Aromatherapy: Sandalwood Essential Oil's Bounteous Blessings

The useful qualities of Sandalwood, or Chandana, as it is known in Sanskrit, have long been known, admired and used in Indian religious, art, medical and cosmetic culture. The uses are so many that only a few can be enumerated in all but the most elaborate and detailed texts. However, a valiant effort will be made to highlight at least a few of the benefits of sandalwood as applicable to the science of aromatherapy. Sandalwood undergoes a fascinating process before the roots and the fragrant heartwood can be harvested. A sandalwood tree takes, on an average, 65 to 70 years to mature. When ready, it is uprooted, rather than cut, and left to be eaten by white ants. The ants eat everything except the parts that are most useful to humans: the dark heartwood and the roots.

Sandalwood Aromatherapy: The Many Forms Of Fragrance

For use specifically in aromatherapy, essential oil is extracted from sandalwood, and can be a part of aromatic candles, incense sticks, soaps, bath oils, and skin ointments. In any form, the sandalwood retains its fragrance, making it a perfect addition to nearly anything that is used at home or on the body. Burning sandalwood incense inside the house has a fumigant effect, and will keep your home insect-free with regular use. Sometimes, a paste of sandalwood is applied to the skin. This has a cooling effect on the body and is often applied to tonsured heads to keep a cool head in the hottest of situations – literally.

Aromatherapy: Sandalwood Makes Scents

As for the effects of sandalwood aroma, one of the main actions is the sedation of the nervous system. It relaxes the mind and brings on a meditative state. The fragrance subdues anxiety and induces relaxation of muscles. Keep a burning incense stick in the office of your cantankerous boss; it's bound to shock you with its ability to actually make him sound polite. However, you have to get in there first. People with hypertensive disorder would also be well advised to exploit the benefits of sandalwood aromatherapy. Anger management is another domain where sandalwood would fit well – the calm and reasoning capability it brings on aren't conducive to emotional outbursts of anger. Research also shows that it clears the mind by controlling brain waves. In fact, the University of Maryland Medical Center has reported that the scent of sandalwood helps to ease the symptoms of clinical depression. Other studies show that the external effects of mental illnesses such as dissociative identity disorder (DID) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) can be greatly reduced by using sandalwood-based aromatherapy.

Sandalwood Supply: Attempts At Price Control - ETA 2090

Because of the astronomical cost of 100% pure sandalwood essential oils, the usage is not as extensive as, say, eucalyptus oil. While the latter can be bought for as little as $10 an ounce, the former will set you back at least $450 for a 1 oz bottle – not cheap by any standards. The main reason for the high price is the time that it takes from planting to harvesting. Since the trees may take up to 80 years to mature, only old sandalwood forests can be utilized for this purpose. These are limited in number and are therefore carefully protected and managed by governments to achieve a fine balance between commercial and environmental needs. However, India, which is the main source of sandalwood, has done a terrific job in seeing that neither need is left wanting, and is running aggressive afforestation and reforestation programs to keep both sides happy. If this goes as planned, your grandkids should be able to keep their swimming pools filled with sandalwood essential oil, just in case they need an extra-relaxing swim.