Semiparasitic evergreen tree growing to 33 ft (10 m). Has lance-shaped leaves, clusters of pale yellow to purple flowers, and small, nearly black fruit.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to eastern India, sandalwood is cultivated in Southeast Asia for its wood and essential oil. The trees are felled throughout the year.
Wood, essential oil.
Sandalwood contains 3–6% volatile oil (which consists predominantly of the sesquiterpenols alpha- and betasantalol), resin, and tannins.
History & Folklore
Sandalwood’s aroma has been highly esteemed in China and India for thousands of years. The wood is often burned as incense and plays a part in Hindu ritual. The heartwood is most often used in perfumery, but it has also been taken as a remedy in China since around 500 CE.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Sandalwood and its essential oil are used for their antiseptic properties in treating genitourinary conditions such as cystitis and gonorrhea. In Ayurvedic medicine, a paste of the wood is used to soothe rashes and itchy skin. In China, sandalwood is held to be useful for chest and abdominal pain.
Do not take sandalwood essential oil internally.