Sandalwood oil is an essential oil that is often used in aromatherapy. It is derived from different varieties of the genus Santalum tree and contains aromatic compounds known to benefit your well-being.
Sandalwood oil is used in cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps because of its desirable fragrance. Some oils have been certified for use as a flavouring in food (mainly for chocolates and candies).
Sandalwood oil is also commonly used in religious rituals and spiritual activities. The fragrance of sandalwood is thought by Buddhists to aid alertness and concentration during meditation.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, sandalwood oil is used to treat various physical and mental ailments, including anxiety, bronchitis, diarrhoea, fatigue, fever, gallbladder issues, high blood pressure, indigestion, insomnia, liver problems, low libido, sore throat, and urinary tract infections.
Tan Xiang is a decoction used in traditional Chinese medicine for abdominal pain caused by cold stagnation, poor appetite, hiccups, and chest pain. It’s also widely used in herbal formulas with other herbs.
In aromatherapy, inhaling the scent of sandalwood oil or absorbing it through the skin is thought to send signals to the limbic system responsible for regulating emotions.
These messages are considered to have an emotional and physiological effect. (For example, reduced stress is usually accompanied by a decrease in blood pressure.)
While there has been little research on sandalwood oil’s health effects, there is some evidence of its therapeutic benefits. Here’s what some recent research suggests:
Sandalwood oil has been linked to the reduction of anxiety in many studies. In a four-week study released in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the same form of aromatherapy massage (given twice weekly in half-hour sessions) helped women with breast cancer alleviate anxiety.
Despite the positive findings, the subjective tests used to assess anxiety restricted the conclusions of both studies. Moreover, it is unknown if the essential oil or massage offered more excellent relief because there were no study controls.
According to animal research published in the Japanese Journal of Psychopharmacology, sandalwood oil shows promise as a means of encouraging healthy sleep. Even when the rats’ olfactory senses were damaged, the effect was observed.
Sandalwood oil appears to improve mental alertness through its soothing effects. It is thought to deactivate behavioural responses (providing a relaxing effect) while triggering a physiological response, which may seem contradictory (as measured by blood pressure, heart rate, and other factors).
These stimulatory effects are thought to improve mental performance. Alpha-santalol is the compound responsible for these physiological effects.
Possible side effects
When used for aromatherapy or as a topical treatment, sandalwood oil is considered healthy. As a result, the oil should never be used at full strength on the skin. This can cause itching, rash (contact dermatitis), and even chemical burns to the skin.
Also, long-term or excessive exposure to the sandalwood scent can cause blood pressure and heart rate to rise. Sandalwood oil can cause allergic reactions in some people when applied to the skin.
If you develop a rash or some other allergy symptom, stop using the oil and consult your doctor.
Internal use of sandalwood oil is not advised, and food-grade oils can be dangerous. Sandalwood oil can cause itchiness, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, blood in the urine, and even kidney damage if consumed.
Children should not be exposed to sandalwood oil. Consult your doctor before using it on your skin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
It’s unclear if sandalwood oil interacts aggressively with other medications or supplements since there’s no evidence in the medical literature to indicate it does.
What to watch out For
Essential oils ought to have a minimum free alcohol content of 90% to meet the international criterion for authenticity. Alpha-santalol and beta-santalol are the free alcohols found in sandalwood oil.
Since sandalwood oil is so common worldwide, there are many low-quality synthetic versions on the market. Take a look at the label to ensure that the oil is from the Santalum family of sandalwood trees to increase your chances of getting the real deal.
Santalum album and Santalum spicatum are two of them.Sandalwood oil can be sold in natural food stores and shops that specialise in self-care items and online.
Essential oils must be dissolved in a neutral carrier oil like sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, olive oil, or coconut oil before being used for massage or other topical applications. To use as a massage oil, mix 9 to 18 drops of sandalwood oil with an ounce of carrier oil. This will result in a concentration of between 1 and 2 per cent. If you’ve never used a sandalwood massage oil before, begin with a lower concentration. A tiny mark on the underside of your forearm can also be used to screen for allergy. Wait for about 60 minutes to see if there is any redness, swelling, or rash. If this occurs, discard the oil and stop using it externally.
Inhale sandalwood oil by sprinkling a few drops onto a tissue or using an aromatherapy diffuser. If you don’t have a diffuser, a few drops in a pot of simmering water will suffice. Sandalwood oil can also be used to make a relaxing bath soak. A long-lasting scent can be achieved by adding a few drops to lotions or body creams. (Make sure to try it first before putting it on your face or putting it all over your body.)