Would you like to experience an all natural way to relax while simultaneously enhancing your mental clarity?
With rising work hours and a new school year right around the corner, both of those things are pretty desirable!
Meet sandalwood: one of the most popular essential oils on the market.
That popularity is a small wonder thanks to its easily-recognized aroma, soothing properties, and a long list of benefits.
There’s a lot more to learn about this marvelous oil than you might think, so we’re going to dig into some of the following topics:
- What sandalwood oil is and where it comes from
- Why sandalwood is one of the most (if not the most) expensive essential oils
- Whether or not other varieties of sandalwood oil are just as good as “traditional” sandalwood essential oil
- The benefits of sandalwood oil, including relaxation, improved mental clarity, skin care, and more
- Sandalwood oil safety precautions
Let’s start with the basics:
What is Sandalwood Oil?
Sandalwood oil is produced from the roots of the sandalwood tree. Traditionally, high quality sandalwood essential oil comes from the Santalum album tree, which is native to India. In the local culture, the tree is greatly desired and respected—some even consider it to be holy. The wood and roots of the tree are used in making powders, incense, cosmetics, teas, and, of course, essential oils.
Through a steam distillation process, sandalwood is made into the essential oil that everyone knows and loves.
Why is Sandalwood Essential Oil Expensive?
If you’ve noticed that sandalwood oil costs anywhere from a little to a lot more than other kinds of essential oil, it’s because of the huge international demand for the Indian Santalum album tree, not to mention the fact that it takes a long time to grow—for best results, a tree must mature for forty to eighty before being harvested.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that while sandalwood is used as an essential oil source, it has many other other purposes. In addition to some of the uses we mentioned in the previous section, it has a very beautiful grain, making it popular in high-end woodworking projects (carving, furniture, and so on).
Take a look at this chart from the Tamil Nadu Forestry Department in India:
As you can clearly see, the supply of Indian sandalwood has become lower and lower each year. The tree isn’t considered endangered, but does have a “vulnerable” conservation status. In an effort to preserve Santalum album, India has outlawed its sale other than by organizations who have received permission from the Forestry Department.
The result? An extremely expensive tree, parts of which can fetch up to $75 per pound at the time of this writing.
Because of these continually increasing prices and environmental concerns, other species of sandalwood are also used to create essential oils.
Are Other Species of Sandalwood Just as Good as Santalum Album?
In response to the low supply and high demand for Santalum album products, other varieties of sandalwood are becoming increasingly popular among essential oil users. At the time of this writing, both Hawaii and Australia have been growing their own sandalwood trees to produce essential oil and other products, Santalum paniculatum and Santalum austrocaledonicum, respectively.
So the big question is… are these just as good as the Indian variety?
The fact of the matter is that most essential oil users find it to be comparable. While not exactly the same, paniculatum and austrocaledonicum have remarkably similar effects and benefits as album.
These trees are from the same family and all contain santalol, the component responsible for much of the benefits you’re likely going to use sandalwood oil for, including anti-inflammatory properties, a calming effect, and so on.
Some preservation-conscious essential oil users choose not to use Indian sandalwood essential oil for environmental purposes. The bottom line is that if you can’t or don’t want to use Indian sandalwood derived essential oil, you won’t be missing out.
The Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil
In addition to its well-renowned and truly wonderful aroma, sandalwood oil has plenty of actionable benefits. Let’s take a look at a few:
Relax at the Same Time You Improve Mental Clarity With Sandalwood Oil
The mental benefits of sandalwood cannot be understated; this essential oil is known for its use in traditional spiritual rituals such as meditation or prayer because it has a calming, peaceful effect while simultaneously aiding in the enhancement of mental clarity.
Use it in your diffuser or rub a few drops on your neck and ankles. Start doing whatever it is you have to do (work, study, or simply unwinding after a long day) and within a few minutes you’ll feel a remarkable sense of calm and clear headedness.
Using Sandalwood Oil to Care for Your Skin
Perhaps the most popular use for sandalwood essential oil is to be put in a diffuser. We get it, it smells amazing—but in a way that’s a bit of a shame because sandalwood is so great for skin care. Mix it with an unscented lotion of your choosing and you’ll immediately see why.
It’s not all about the aroma either. Sandalwood oil will help moisturize your skin, which in fact makes it popular as an additional ingredient in hair conditioners to alleviate dandruff or general scalp dryness.
Why Sandalwood is One of Our Favorite Car Diffuser Essential Oils
Have you been looking for something new to try in your car diffuser?
You’ve got to try sandalwood on your next commute.
The aroma is fantastic, relaxes you, and it improves your mental clarity. Isn’t that just the perfect driving combination?
Sandalwood Essential Oil Safety Precautions
Sandalwood oil is generally considered to be quite safe when used properly. According to the NCBI, cases of minor skin irritation or sensitization have only been found occasionally. Additionally, ingestion/oral use hasn’t resulted in any reported adverse effects when used properly.
As with any essential oil, you should dilute sandalwood with a carrier oil of your choice (e.g., jojoba oil). If using topically for the first time, apply a small amount on the back of your hand and let it sit for an hour or so to be sure you won’t experience any skin irritation. Pregnant women and children should always use any essential oil with caution.
Will You Add Sandalwood Essential Oil to Your Collection?
Sandalwood essential oil, no matter the variety, should be a part of your collection. Are there more technically versatile essential oils? Sure. Having said that, sandalwood is no slouch in the benefits department and it has such a universally loved aroma that you really shouldn’t be without it, even if you just use it occasionally in your diffuser.
If you enjoyed this post, you should definitely check out some of our other in-depth pieces to learn even more about your favorite essential oils:
- Everything You Need to Know About Cypress Essential Oil – This woodsy, herbaceous tree oil is incredibly handy to have around to nourish your skin, soothe muscle cramps, and so much more.
- Everything You Need to Know About Lavender Essential Oil – Your complete guide to the “Swiss Army Knife” of essential oils.
- Everything You Need to Know About Bergamot Essential Oil – An amazingly versatile oil that, in my opinion, needs way more exposure. Read it!
- Everything You Need to Know About Black Pepper Essential Oil – Black pepper is useful for so much more than a simple kitchen table spice.
Will you be adding sandalwood essential oil to your collection?
What do you like about it the most?
Let us know in the comments below!
Images used in this post courtesy:
Adityamadhav83 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Fatima Bukar [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Saqib.zamir.ksa [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons