Sandalwood is one of the most popular natural aromatics on the planet.
This precious scented wood is widely used in incense, beauty products, perfumes, colognes, and essential oils. It’s also a common ingredient in many high-end body care products, like bar soaps and body washes.
The sandalwood aroma is said to enhance relaxation and clear the mind. Furthermore, it is also considered an aphrodisiac, which makes this type of incense a wise choice if you’re looking to increase the romantic mood with your partner.
The scent of sandalwood is also anecdotally recommended as a way to fall asleep faster, calm nerves, and banish insomnia.
One interesting aspect of sandalwood is that it is also a natural antiseptic. That’s why it is used in rituals and homeopathic health products to help cleanse the air around you.
Burning sandalwood incense is also a common practice for spiritual ceremonies and meditation.
This beautiful aromatic comes to us from the rich oils found in the heartwood of a tree species, Santalum album, indigenous to India, Indonesia, Ceylon, Australia, Hawaii, and some south Pacific islands.
Plantations like the one pictured below have been established In India and Australia to protect the wild species from over-harvesting while providing a sustainable source of the wood and its oil.
What Does Sandalwood Symbolize?
Sandalwood is significant in many religious and spiritual cultures throughout the globe. While each culture is different, the symbolization of using sandalwood generally represents healing and rejuvenation.
For example, those who follow modern forms of Paganism often burn chunks of the wood as part of rituals associated with physical and mental healing.
In Buddhism, a paste made from sandalwood oil is used to consecrate ritual tools, as the oil is as sacred as the scent of the lotus flower.
Even the ancient Egyptians understood the importance of using sandalwood. They used the oil as part of burial rituals, with archaeologists explaining that the purpose was to cleanse the body of trauma before entering the afterlife.
That’s just a sampling of the herbology behind sandalwood and the different cultures that utilize it.
From a non-spiritual aspect, most people enjoy the scent of sandalwood, as it has a soft, creamy, and woody aroma with a hint of spice. That’s why you see so many different candles, air fresheners, and diffusers that include it.
Can Sandalwood Be Used For Cleansing?
Before we can answer this question fully, we need to make a slight clarification. While sandalwood oil does contain antibacterial properties, it isn’t solely able to fend off infections from viruses or other serious medical concerns.
However, sandalwood oil is suitable for minor antibacterial needs. For example, it’s an ingredient in many face serums and creams because the oil can help reduce bacteria that cause blemishes and acne. It also has mild astringent properties and is deemed anti-inflammatory, which is why it is commonly used for holistic treatments of eczema and other dermatological conditions.
From an energetic standpoint, burning sandalwood incense and oil is an excellent way to clear your space of negative emotion and bad juju. Are you having a bad day? Light some sandalwood incense and enjoy the calming aroma.
By incorporating sandalwood as part of your chosen spiritual practice, you can help set the tone for calmness and healing throughout your entire meditation session or other rituals.
Threatened Species Alert: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes East Indian Sandalwood, santalum album.
Wood and oil exports are controlled by Madras & Mysore Governments of India.
Trading in Australian sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, is also cautioned as plantations are not yet productive.
Synonyms: Chandan, East Indian sandalwood, white sandalwood, yellow sandalwood, the Great Receiver (due to the oils ability to absorb the aromatic molecules of other oils, hence its use in true Indian “Attars”).
Origin: India, Indonesia, Ceylon, Australia, Hawaii, and some South Pacific Islands. The finest quality comes from the forests of India; Karnataka, Mysore, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
Parts Used: heartwood, roots.
Aroma Description: soft, sweet, woody base note with a delicate, spicy, oriental undertone.
Cosmetic Uses: perfumery, aromatherapy; skin rejuvenation.
Culinary Uses: essence is used to flavor syrups and milk desserts in India.
Medicinal Attributes: bittersweet astringent herb that cools the body, calms the mind, relives spasms, improves digestion. It has diuretic, analgesic and antiseptic effects, often used externally for skin complaints.
Essential Oil: Yes, steam distilled essential oils and C02 extracts are available. Sandalwood is an widely used base note and fixative for the perfume industry.
Mixes Well With: excellent all around base ingredient – aloeswood, benzoin, borneol camphor, cassia, catnip, cedar, chamomile, cinnamon, clove, copal-black, juniper, labdanum, lavender, musk seed, nutmeg, palo santo wood, patchouli, rhubarb, rose, saffron, sandarac, spikenard, star anise, storax, tolu balsam, turmeric, vanilla, vetiver, etc.
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