Sandalwood oil has a very long history of being used to help with illness and medical conditions. It is documented throughout history for aiding diseases of the nervous system, for chest problems, sexual conditions and for skin care amongst many others. Sandalwood is an evergreen, parasitic tree (one which grows its roots into other trees) and it has a long life, taking from thirty to sixty years to reach maturity. Use of sandalwood dates back 4000 years, traders transporting it from India (considered the finest sandalwood) to Egypt, Greece and Rome were often seen , the Egyptians used the oil for embalming and the wood was often used for building. But what can sandalwood oil help with these days?
The exotic, woody aroma of sandalwood has a very calming effect and is often used as incense for meditation; it blends very well with other essential oils such as bergamot, geranium, lavender, myrrh, rose, and ylang-ylang to create an amazing atmosphere for aromatherapy, relaxation and stress relief and to ease fear and anxiety.
In vapour form (when mixed with hot water and gently inhaled for example) sandalwood oil has a strong effect on the lungs and is known to help clear chest infections, help with asthma, to help clear bronchitis and coughs and ease insomnia due to its sedative qualities. If used as a gargle it is very good for treating a sore or dry throat. Sandalwood is also famed for its aphrodisiac effect to help with sexual problems, some of the oil burned as incense can help here.
When used as a diluted blend in a carrier like almond oil, sandalwood can be added to a bath to help a wide range of conditions. Bladder infections as well as chest infections and bronchitis can be treated well this way as can skin problems, it gently relieves itching from conditions such as eczema or rashes and calms inflammation of the skin, it is very effective for relieving dehydrated skin after sunburn for example and can help with keeping the skin youthful. If used in lotion – especially after a bath – sandalwood oil can help sooth chapped, dry skin and has wonderful moisturizing properties, which are great for anti-ageing skincare. The toning effect of sandalwood is beneficial when fighting oily skin.
Sandalwood is a truly versatile essential oil, although these days is one of the most expensive, the sandalwood tree is getting scarce as use of the plant has increased over the centuries. However, used sensibly, a small amount will last a long time and one can buy a diluted version rather than the pure essential oil which is still very effective especially in aromatherapy.