fragrance, which if compared to a sound would be classified as ‘husky’.
It is sultry, heady, woody, rich yet soft and sweet. Its expensive price tag is on account of the very slow growth of the Santalum genus tree, taking decades to mature before being harvested for its oil.
Sandalwood oils history.
It takes on average 30-40 years for the tree to mature enough for harvesting, and it is then uprooted during the rainy season. The traditional area it’s grown in is the Mysore province of India and it is strictly controlled by the Indian government thus maintaining and ensuring a sustainable growth policy. The trees can have a lifespan of 100 years, and when they were more abundant they were used to build ever fragrant temples, monasteries and carved religious sculptures by the Tibetans, Chinese and Nepalese.
Sandalwood was used as incense and perfume by the Ancient Arabs, who pulverized the wood to make the incense and solid perfumes. Documented evidence going as far back as 4000 years has shown the origin of Sandalwood to be from India, and then spreading to Rome, Greece & Ancient Egypt. Uses for this material were varied, ranging from the practical, through the aesthetic to the spiritual. Sandalwood has been used as perfume and as incense, as well as in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
For centuries, the East Indian Sandalwood oil has held a very prominent place in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for treating the common cold, digestive problems, inflammation, infections and even mental health.
Uses of Sandalwood oil. Sandalwoods claim to fame is for its skin care abilities.
Sandalwood oil is best known for…
Botanical name: Santalum album
Origin: Classical Sandalwood comes from the East Indian variety and is native to tropical Asia, especially India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan, with India being the chief essential oil producer. Australian Sandalwood Santalum spicatum species is aromatically close the East Indian variety.
Aroma characteristics: rich, soft and sweet, woody and aromatic.
• Antidepressant • anti-inflammatory • antiseptic • antispasmodic • aphrodisiac • astringent • bactericidal
• carminative • diuretic • emollient (skin softener) • expectorant • fungicidal • insecticidal • nervine (supports the central nervous system) • sedative • tonic.
All the essential oils highlighted in this column are available at The Emporium of the Enchanted Forest (inside the VaVa Yoga Studio), and you can explore our Apothecary and discuss any questions you may have with me, Ashlí.