What Is Sandalwood and What Are Its Benefits?

Next to the African blackwood, sandalwood is the second most expensive wood in the world. And what makes it so pricey?

To start with, sandalwood is a class of wood that comes from the trees in the genus Santalum, which refers to a group of slow-growing woody flowering trees and plants. Sandalwood’s aroma lasts longer compared to other aromatic trees, and this is what makes this wood so special and highly valued.

Many species of sandalwood trees require lots of time to grow in order to be fully matured and considered commercially viable. Some trees may take as long as 80 years before being harvested. The older the tree, the stronger the aroma. Indian sandalwood is considered as the highest-quality species.

Sure, because it is a wood, it naturally exudes a woody smell. But you will be surprised that a lot of people may not arrive at a consensus when it comes to the sandalwood’s distinct aroma. Many say that sandalwood’s smell is too harsh or powerful; others say that it gives off a pine-like scent, while some people think that it has delightfully sweet, spicy or even creamy notes.

Why should moms like us bother knowing about sandalwood? You may have heard of sandalwood oil, and believe me, it has some impressive benefits – and you should consider it!

Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood Oil

The main product derived from sandalwood is sandalwood oil. It is extracted through a process called steam distillation, where extremely heated steam is passed through powdered sandalwood. In turn, the steam carries the essential sandalwood oil that is locked within the wood’s cellular structure. After the steam goes into a condensation process and finally cools, the resulting product becomes the hydrosol (“floral water”) and the sandalwood essential oil.

Sandalwood oil has a handful of uses, including:

  • Perfumes
  • Cosmetics
  • Soaps
  • Sacred balms
  • Food flavoring
  • Aromatherapy
  • Medicine

Health Benefits of Sandalwood Oil

With its irresistible aroma, the sandalwood oil can bring a lot of health benefits:

Skincare – Just rub a drop of sandalwood oil on your skin and it can alleviate your itching problems. It also helps in curing various skin infections. Worrying about wrinkles? Sandalwood oil is also known to prevent or slow down aging. It also helps in getting that clear, clean and bright skin that you’re dreaming of.

Anti-anxiety and depression – In traditional Indian ceremonies, burning sandalwood is thought to drive away anxiety, depression, and restlessness. The aroma of the sandalwood oil is enough to keep your blues at bay. That’s why it is often used in aromatherapies.

Sleeping aid – Did we mention “restlessness”? If you’re feeling that way, don’t reach for the sleeping pill that can potentially harm you. Instead, use a sandalwood oil. Throughout the centuries sandalwood oil has been lauded as a potent aid for insomnia. Most species of sandalwoods contain active compounds called α-santalol and β-santanol, which work as a sedative.

Soothing and calming agent – With its aroma, sandalwood oil is known to be effective in bringing a sense of calm, peace and relaxation. Paradoxically, it doesn’t cause drowsiness like the other essential oils to do (such as lavender). Instead, a whiff of sandalwood oil engenders a relaxing feeling, yet it also keeps a person stimulated and alert at the same time – physically and mentally.

Anti-inflammatory – Sandalwood oil is also excellent as an anti-inflammatory remedy which works like certain conventional medicines (like ibuprofen), only without the side effects.

Anti-microbial and antiseptic  – Sandalwood oil is also known as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent. Studies have shown that it even helps in preventing the spread of viruses (such as herpes simplex). It has also been used for centuries as a cure for certain infections.

Anti-spasmodic – Sandalwood oil also helps in countering nervous spasms, muscle spasms and spasms in the blood vessels.

Is sandalwood oil safe for pregnant and lactating moms?

When used properly, sandalwood oil is considered quite safe for use during pregnancy and can even help expectant moms in relieving the usual pregnancy pains and symptoms. These include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, swelling in certain parts of the body, stress, insomnia, spasms, and a lot more!

Sandalwood oil is also perfectly okay for nursing moms! Apart from its calming properties, sandalwood oil is also considered helpful for oily skin. Some moms who have just given birth and are breastfeeding their newborns tend to experience skin problems like acne and oily skin, so sandalwood oil seems to be the ideal cure for that!

You have never imagined that a mere wood can bring a lot of health benefits to your mind, body and overall well-being until you discover the amazing sandalwood!

If you are interested in purchasing sandalwood oil, it is better to get an unadulterated, 100% pure sandalwood oil. There are cheap bottles of sandalwood oil that are being sold online (particularly on Amazon), but beware of them – cheap can mean poor quality. Remember that sandalwood oil is one of the most expensive essential oils around, but once you buy a genuine sandalwood oil from a trusted supplier, its benefits will definitely outweigh the cost.  Find out more about Sandalwood at sandalwoodheaven.com!