With its distinctive earthy, yet sweet smell, there’s no mistaking the classic scent of sandalwood oil, which is often used in perfumes and air fresheners. Sandalwood oil originates from the East Indian sandalwood tree, which is renowned for being one of the most valuable trees in the world. Both the heartwood and the roots of these precious trees are used to make sandalwood essential oil. Officially speaking, sandalwood trees aren’t trees, but plants that attach themselves to the roots of other trees and slowly grow up them; sometimes as tall as 10 meters high.
How is it made?
As with most essential oils, sandalwood oil is extracted from the ground and dried wood of sandalwood trees, using a process known as steam distillation. What’s produced, is an oil that’s said to look like liquid gold. Magical….
How long have people been using sandalwood essential oil for?
The use of sandalwood oil spans many years and many countries. For centuries, East Indian sandalwood oil has been used as a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine, the folk medicine of India. It can also be found within traditional Chinese medicine too.
As the story goes, Ancient Arab perfumers were seduced by sandalwood’s scent thousands of years ago and used it as the base for solid perfumes and incense.
It’s also linked to spiritual traditions in India, and is considered to be a meditation aid. It’s applied to the forehead, temples and between the eyebrows and burned on altars to communicate with the heavens.
How can it be used?
There’s so much you can do with sandalwood oil. You can:
Dilute 5 drops of sandalwood oil with 10ml of carrier oil, such as sweet almond, jojoba, argan, or primrose, and gently massage the oil mixture into the skin. (Tip – always use fewer drops of sandalwood oil if you’ve never used it before and gradually work up to using a higher concentration).
Bathe in it
Run a warm bath and add 4 to 6 drops of sandalwood oil. Then relax in the bath for at least 10 minutes to allow the aroma to work.
Put 8 to 10 drops into a diffuser and breathe in the rich, musky scent. If you don’t have a diffuser, put some drops of it in a pot of simmering water and wait for the aroma to infuse the air.
Breathe it in directly from the bottle or sprinkle a couple of drops of it on to a cloth or tissue and gently sniff it.
Sandalwood oil benefits
Sandalwood oil has anti-inflammatory and is a natural aphrodisiac. As a result, there are lots of benefits to using it, including these five:
- Protects against free radicals and skin aging– sandalwood essential oil is especially high in antioxidants, which can help fight against the free radicals responsible for causing age-related skin damage.
- Soothes skin– thanks to its calming properties, sandalwood oil can soothe the skin and help even out skin tone in the process.
- Boosts mental alertness– a study found that when applied to the skin, sandalwood triggered a mild increase in breathing, eye-blink, pulse rate and temperature.
How to use it safely
Always do a patch test to it make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin and always dilute it first with a carrier oil before putting it on your skin.
Some interesting facts about sandalwood
- It’s also known as sacred sandalwood, Chandra and Tan Xiang (in Chinese medicine)
- Buddhists believe that the scent of sandalwood can help maintain alertness and focus during meditation
- Sandalwood oil tends to be compared to chamomile because of its calming qualities
- The older the sandalwood tree, the more aromatic the sandalwood oil
- Sandalwood essential oil is harvested when the trees are between 30 and 50 years old
- Sandalwood oil has been used in perfumery for more than 2,000 years