Essential oil of the month - Sandalwood

Essential oil of the month - SandalwoodSandalwood (Agmark) essential oil (Santalum album) is another ancient and much-prized, resinous oil. Its use in ceremony, ritual and perfumery can be traced back 2500 years or more. This pale yellow viscous oil has an unmistakable, sweet, soft, woody, pungent aromatic scent, being completely devoid of top notes and almost entirely composed of base notes! For this reason it has vital fixative properties in many famous perfumes. Its scent is remarkably persistent – like that of Frankincense - so much so that its odour has been detectable in ointments discovered in ancient Egyptian burial tombs.

Otherwise known as “White Sandalwood” or “East Indian Sandalwood, this variety of Sandalwood is now very scarce – due to over harvesting and over exploiting the best sources – in Mysore and Madras in India. As the heartwood and roots of the trees have to be at least 30 years old before they contain any quantity of the oil, this scarcity will last for some time, thus increasing the prices and the use of lesser varieties used to adulterate the best oil.

When purchasing Sandalwood make sure that it has the Agmark Seal which guarantees the oil's quality and purity, and that it has been produced only from mature trees that are near the end of their lives.

Sandalwood has had a traditional and vital role in Ayurvedic medicine, and recent research shows its outstanding properties may also be deployed in the treatment of pre-cancerous skin lesions, and even as a skin-cancer preventative! (Source: Baldovini et al 2011).

Sandalwood has 5 major areas of use:

Urinary: for cystitis and other urinary tract infections. Blending well with Bergamot, Lemon, Cypress and Juniper.

Respiratory: for congestive conditions, asthma and persistent coughs. Blending well with Ginger, Benzoin, Cedarwood, Ravintsara and Eucalyptus.

Nervous System: for anxiety, depression and low confidence. Blends well with Rose, Jasmine, Geranium, Bergamot, Patchouli and Orange.

Circulatory: for lymphatic congestion and weak circulation. Blends well with Cypress, Lemon, Juniper and Grapefruit.

Musculoskeletal: for muscle pain and spasm. Blends well with Lavender, Black Pepper, Ginger and Lemongrass.

It is also wonderful for skincare, helping to balance, soothe and hydrate all skin types.

Recipes using Sandalwood

Cystitis: Mix 3 tablespoons of Dead Sea Salt, 6 drops Sandalwood, 4 drops Bergamot and 4 Tea Tree. Add to the bath after the water has run. Also drink 1 litre of Chamomile tea throughout the day.

N.B. if you have a high temperature or blood in the urine, consult your G.P. immediately as cystitis can lead to serious kidney infections.

Sore throat/cough: - Mix 10ml Grapeseed Oil, 5 drops Sandalwood, 4 Lavender and 1 Eucalyptus and massage into neck throat and chest area. You can also gargle with warm water with ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 drop of Tea Tree. If the cough is persistent, try an inhalation morning and evening with 4 drops of Sandalwood, 3 Tea Tree and 2 Lemon.

Dry mature/skin: Combine 50ml of fragrance free Moisturising Cream with 6 drops of Sandalwood, 4 Frankincense, 2 Neroli and 2 Rose.

Men's aftershave skin tonic: Combine 50ml of Orange Flower Hydrolat, 6 drops Sandalwood, 4 Juniperberry and 2 Neroli


Joannah Metcalfe

Consultant Aromatherapist

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