Sandalwood oil is one of the oldest essential oils we are using since ancient times. Extracted from sandalwood, this oil is known for its pleasant scent that dates back to more than 4000 years ago. Unlike other fragrant woods, Sandalwood keeps its amazing aroma for many years. Thus, when correctly stored, this oil can last for many decades.
Sandalwood oil, popularly known as Chandana in Sanskrit words, has been used for thousands of years in the field of Ayurvedic medicine for curing various health problems. In Hinduism, it was used in the ritual bathing of gods. The fascinating history does end completes here, in fact, there are many more interesting historical facts. Want to learn these? Look at the following points -
- According to ancient mythological manuscripts - Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Goddess Lakshmi is supposed to live in the sandalwood tree.
- It was used for curing skin disorders, preserving deceased, and religious burning to show devotion to gods by primeval Egyptians.
- Vamana Purana recommends using sandalwood to worship the most powerful Gods of the Hinduism - Lord Shiva.
- Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism highly respect this oil in religious significance.
- Brides & bridegrooms, and newborn babies are embellished using this oil with other aromatic things such as flowers.
- It is used for producing attar since medieval times.
There are some more facts that makes sandalwood oil highly important in today’s life even in many years to come. Applying its paste on the forehead improves the concentration power. Many Indian saints and priests use it in homam and yagna yagam for inviting Gods and get their blessings.
Santalol, Santyl acetate, and Santalenes are the key ingredients of sandalwood oil. However, when it comes to main sources, these can be classified into 2 categories as given below -
Biological Source: It is produced using distillation of dried heartwood from Santalum album Linn plant.
Geographical Source: Main source of this essential oil – sandalwood tree is found in Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Mysore, Rajasthan, and Gujarat in India. It is also available in Malaysia.
Sandalwood oil was traditionally extracted by steam distillation because oil is strongly held within the wood. With the flow of time, new technologies are launched in the market to make the extraction process easier and faster. Some of them are given below -
It involves converting wood into a powdered form. You may find different distillation methods such as steam distillation. It may also be present in the form of traditional hydrodistillation and more including the following -
- Steam Distillation
In this process, the superheated steam at high temperature is passed through powdered wood. Steam produces the oil stored inside the wood’s cellular structure. The mixture of oil and steam passes through a condenser. Once the steam gets cooled, sandalwood hydrosol and sandalwood oil are obtained.
In comparison to other distillation processes, steam distillation requires a longer process approximately 14 to 36 hours, but produce superior quality oil.
- Water Or Hydro Distillation
In this process, the powdered wood is soaked in water. Then, the water is boiled which let essential oil to float to the surface. Since this process requires heating the huge volume of water, extra cost, and time, this method is no longer used today.
- CO2 Extracts
These are the pure plant extracts obtained from the CO2 extraction process and widely used for perfumery or aromatherapy. In this method, pressurized carbon dioxide is pumped into a chamber containing powdered heartwood of sandalwood. Pressurized carbon dioxide comprises liquid properties in its gaseous form. Due to these properties, CO2 works as a solvent and produces sandalwood oil.
- Absolute or Solvent Extract
In this process, various solvents such as ethanol, methanol, petroleum ether, or hexane are used to obtain oil from the plant. These solvents produce the plant’s oil, chlorophyll, and other plant tissues thereby, releasing a concrete (highly concentrated extract). This extract is mixed with alcohol to release the essential oil.
- Phytonics Process
This method involves the use of solvent hydrofluorocarbon-134a having a boiling point of -25˚ C (-13˚F). Phytonics is the advanced oil extraction process in which the solvent does not dissolve the waste of a plant. This is a cool method in which no products are exposed to high temperature.
Uses Or Applications
- Used as an ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes because of its greatly required fragrance.
- Most frequently used in spiritual practices and religious functions due to the belief that its aroma helps retain attentiveness and focus during meditation.
- Used for wounds and blisters caused by gonorrhea, dysuria, smallpox vaccination, and cough.
- A mixture of sandalwood oil and neem oil acts as a perfect contraceptive.
- It has been long used as a flavoring agent in food.
- Massage using sandalwood oil makes the skin softer.
- Used as a diuretic, expectorant, cooling, and diaphoretics drugs.
Obtained from different types of sandalwood tree of the genus Santalum, sandalwood oil is most commonly used in aromatherapy. Aromatic compounds make it beneficial for treating various health problems as proven traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Besides medicine, sandalwood oil and sandalwood paste is widely used in the skin & beauty treatments, deodorants, edibles, lotions, mouth fresheners, and more products.
According to the research report, sandalwood oil is beneficial in curing various physical and mental health problems as given in the following table.
Urinary Tract Infections
High Blood Pressure
Anti-inflammatory, anti-phlogistic, antispasmodic, sedative, cicatrisant, disinfectant, regenerating, astringent, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, hypotensive, carminative, and tonic are the major therapeutic properties of sandalwood oil.
- Promotes sleep by increasing NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep phase.
- Applying this essential oil to the scalp stimulates hair growth.
- Cholinesterase and tyrosinase in Alpha-santalol improve skin complexion.
- Anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and antimicrobial properties are perfect for treating acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin problems.
The story, uses, and benefits of sandalwood oil are amazing. More research is being performed on its applications and advantages. In the meantime, let’s enjoy its therapeutic properties and scent!