Sandalwood – Santalum Album- Woody
Other producers are: Eastern India
Blending Note: Base
Main Benefits: Depression, Respiratory Ailments, Skin Care
Properties: Antiseptic, Relaxing, Soothing
Allergy Warning: Sensitive Skin
Short History of Sandalwood
For centuries Sandalwood has played a prominent role in the cultural and spiritual life in India. The wood was carved into furniture, temples and religious objects, and is still burned as incense in Buddhist and Hindu temples. It’s also used to anoint and embalm the dead. In the believe that it protects the soul as it enters the next life. Sandalwood has a dual nature – at time cooling and meditative and at others sensual. The ancient Hindus were well aware of its erotic overtones, and Indian courtesans rubbed their breasts with sandalwood paste mixed with musk to increase their allure. For centuries in India, sandalwood combined with rose otto has formed the basis of an aphrodisiac perfume known as aytar.
Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine have always valued sandalwood for its healing properties. A paste made from powdered heartwood is used for skin ulcers, abscesses and tumours. European medical herbalists formerly prescribed internal doses of the fluid extract for ailments such as chronic bronchitis and cystitis. Sandalwood used to be known as santal, saunder or sanders. In many old herbals the wood chips or powder appear as an ingredient in moth-repellent sachets and potpourris. In wealthy Victorian homes, sheets and pillowcases would be kept in carved sandalwood chests. The linen took on the fragrance of the wood, which kept moths away and promoted peaceful sleep.
Modern research has shown that the oil contains a steroid-like substance with a similar chemistry to testosterone, the hormone that is believed to drive the libido in both men and women. Sandalwood is a small, tropical evergreen tree with leathery leaves and clusters of tiny purple flowers. The tree is semi-parasitic, its roots penetrating those of neighbouring plants, especially bamboo and palms. For several years the young tree depends on other plants for nourishment-eventually draining its hosts to death. .Mature trees of 20-50 years old are used for the essential oil, which is found in the roosts and heartwood. The bark of the roots and trunk, and the outer sapwood and branches are removed. The heartwood is sawn into logs 90-120cm long, dried and stored.
The oil is then extracted from the logs and dried roots by steam distillation. The forestry management system uses saplings grown on plantations to replenish stocks in the forest, where the trees are felled. The oil is a yellowish, slightly sticky liquid. The aroma is sweet, woody and balsamic with a musky undertone – and is deeply relaxing, soothing and sensual. Sandalwood oil has increased in price by more than 400 per cent over the past few years due to its scarcity and the tight controls imposed by the Indian government so it’s especially vulnerable to adulteration.
Oily Skin, Dry Skin, Acne, Cracked Skin, Chipped Skin, Bronchitis, Catarrh, Coughs, Laryngitis, Sore Throat, Cystitis
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