Sandalwood essential oil benefits: history and science
The sensual, sweet, deep aroma of the sandalwood tree and sandalwood oil have been used for centuries in religious rituals, spiritual practices, traditional Chinese medicine, purification, and incense. It has also been used in many cultures as a natural aphrodisiac.
More recently, science has revealed a whole host of benefits and uses for sandalwood essential oil.
It turns out that sandalwood trees create a unique variety of compounds rarely found in any other plant. They’re called santalols.
Thanks to the research on santalols (and the combination of other natural components found in sandalwood oil), we now know that sandalwood oil may help to:
- Soothe skin irritation, such as itchy or damaged skin
- Purify the skin to reduce breakouts
- Help smooth skin imperfections
- Support wellbeing during cold and allergy season
- Massage tender, hardworking muscles and joints
- Create the perfect environment for deep, restorative sleep
- Calm anxious, nervous feelings with its intoxicating scent
And of course, sandalwood oil’s gorgeous, sensual aroma makes it a must-have for natural perfumers. Base notes like sandalwood essential oil are “fixatives,” meaning their heavy aromas help the scent of natural perfume stick around for a longer time.
Types of sandalwood essential oil
There are two main types of sandalwood essential oil:
- East Indian Sandalwood Oil: Indian sandalwood essential oil is extracted from the heartwood of the Santalum album tree, which is native to India. It is highly prized for its sweet, woody aroma and is used in aromatherapy and perfumery. Indian sandalwood essential oil is known for its therapeutic properties, including calming and relaxing effects on the mind and body.
- Australian Sandalwood Oil: Australian sandalwood essential oil is extracted from the heartwood of the Santalum spicatum tree, which is native to Australia. It has a slightly different aroma than Indian sandalwood essential oil, with a more subtle and earthy scent. Australian sandalwood essential oil is also known for its therapeutic properties, including its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects.
Australian Sandalwood Tree
Both types of sandalwood essential oil are highly valued in aromatherapy and natural remedies and can be used for a range of purposes, including promoting relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety, and supporting healthy skin. It is important to note that sandalwood essential oils are precious and expensive essential oils due to its limited availability, and it is essential to source it from a reputable and sustainable supplier.
East Indian Sandalwood Tree
How to use sandalwood essential oil: 7 recipes
1. Deepen your meditation with sandalwood essential oil
Add a few drops of sandalwood oil to skin-soothing lotion. Use it before meditation to feel grounded in your body and connected with inner peace.
2. Make enchanting sandalwood + citrus perfume
Experience one of the most time-honored uses of this intoxicating oil with a sensual perfume oil that blends woodsy sandalwood with sparkling grapefruit. Mixed with jojoba oil, its classic scent will remind you of high end perfumes while warding away dry skin.
3. Sink into relaxation with sandalwood essential oil
Work stress and knots out of your muscles with the relaxing, tension-relieving touch of sandalwood essential oil in a massage oil blend. This recipe pairs essential oils with a carrier oil, so you'll get the many health benefits and sweet smell of sandalwood oil along with the moisturizing effects of jojoba oil.
4. Clear your complexion with sandalwood facial care
Get a smooth, matte complexion by balancing your skin’s natural oil production with this aloe-based sandalwood skin gel.
5. Soothe itchiness or irritated skin with sandalwood gel
Massage those itchy toes with this cooling aloe and sandalwood foot gel! Toss it in your gym bag and give your feet a treat after your shower.
6. Face cold season with confidence
Moisturize your skin with this protective sandalwood essential oil blend to support your immune response against seasonal threats.
7. Use sandalwood oil to massage your muscles and joints
Need some TLC? Massage tender, puffy-looking areas with this comforting blend of sandalwood, cinnamon, and other soothing oils.
Sandalwood oil safety tips
Sandalwood oil is a safe, gentle essential oil when diluted properly.
Robert Tisserand, co-author of Essential Oil Safety, suggests sticking with a maximum topical dilution of 2% (10 to 12 drops of essential oil per 1 oz/30 ml of carrier), to avoid overwhelming your skin and causing irritation.
Sandalwood oil is often adulterated with synthetics. Be sure you’re getting sandalwood oil from a reliable, conscious company. One of the best ways to do this is to ask the company you’re purchasing from for a GC/MS report. This lab report will map out all of the chemical components present in the oil you’re purchasing. That way, you can see the amount of santalols and other components that are present.Learn More About Essential Oil Safety
Sandalwood essential oil and sustainability
Because sandalwood (Santalum album) has been so prized for such a long time (over 3,000 years!), overharvesting is a problem—as is smuggling.
It requires close relationships with other plants to thrive (the sandalwood tree is semi-parasitic), and it must be carefully cultivated for decades before the wood is ready for harvesting.
At Aromatics, we get our sandalwood (Santalum album) essential oil from friends in Australia who cultivate organic Australian sandalwood trees on their plantation—where they have plenty of space to focus on nurturing sandalwood trees at every stage of growth. They harvest and distill their essential oil in a sustainable, ecologically friendly way.Learn More About Sustainability