Sandalwood oil is found in many perfumes and air fresheners. It’s a classic scent from a valuable tree. But the value of sandalwood oil may go beyond smell. Sandalwood may offer some health benefits as well.
Sandalwood oil comes from the wood and roots of Santalum album, or the East Indian sandalwood tree. This is one of the most valuable trees in the world. Its products are used across the globe. West Indian and African sandalwood oils have also been produced in the past, but they’re no longer widely available.
Sandalwood and its oil are prized in the field of alternative medicine. It’s traditionally used to treat a variety of conditions. Most of its traditional uses haven’t been scientifically tested, but some research suggests sandalwood may help treat certain health problems.
How is sandalwood used traditionally?
Sandalwood oil has many traditional uses. For centuries, East Indian sandalwood oil has been a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine, the folk medicine of India. It’s also been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
In these traditions, sandalwood oil has been used with other therapies to manage:
- the common cold
- urinary tract infections
- liver and gallbladder problems
- digestive problems
- muscle problems
- mental disorders
Sandalwood’s scent also makes it a popular choice for perfumes and aromatherapy. In aromatherapy, aromatic oils are used to promote mental and physical health outcomes. Many ancient cultures practiced aromatherapy. It remains popular among some people today.
Few of the traditional uses of sandalwood oil have been tested with modern science. There is a lack of studies evaluating the health benefits of sandalwood. This is why scientific research on its health benefits is limited.
How can sandalwood be used at home?
There are many ways to use sandalwood oil in aromatherapy at home. You can:
- apply it directly to your skin
- put a few drops in your lotion
- heat it in a small kettle of water to scent your home
- evaporate it using an essential oil infuser
- add it to your bath water
Some people have allergic reactions to essential oils. These reactions are rare. They most often occur when people apply essential oils directly to their skin. If you’re concerned about an allergic reaction, test a small amount of sandalwood oil mixed with a carrier oil or lotion on a small patch of your skin. Wait to see if you react before using larger amounts.