Sandalwood is a type of fragrant wood that is used in incense, perfumes, and other fragrances. It is native to India and is used in a variety of traditional medicine and religious ceremonies. The wood is very heavy and has a strong, sweet, and lingering scent. It is also used in many cosmetic products and is often used as a base note in perfumes. Chandan is also used in Ayurvedic treatments, as well as being used as an offering in temples. The essential oil from the tree is used in perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and other beauty products. Chandan wood is also a popular export from India, with the oil being used in the production of perfumes, incense sticks, and cosmetics. It is also used as a flavoring agent in some food products, such as ice cream and chocolates.
Sandalwood and India
Chandan has been an important part of India’s culture for centuries. It is believed to have originated in India and has been used to make incense, medicines, perfumes, and cosmetics. The fragrant wood is also used in ritual and religious ceremonies, such as weddings and festivals. In addition, it is also popular in the form of carvings, furniture, and statues. The tree is found mainly in India and is found in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. In India, it is a protected species and is the country’s second most valuable tree after teak. It is believed to have medicinal properties and is often used for treating skin and respiratory ailments.
- Scientific Binomial: Santalum paniculatum / Santalum album
- Common English: White Sandalwood / Indian sandalwood / Fragrant sandal wood
- Ayurvedic: Chandana / Shvetachandana / Shrikhanda / Bhadra-Shree / Gandhsaara / Malayaja / Hima / Ekaangi
- Unani: Sandal-e-Abyaz
- Sanskrit: Anindita / Arishta-phalam / Bhadrasara
- Hindi / Urdu: Chandan / Sandal
- Bengali: Laban/ Noone / Shwetchandan
- Marathi: Chandan / Gandhachakoda
- Telugu: Bhadrasri / Chandanamu
- Tamil: Chandanam / Sandana / Ingam / Anukkam / Asam
- Kannada: Agarugandha / Bavanna / Bhadrasri / Chandala
- Malayalam: Chandana-mutti
- Punjabi / Sindhi
Types of Sandalwood
The sandalwood tree (Santalum album) is a small evergreen tree native to India and the Indian subcontinent. It is a member of the Santalaceae family and is widely used in traditional medicine, perfume, and incense. The tree is valued for its fragrant wood and essential oil, which is used in aromatherapy, incense, and perfumes. The trees are slow-growing, typically reaching a height of 5–9 meters (16–30 feet). The tree produces small, yellow-green flowers that have a pleasant scent. The fruit of the tree is a small, round nut.
- Mysore Sandalwood: This variety is grown in the Mysore region of India and is considered to be the best quality in the world. It has a sweet, subtle aroma.
- Australian Sandalwood: This type is also referred to as “Sandalis” or “Santalum Austrocaledonicum”. It is harvested from a large tree native to Australia and has a slightly harsher scent than Mysore sandalwood.
- East Indian Sandalwood: This type is harvested in India and is the most popular variety used in the production of perfumes and incense. East Indian sandalwood has a sweet, woody scent.
- West Indian Sandalwood: This type is native to the Caribbean and is used mostly for carving and making furniture. It has a spicy, sweet aroma.
- Hawaiian Sandalwood: This variety is native to Hawaii and is often used as an essential oil in aromatherapy. It has a sweet, floral aroma and is believed to have calming and soothing properties.
Sandalwood is a small tree which grows primarily in southern Asia. While the aromatic wood is used to make scented carvings, the medicinal properties are in the oil, which can be pressed from the wood, or extracted with alcohol or water. It works as a nervine, an expectorant, a diuretic, a disinfectant, and a moisturizer. It also helps to regenerate tissues.
- Laryngitis: While treating laryngitis, if you want to steam vocal cords, inhale the steam from a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes, two to four times a day. For more powerful healing, add four to six drops of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory sandalwood essential oil to the bowl of hot water. To make a decoction, boil 1 heaped teaspoon of sandalwood in 1 cup of water. Cover and boil for several minutes. Strain and cool. Drink 1 or 2 cups a day, a tablespoon at a time.
- Arthritis: Application of a cooling substance, such as sandalwood powder paste, is soothing for “Pitta type arthritis“. Make the paste by taking 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder and adding enough water to make a paste. Rub it gently onto the joint.
- Fever: For normal fever try drink made with cooling agents grapes, sandalwood, fennel and cumin. Into a cup of grape juice add 1/2 teaspoon of each cumin, fennel, and sandalwood powder, and drink. This will help to relieve fever.
- Edema: At the site of the swelling, apply a paste made of turmeric and red sandalwood. Mix an equal amount of the herbal powders together, add water to make a paste, and apply. Don’t get this mixture of turmeric and sandalwood in eyes, it may irritate the eye and create conjunctivitis.
- Acne: A paste of sandalwood and turmeric powders mixed in goat’s milk is healing for the skin and acne. Take 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon sandalwood powder, mix them together, and add sufficient goat’s milk to make a paste. Apply this mixture to face. Same paste is useful for rashes and hives. Face will look yellow for some few days but this formula is quite effective in alleviating pimples.
- Minor Burns and Sunburns: Paste made with water with same amount of turmeric and sandalwood powder is effective for tendinitis, soothing and healing the bite. And making paste with aloe vera instead of milk or water is soothing for minor burns and sunburns. Using sandalwood soap for bathing on regular basis is good to maintain skin glow.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, to sooth it try herbal paste. Make the paste by taking 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder and adding water to form a paste. Rub it gently onto the painful area.
- Swelling: For swollen toes, apply a paste of turmeric and red sandalwood.
- Anxiety and Depression: Sandalwood essential oil can help relieve anxiety and depression, tame our physical reactions to stress, induce sleep, and enhance energy. It actually alter brain waves, helping to induce relaxation and sleep. Try sandalwood oil in various ways – inhaling the fragrance, soaking in water that contains an oil, or massaging it onto your skin. If you want to be surrounded by the scent, purchase a vaporizer or diffuser and follow the directions. This is useful to treat depression, stress, nervousness, anxiety, palpitations, and sunstroke.
- Simply place a few drops of sandalwood oil on pillow, and you will be sleeping with perfume all night. This is more effective during summer as it has cooling properties.
- Balance Emotions: Putting a drop of this essential oil on the “third eye” area between your eyebrows, as well as on the throat, breastbone, navel, temples, and wrists is an effective way to help balance your emotions.
- Pitta Dosha: A necklace of sandalwood beads said to be helpful to cool “pitta dosha”. Into 1 cup of grape juice, add 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon fennel, and 1/2 teaspoon sandalwood powder. This cooling, pitta-pacifying drink will help to settle angry feelings and other pitta symptoms such as burning in the stomach.
- Headaches: To quickly relieve a pitta headache try cooling paste with sandal wood. Mix 1 teaspoon chandan powder with sufficient water to make a paste, and apply it to your forehead and/or temples. Leave it on your skin for about half an hour, then wash it off.
- Nausea and Vomiting: Ayurveda recommends the herbal formula to quickly stop nausea and vomiting with rose petal and chandan powder. Mix rose petal powder 1/2 teaspoon, sandalwood powder 1/4 teaspoon, rock candy powder 1/2 teaspoon and lime juice 10 drops. Take this entire mixture in room temperature water.
Q. How to identify original sandalwood?
- Look for the label. Authentic sandalwood sticks should have a label that indicates it is made of pure sandalwood and is from India.
- Feel the surface. Sandalwood sticks should feel smooth to the touch, not rough or chalky.
- Smell the stick. Authentic sandalwood sticks should have a distinctive, sweet aroma.
- Check for color. Sandalwood sticks should be a light, creamy color, not a dark brown or black.
- Look for uniformity. Authentic sandalwood sticks should be the same size and shape, with no visible cracks or chips.