Today's Spotlight: Background, "Benefits" & Uses for Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil is
perhaps one of the most fragrant of essential oils. It has a unique aroma that makes
it fit for use in many perfumes, as well as uses in many bath and beauty products, like homemade soaps.
Some people also use it for religious purposes,
for instance, Buddhists emphasize this oil in spiritual sessions.
This oil comes from the wood and root of Santalum Album. Sandalwood (Santalum album) is an evergreen tree, with the heartwood being the most precious part of the tree. The height of this tree can reach up to 9 meters. Like many other essential oils, it has a deep history that spans back 4,000 years and is used in cosmetics, aromatherapy, within the practice of yoga, meditation, as well as medicinal uses.
Sandalwood oil itself is held tightly within the wood of the tree. The process of extracting the oil itself is slightly different them some, as the wood itself is first ground into a powder form. From here, there are a few different types of methods from steam distillation, hydro-distillation, CO2 extraction and absolute extraction to end with beautifully fragrant essential oils.
However, the primary method that many companies use today is steam distillation, in which the end result after cooling is a layer of oil and a layer of water. The oil rises to the top and then came be collected.
Sandalwood oil also has some potential medical benefits and several different applications that it can be used for, although like many essential oils, requires further testing and repeatable data collection. Many applications of this oil have been used in traditional Chinese medicine or TCM.
Typical Sandalwood Blends Include Essential Oils Such As...
- clary sage
One study conducted was on participants in which inhaled East Indian Sandalwood essential oil vs. participants that inhaled a placebo or alpha-santalol (which is one of it's main compounds), found that sandalwood increased pulse rate, skin conductance level, and blood pressure.
These increases would lend one to believe that there was a correlation to alertness.
Now it's important to note that these participants had increases in certain vitals, but patients who received just the alpha-santalol elicited higher ratings of attentiveness and mood.
Research conducted and reported in
Complementary Therapies in Clinical
Practice indicated that aromatherapy massage using sandalwood essential
oil on patients undergoing palliative care in 4 different counties, had an impact on helping to reduce anxiety.
Although the research stated the fact that there were limitations in data collection, the results of the study do indicate and support some effects of Sandalwood essential oil on reducing anxiety.
The American College of Healthcare Science lists Sandalwood as one of the essential oils, along with basil, grapefruit, lime and sweet orange that can have a positive effect on reducing anxiety.
Helps Fight Skin Cancer
There has been some research and literature posted that a compound called alpha-santalol (a main compound in Sandalwood oils), in cell-line and animal studies, have chemo-preventative effects without causing toxic side-effects. In fact, laboratory data showed anticancer effects on chemically induced skin carcinogenesis in mice.
This compound has also been linked to having anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiviral, and anti-bacterial activities.
Further studies on the same compound showed that it could help in the killing of cancerous cells.
Healing Wounds/Anti-aging & Inflammation Support
Sandalwood essential oil contains
anti-septic properties, making it suitable for use on both internal and external
injuries. Internal injuries may include ulcers. One study even found sandalwood oil beneficial in preventing replication in viruses, such as Herpes simplex-1 and 2. Within the study explained that it was dose dependent and more pronounced against HSV-1.
Applying sandalwood oil on your skin may protect you against boils, wounds, pimples, and many other injuries. It is also touted to have beneficial effects on psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and even helping to even out pigmentation.
A study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology stated that when olfactory receptors of skin cells are exposed to sandalwood the resulting cell activity could facilitate wound healing.
A study in 2014, discussed sandalwood oil's ability to mimic ibuprofen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID). A more recent study discussed sandalwood oils ability to improve neurological deficits, oxidative overproduction and the inflammation cascade in cerebral ischemia in mice.
More health benefits of sandalwood essential oil include; having anti-aging benefits do to said astringent properties (helping to tighten skin), providing relief against spasms, improving digestion, and aiding/regulating blood pressure.
Possible Side Effects of Using Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood oil is safe when used in aromatherapy and occasional application on the body. As such, you should be careful applying it directly to your skin as some may have allergic reactions, resulting in irritation or rash. You may also find it better diluted within a carrier oil. Sandalwood can be diluted in a carrier oil, whether that be jojoba, or coconut oil and many others.
Always test the diluted oil on a small area of skin to note any sensitivity to it. If an allergic reaction occurs, discontinue use immediately and consult a medical professional.
As a rule of thumb, NEVER take sandalwood oil (or other essential oils) internally. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains.
As a precautionary measure, do not give sandalwood essential oil to children or use it when pregnant. It's always safest to consult a medical professional before treating any condition with essential oils, included sandalwood.
Sandalwood essential oil "potentially" has several health benefits. However, one should always research any essential oil or treatment they partake in, in terms of healing properties for the body.
Not everyone will see the same benefits, and many people use essential oils strictly as complementary therapies for the mind in the form of aromatherapy, because certain scents promote a sense of calm for them.
Please share your experiences with this versatile essential oil, whether that be in soaps, lotions, incense, or aromatherapy blends.