Sandalwood, with its deep rich woodsy aroma and soft nuances of sweetness, is a popular ingredient in incense because of its exotic and sensual undertones. Its ability to retain its fragrance for decades makes it a very popular scent additive for perfumes and beauty products. But the oil made from this exotic tree is also used in many therapeutic ways.
Sandalwood tree species include Paniculatum album, Santalum album and Santalum spicatum. Sandalwood is harvested from the trunk of the trees in Australia, Indonesia, India, and Hawaii. Although there are different regions where they collect the album, they will have different percentages of the chemical components within them, which can change the aroma and the therapeutic uses of the essential oil.
Climate, soil, and any climate changes may also influence the chemistry of the oil. In addition, the chemistry can change from harvest to harvest in the same area.
*Hawaiian sandalwood is on the “at risk” list for sustainability. Do your part in protecting this species by using your Hawaiian sandalwood respectfully. For more information on sustainability of plant life, visit https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/sustainability-issues/*
Sandalwoods’ therapeutic actions include usage as a pain reliever, antidepressant, antiseptic, one of the strongest antibacterial oils, aphrodisiac, astringent, to ease mental fatigue, skin healer, lymphatic and circulatory stimulant, expectorant, anti-fungal, decongestant, sedative, antidiarrhoeic, for digestive issues, impotence, flatulence, bronchitis, and healing sores.
Internal Use of Sandalwood
Sandalwood is an oil that is safe for use internally by those trained in aromatic medicine. There is a long history of using essential oils internally by doctors and nurses before modern pharmaceuticals took over. But if you are not using the correct dosage, length of time to treat, delivery vehicle, and a correct medium, internal use can cause more havoc than healing.
Essential oils are most often given in gelatin capsules, although depending on the diagnosis may require enteric capsules. Using disper, an emulsifier that holds the essential oils in a stable dispersion, is common. This is rapidly absorbed by the stomach. Some may use ‘honey water,” essential oils mixed with honey then added to warm water to make a healing tea.
Sandalwood is a potentially photo-allergenic oil. By adding an antioxidant such as vitamin E, it will lower irritation percentage. The following are maximum safe topical dilution rates.
Always start low, using your maximum rates for more serious issues that you can treat for a shorter length of time: 3-24 months old max. 0.5%, 2-6 years old max 1%, 6-15 years and adults up to 2%, and this includes pregnancy. Of the methods of application in aromatherapy, diffusion is considered the safest.
When choosing oils, find the topical maximum percentage recommended for your oils. Dilution rates start at 1%, or 9 drops per one ounce of carrier oil of choice. If using a single oil, dilute accordingly. If using multiple oils, reduce your single oil total to compensate for additional oils used.
Therapeutic Uses for Sandalwood
Here we have seventeen known therapeutic uses for sandalwood. There are certainly more to be discovered, but this will get you started using this wonderful aromatic oil.
1. Clear Mucus from Airways
Inhalation is the best application when fighting mucus build up. Use sandalwood alone or in a blend with other oils that have similar characteristics or ones that compliment them to break up mucus and clear airways. Try the following blend:
- 4 Ounces Honey (heat on stove to boiling, simmer 15 minutes, turn off)
- 2 drops Peppermint Mentha x piperita
- 2 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
- 6 drops Lemon Citrus limon
- 4 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus
After turning off honey add essential oils, add to a glass bottle, and seal immediately. Will keep 2- 3 months. For children under the age of 10 (excluding 2 and under), use spearmint (Mentha spicata) in place of peppermint and lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) in place of Eucalyptus.
*Honey should not be given to those 2 years old and under*
2. Relieve Laryngitis and Sore Throats
Laryngitis can be accompanied by inflammation, infection, inability to speak, and a darn sore throat. Sandalwood’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are a plus in healing symptoms from laryngitis or a common sore throat. With sandalwood, you can gargle or use the steam method. To gargle, add one drop of sandalwood to one tablespoon of honey and blend. Add to ¼ cup of warm water, mix, and gargle. Although it is best not to swallow, a small amount will trickle down and that is ok.
If you choose a steam, bring approximately one quart of water to a starting boil (steaming good) then turn off the stove. Carefully transfer your water to a heat-resistant bowl. Add 1-2 drops of sandalwood essential oil. You can use sandalwood alone or blend with 2-3 other oils to meet your needs.
More drops in your steam are not necessary and raise the risk of irritation to the skin and mucous membranes. Cover your head with a hand towel like a tent, shut your eyes, and breath deeply. Do this for about 5-10 minutes. Once done, gently dab your face dry if needed. Let your bowl sit, releasing any remaining essential oil molecules into the air to combat aerial bacteria.
Important: Sandalwood is often adulterated. When purchasing an oil, ensure the purity from companies by choosing websites that display their gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (gc/ms) reports on the site for each essential oil. A company that displays these onsite is confident in the purity and quality of their oil.
3. Heal Wounds
Sandalwood is a cicatrisant, or skin healer. It’s excellent in promoting quick healing from wounds and infections. Its gentle nature increases blood circulation in the area that it is applied to, which can help decrease the healing time of underlying damaged tissues. Never use essential oils or essential oil products on open wounds. Begin treatment after the wound has scabbed over. Try the following:
Wound and Scar Treatment
- 1-Ounce Olive Olea europaea (Virgin pressed) oil
- 4 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
- 6 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
- 8 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum itlicum
- 6 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
Blend and apply every 3-4 hours, especially after a bath and before bed. To learn more about carrier oils and uses, go to our carrier oil article.
4. Release Nervous Tension
Sandalwood works by depressing the central nervous system, calming the mind, and releasing tension. The following blend will calm and relax you. For nervous tension, I find inhalation to be the best method of application. Blank inhalers are easily purchased at Amazon, take 15 drops of essential oil, and are convenient to use. They can last up to 2 months when stored properly, depending on use.
- One blank inhaler
- 3 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
- 2 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora ct linalol