Sandalwood essential oil

Sandalwood, santalum album, is one of the oldest known aromatic materials, and has at least 4000 years of history of use. It is certainly the most important of the wood oils used today. The use of the oil became an integral part of Buddhism. In perfume industry it is used for its tenacious base note and its ability to blend and harmonise with other essential oils.

Only India and the island of Timor in Indonesia produce this unusual, semi-parasitic tree, which grows to a height of thirty feet and begins to produce the essential oil within the heartwood only after 30 years’ growth. The heartwood is heavy in weight, of a fine close grain, and can be worked to a smooth polish, resembling a kind of botanical ivory. It is so precious that it is a governmental monopoly in India and 18 gradients of the material are recognised, even to the sawdust.

The distilled oil is pale yellow and viscous, with extremely sweet and soft aroma note. It remains uniform for a great length of time and is also used as a fixative in perfumes. It has a soft, smooth fragrance with almost a hint of rosiness, and it is remarkably tenacious.

Sandalwood has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and may be used for hot, agitated emotional states that lead to conditions such as headache, insomnia and nervous tension.

Sandalwood essential oil has long been considered the oil of choice for meditation.

The best way to administer is topical application, in massage, bath, skincare, or inhalation: steam inhalation or diffuser. In 18th century France when bathing became increasingly commonplace, scented oils were applied to tone the skin and even to perfume fans, which were used as a weapon of flirtation – sandalwood was especially desired, imported by the ships of the Compagnie des Indes Orientales.

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