Botanical: Santalum album
Family: Santalaceae (sandalwood)
Other common names: East Indian Sandalwood, White Saunders, Yellow Sandalwood,
Yellow Saunders, Chandana, Chandan, Chandal, Sandal, Santalwood
Sandalwood has been used both internally and externally for thousands of years, and we still benefit from its antibacterial qualities to relieve urinary tract disorders , such as cystitis, urethritis and bladder infection. It also helps to relieve pain, sore throat, stomachache, spasms and chronic bronchitis.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Sandalwood is the highly aromatic wood of the medium-sized Sandalwood tree (reaching about fifty feet in height) and is native to eastern Asia (probably to the islands in southeastern Indonesia) and has been known in India and other areas of the subcontinent for thousands of years. Some claim that it is native to India, but it is actually thought to have been introduced there well over two thousand years ago. It is said to have been used for embalming the corpses of princes in Ceylon (today's Sri Lanka) since the ninth century, and Sandalwood is now also distributed throughout Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and northern Australia and generally thrives as a crop in drier climates in well-drained, moist, fertile soil in partial shade at a minimum of fifty-nine degrees Fahrenheit, so it is interesting to note that Sandalwood was cultivated in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, in the nineteenth century. The Sandalwood tree is an evergreen that is cultivated in a semi-wild state, usually in open forest; and because it is semi-parasitic, it depends upon a host for its nutrients that help it grow. Over three hundred plants have been recorded as hosts, which can include nearby grasses, herbs, shrubs or other trees. Unlike most trees, Sandalwood is harvested by toppling the entire Santalum tree instead of sawing them down at the trunk. The wood of the tree is straight-grained and heavy and varies in color, and the tree bears oval leaves and small flowers of varying colors that bloom twice a year. Sandalwood's name comes to us from the Sanskrit word, Chandana, and it has a rich history in India as one of the luxury goods (including gold, gems, spices, silks, ivory and perfumes) that were sent along the coastal route to the Persian Gulf for trade. It is still an extremely expensive comodity. However, aside from its commercial importance, Sandalwood was highly valued in Hindu rituals (including symbolic caste marks on the face and carved into figures and deities on temple doors, etc.) and devotional practices (including incense, etc.); and it was an important factor in Ayurvedic medicine that was (and still is) used to cool the body, decrease thirst and to treat headaches, scorpion stings and snake bites. The trees are usually felled when at least fifty years old, and because it is somewhat soft, the wood is highly prized for carving, and the oil is invaluable in perfumes, aromatherapy and the cosmetic industry. Sandalwood smells not unlike other wood scents, except it has a bright and fresh edge and provides perfumes with a striking wood base note. Sandalwood essential oil was popular in medicine up to 1920-1930, mostly as a urogenital (internal) and skin (external) antiseptic, because of its main component, santalol, with its antimicrobial property. The wood, oil and roots are used in herbal medicine. There are about nineteen species of Santalum, but the Sandalwood (S. album) has the highest oil content. Some of the constituents in Sandalwood include a rich essential oil, with at least ninety percent sesquiterpene alcohols, called santolols, the active ingredients present in all parts of the tree.
Sandalwood is considered a diuretic which promotes the increase and flow of urine and is considered excellent for the genito-urinary system. Because it is also regarded as a diuretic with antiseptic properties, its efficacy for urinary tract infections is enhanced, and it is used to relieve gleet (a discharge of mucus or pus from an inflamed urethra), gonorrhea, bladder infection, chronic cystitis and other urinary tract disorders. Because of Sandalwood's fine herbal antiseptic properties, it has been approved by the German Commission E for use in the treatment of bladder and urinary tract infections.
Considered an expectorant, Sandalwood helps to loosen phlegm and congestion from the respiratory system and thus used to relieve chest congestion, as well as ease chronic bronchitis, dry cough, sore throat and inflammation of mucous tissue.
Sandalwood is an aromatic, bittersweet herb that is said to help treat digestive disorders and has been used to relieve indigestion, stomachache and vomiting.
Sandalwood is considered an analgesic, or herbal pain reliever, that is said to be effective in easing the pain of headaches, abdominal pain and spasms.
For thousands of years Sandalwood has been used to cool the body and reduce fevers.
Recent research has claimed that the santolols in Sandalwood not only possess antibacterial activity, but they may also be valuable in slowing the growth of warts (viral) and the herpes virus.
Considered an antibacterial herb, when used externally, Sandalwood is said to be beneficial for skin problems, especially those of bacterial origin, and may thus be useful in cases of dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, scorpion stings and other inflammatory skin conditions. It is also used in lotions that alleviate dry skin, rash, itching and prickly heat. Its antibacterial qualities have also made it effective in deodorants and as a mouthwash to treat bad breath.
The essential oil of Sandalwood is used externally in aromatherapy and is said to calm the mind and body. It has been employed in the rooms of patients with mental health problems, as its fragrance is said to have a calming effect. It is also thought to help those who are suffering from stress and to soothe tension and anxiety.
Pregnant and nursing women and young children should not use Sandalwood Herbal Supplement, nor should those who suffer from chronic liver disease. Do not use Sandalwood for over six weeks without talking to your doctor, and upset stomach and skin itching have been reported with the use of Sandalwood.