Sandalwood essential oil: The essential oil collection

Our sense of smell is strongly connected to our emotions and memories as our scent receptors are located next to the emotional centres in our brain, the amygdala and hippocampus. That is one of the reasons why aromatherapy is so powerful – using oils can trigger the body’s own healing process to begin, as well as soothe and calm your mind to actually allow the process to take place.  Essential oils can also interact with certain hormones, neurotransmitters, or enzymes, resulting in a specific change to our bodies’ chemistry. Oils are powerful, and they have little or no side effects.

The calm oil

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Sandalwood essential oil can be summed up as calmness in a bottle. Actually, all of the wood-scents are calming, but sandalwood is special. It offers calm together with greater mental clarity, bringing you peace and harmony in your daily hectic, overwhelming life. The smell can be described as sweetly woodsy and it blends easily with other oils, making it the perfect base for other products such as perfumes, incense, and cosmetics. Traditionally, sandalwood forms an integral part of religious ceremonies in many Eastern countries, and the tree itself is considered to be holy. The oil is also used in traditional medicines as treatment for urinary tract infections, digestive issues, coughs, depression and infections

The oil is extracted from the roots of mature sandalwood trees through a process of steam distillation. The trees are 40 to 80 years old – oil distilled from older trees have a stronger aroma. Three varieties of sandalwood are used for the extraction – Indian (Santalum album), Hawaiian (Santalum ellipticum) and Australian (Santalum spicatum) with the Indian variety being considered to be the purest and of the highest quality. Unfortunately, the Indian variety is on the verge of extinction, and more expensive than the other two. For a more sustainable alternative, choose oils made from the Australian sandalwood. These trees are grown in a more environmentally friendly manner and is comparable to the Indian alternative.

Alpha and Beta santalol, santyl acetate and santalenes are the molecules and properties responsible for sandalwood’s therapeutic effects. The alpha santalol molecule has multiple health benefits, including improving blood glucose control and decreasing inflammation. Although there are numerous benefits and ways of using sandalwood, the following benefits stand out:

1.       Focus and mental clarity

Studies have proven the oil’s ability to increase attention and cognitive clarity, making it a great combat for stress. When you are feeling overwhelmed, dab diluted oil onto your wrists or ankles, or use in a diffuser. Tired after a long day? Add a few drops to your bath water for instant relaxation. Research also found that the oil can work for depression and anxiety sufferers by having similar effects to the drug chlorpromazine (Thorazine).

2.       Memory booster

With improved focus, lower stress levels and mental clarity you increase your chances of remembering things.

3.       Analgesic

The active ingredient alpha santanol, found in sandalwood oil, has been found to be as effective for pain relief as common NSAIDs. Apply the diluted oil topically on your pain points for relief. Tests showed that the active ingredients in the oil bind with the delta opioid receptors, decreasing the effects of pain modulation by regulating serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.  

4.       Natural aphrodisiac

Use to improve your libido – add to your massage oil or lotion and enjoy the effects.

5.       Anti-spasmodic

The relaxing properties of sandalwood work on your muscles as well. Use the oil to treat muscle spasms, nerves and blood vessels.

6.       Anti-inflammatory

The active ingredient santalol that is found in the oil can provide relief from mild inflammation such as insect bites, cuts and scrapes, boils and warts, bruises, skin irritation and skin conditions like eczema. Santalol can decrease the inflammation markers (cytokines and chemokines) in the body, acting in a similar manner as well-known anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. All the benefits with none of the side effects.  

7.       Anti-ageing

The oil is high in antioxidants that are needed to combat the free radicals and thus minimise the damage caused by them. Add a few drops of sandalwood oil to your normal face cream to experience the anti-ageing benefits. Your skin will thank you.

8.       Hypotensive

A 2004 study found that the topical application of sandalwood oil leads to a decrease in systolic blood pressure when compared to the control group. And that was without even smelling it.

9.       Helps with endometriosis

Again tapping into the oil’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties – ingesting a few drops of the oil daily may help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.

10.   Anti-viral and antiseptic

It has been found that the oil can prevent the replication of common viruses such as herpes simplex, type 1 and 2, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, as well as antimycotic-resistant Candida strains and can also treat the symptoms of viral infections such as a sore throat. Gargling with luke-warm water with a few drops of sandalwood oil in will treat your sore throat in no time.

11.   Expectorant

Sandalwood is excellent at treating coughs thanks to its relaxing properties. It can also help fight the bacteria or viruses that are the underlying cause of coughs and other respiratory illness. Add a few drops to a tissue or washcloth and inhale to help reduce the severity and duration of a cough.

For the body

Sandalwood oil is frequently added to skin care products because of its moisturising benefits for dry skin. By adding it to your shampoo or conditioner you can also treat and prevent dandruff.

Sandalwood Essential Oil Precautions

It is crucial to consult a doctor and a licensed aromatherapist prior to starting any therapeutic regimen. This includes natural alternative medicine. The use of sandalwood essential oil in more than the prescribed amounts can be toxic, and the recommended dosage of the oil varies. Age and health conditions are primary factors in identifying the recommended dose. Always test for an allergic reaction prior to using the oil.

Babies, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women should use essential oils with extreme caution, and not without the approval of their primary health practitioner. People with health issues and compromised immunities are discouraged from freely using the oil.

Never use essential oils neat – always dilute first. The dilution ratio for sandalwood oil is 1 to 5, so 1 drop per 5ml of carrier oil. If used neat, the oil can be irritating on the skin and can lead to serious health implications. Don’t use these oils, even when diluted, too closely around your eyes. For more information on carrier oils, refer to my website.