Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits and Uses

Updated on December 27, 2018
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Lydia Workman has studied herbalism as a student of the occult. She wrote and edited the Wiccan Church of Canada's newsletter in the past.

Liquid Gold

Sandalwood has been used since ancient times for a variety of things. Being in use for more than 4000 years makes it one of the oldest forms of incense. Known as "liquid gold", it is most precious. Highly valued in Hindu tradition, it is frequently used in religious ceremonies. The calming properties make this fragrance useful for grounding rituals. It also allows us to find mental clarity when life is completely chaotic.

Sometimes we may feel disconnected from the earth. Sandalwood comes from the roots and heartwood of a sacred evergreen tree. Its woody scent connects us to the earth as the large roots were once connected deep down beneath the soil. In Ayurveda, sandalwood is considered to be one of the most sacred herbs. It is often used to treat somatic and mental disorders. What could be more grounding and centering?

Sandalwood is derived from an evergreen native to Southern India. It grows to a height of about 30 feet. There are 30 different species of this tree which burrows its roots into a nearby tree in a parasitic manner. Leeching off nutrients in this manner is how it survives. Eventually, the other tree is killed off from this process.

The Sandalwood tree is protected by the Indian government. There are laws maintaining that the tree must be at least 30 years old before it can be harvested. The best sandalwood comes from trees which are at least 60 years of age, but the older the tree, the better.

Sandalwood is both precious and expensive. This wood is never cut down with an ax or saw. It is uprooted during the rainy season with the roots left completely intact. This wood is very soft and easy to carve. The outer wood has no scent. It is the second most expensive wood in the world with African Blackwood being most expensive. Sandalwood used to be a wood which temples were built out of. Since this tree has been over-harvested, the oil is now generally all that is used.

There are different methods for different plants to be turned into essential oils. Sandalwood is ground into a powder. Afterwards, it is steam distilled to extract oil. After it is distilled, it is left to mature for 6 months.


Uses In Religious and Spiritual Practice

Sandalwood has a calming scent making it appropriate for meditation. It is used by many religious faiths for ceremonial purposes. There are not too many religions which are opposed to the use of sandalwood aside from the Taoist faith where it is forbidden as an incense. Perhaps there is something sinister about a tree which kills off another for its own survival. The reasons for this taboo in Taoism are unknown. Many other religions overlook this and view it as something sacred. We can find sandalwood mentioned in both Sanskrit and Chinese manuscripts.

In Buddhism sandalwood is mentioned in the suttas of Pali Cannon. The Pali Cannon is the earliest known Buddhist Cannon. It is attributed to Amitabha Buddha who is the Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Light. Sandalwood helps the practitioner in maintaining an alert state while meditating.

In Hindu religion, sandalwood is used to worship Shiva. The goddess Lakshmi is said to reside inside the sandalwood tree in Vamana Purana.

In magickal practices, Sandalwood is associated with the Moon. It is a feminine herb which can be burned for healing or protection. It helps relax the throat and heart chakra and can also be used to open the 3rd eye. There are many uses for sandalwood in meditation work.

Sandalwood is also frequently used in ceremonies related to death. The scent can help those in mourning feel better. It is also used to help the dead cross over to the other side.


Medical Uses

There are various medical uses for Sandalwood essential oil. Sandalwood essential oil may be beneficial in treating cramps, aches, and coughs.

It is useful in treating nervous and circulatory inflammations.Some symptoms of circulatory problems include dizziness, poor concentration, cold hands, and unhealthy skin. Our heart health determines how well our circulatory system is working. The blood vessels need to be in good order to keep our bodies working effectively. Sandalwood is a highly valued method of alternative health which can assist in the improvement of our circulatory system.

Sandalwood is also said to reduce blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, and assist in weight loss. It prevents the formation of excess gas.

Sandalwood is well known as a disinfectant. You can use it to soothe your wounds and fight viral infections.

Sandalwood essential oil works as an antiseptic. An antiseptic is a substance which reduces the chance of infection, sepsis, or putrefaction. Sepsis is a condition which occurs when the body responds to an infection in a way which harms its own organs. The antiseptic properties of sandalwood make it an effective essential oil for treating topical wounds and abrasions.

It helps treat urinary tract infections. It can be added to baths, compresses, and massage oils. It is also great to use in a sitz bath. Just mix with epsom salt, baking soda, and juniper essential oil.

Sandalwood essential oil can be effective for treating bronchitis. You can inhale it in a steam bath to rid yourself of respiratory ailments. The scent on its own is therapeutic, so it is a relaxing way to help yourself recover from your suffering.


Cosmetic Uses and Aromatherapy

Sandalwood has such a beautiful fragrance that it has been used to scent many beauty products. Various soaps and perfumes are available with this earthy scent. You can also use the essential oil itself as a deodorant.

Sandalwood is considered to have astringent qualities. This means that it tightens the skin making it great to use for anti-aging. Not only does Sandalwood essential oil tighten your skin. It also soothes it. Use it to reduce wrinkles and ease puffiness under your eyes. It is a terrific essential oil for moisturizing your skin at any age. Just mix it with a light carrier oil like almond oil for a sensual massage which will be a beautifying experience.

Sandalwood essential oil can be added to your bath water. It is terrific for your skin in the bath water too. Relieve your skin from irritations while making it extra soft. This bathing experience will help ground and center you. Inhaling its nice fragrance is a great escape from the troubles of life.

Sandalwood essential oil relieves anxiety, fear, stress, and restlessness. When are feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of our life we can take refuge in its terrific fragrance. It has good calming properties which help us find inner peace. It can induce a state of relaxation. When you need to concentrate it makes a great essential oil to use in the background. It can help you clarify your own personal vision. It aids in your ability to formulate positive thoughts. When you combine these uplifting emotional benefits with it's beautifying properties your spa day will be even better.

Sandalwood blends well with bergamot, black pepper, geranium, rose, vetiver, and ylang-ylang if you want to create your own personal fragrance.

Precautionary Uses of Sandalwood Essential Oil

  • Test your skin for sensitivity prior to use
  • The feet are the safest place to apply essential oils
  • Do not use excessively
  • Do not apply to ears, eyes, or nose
  • Topical use is most appropriate and ingestion is not recommended
  • This is essential oil is considered to be safe for children to use

Have you used essential oils to treat a health issue?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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