Sandalwood is one of the slow-growing plants in the flora wall. It is considered to be a semi-parasitic tree that is native to Oceania, South Asia, and South Pacific islands. It is known for its glossy, elliptical green leaves. It also has a root system receiving nourishment from the other nearby living plants. On average, the sandalwood plant can grow to a height of as much as 33 feet. It can take up to 60 years before the plant can mature.
There are numerous varieties of sandalwood in existence nowadays. Some of the good varieties are grown in India. This variety is known as the Santalum album. The said variety is oftentimes the only one considered to be the “true” variety of sandalwood. It imparts a sweet, creamy, and rich aroma. However, the demand of the market for sandalwood is quite high and it takes a long time for the sandalwood to grow too. Right now, the sandalwood is suffering from over-harvesting.
There is a more ecologically sustainable alternative that can be used as a substitute for the Indian variety of sandalwood. This variety is the Australian sandalwood with scientific name Santalum spicatum. This is less sweet and drier compared to the Indian sandalwood variety. However, the scent is more exotic and distinctive.
Usually, the sandalwood is steam distilled to extract its essential oil. The heartwood and roots are the most common options for getting the essential oil. The older trees harvested for the purpose of extracting essential oil are usually the ones with stronger and purer properties. Here are some benefits that you can enjoy when buying the said essential oil.
It helps ease one’s anxiety
In the past, Buddhist, Hindu, and ancient Egyptian ceremonies burn sandalwood to relieve restlessness and depression. It also helps in promoting inner peace as well as spirituality. Nowadays, the sandalwood fragrance is still being used in funeral ceremonies as it can install acceptance and comfort among the grieving family members. It does not matter if the sandalwood is used as an oil for massages or diffused in an essential oil diffuser, the aroma alone can ease symptoms of anxiety effectively.
It aids with sleep
Sandalwood has been known for a long time as an effective sleep aid. It is also the perfect remedy for insomnia. With the sandalwood, there are compounds such as beta-santalol and alpha-santalol which have a sedative impact as it targets the central nervous system. These are also the compounds that increase the length of the non-REM sleep. People who always have trouble reaching a deep sleep will benefit the most out of diffusing sandalwood at night time.
It soothes and calms
It is actually amazing how the sandalwood oil is also shown as both stimulating and soothing. If it is used topically, the said essential oil will offer relaxant properties. Even as a relaxant, it does not cause drowsiness. For the oil to act as a relaxant, both using essential oil diffusers or applying directly to the skin can help.
It increases one’s alertness
You might say that it is impossible to use the essential oil as a substance to keep you mentally alert. After all, the previous benefits listed here says it helps the body relax or sleep. Keeping one mentally alert is an opposite quality, after all. While there are still a lot of things to learn in this aspect. There are studies that show how the sandalwood keeps the user mentally alert. It stimulates both mentally and physically.
It helps treat acne
The sandalwood is also well-known to treat acne. The effectiveness of the sandalwood to treat facial acne is actually clinically proven. It is even more effective when the sandalwood oil is added with salicylic acid.
It acts as an anti-inflammatory
There are active ingredients in the sandalwood essential oil that promote impressive anti-inflammatory actions. It functions quite similarly to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. The only difference is that the sandalwood oil does not cause side effects.
It protects against skin cancer
The sandalwood essential oil has shown encouraging results pertaining to its chemo-preventative effects. This means that the said oil should be capable of protecting the skin from cancer.
It has anti-microbial properties
Overusing antibiotics will just increase the chances of drug-resistant infections. Thus, using essential oils as the healthier and safer alternative to antibiotics should be encouraged. After all, it has the anti-microbial properties that can cure bacteria, viruses, and fungi.