About Sandalwood & Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood is the name of a class of fragrant woods from trees in the genus Santalum or Santalacea. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and unlike many other aromatic woods, they retain their fragrance for decades. Sandalwood are medium sized hemiparasitic trees, and part of the same botanical family as European mistletoe. Notable members of this group are Indian Sandalwood (Santalum Album), African Sandalwood (Osyris Santalacea) Australian Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum) and New Caledonia Sandalwood (Austro Caledonicum) others in the genus also have fragrant wood they are found in Indonesia, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands. Normal height of Sandalwood tree is 2-8 meters tall and its trunks are 30cm to 100cm broad. A full grown Sandalwood tree is ready to be harvested after 10 years. In ancient Indian times it was over preserved till 40 – 50 years for the best extraction results but every nation, its species and climate has a different version of its maturity.
Sandalwood Oil has a distinctive soft, warm, smooth, creamy, milky and long lasting precious-wood scent. Sandalwood Oil is extracted from the woods for its medicinal properties and for its divine fragrance. Both the wood and the oil produce a distinctive fragrance that has been highly valued for centuries, it has a history of more than 5000 years in India. It is also used as a must fixative in modern times for many flavor and fragrance industries like cosmetics, perfumes, Incense sticks, flavored mouth freshener and many therapeutic medicines.
The aroma of the oil and its wood is esteemed by people belonging to three major religions of the world – Hindusim, Budhisim and Islam.
According to Vammana Purana, the wood is recommended to worship God Shiva. Goddess Lakshmi is believed to reside in the Sandalwood tree.
Sandalwood paste is integral to rituals and ceremonies, to mark religious utensils, and to decorate the icons of the deities. It is also distributed to devotees, who apply it to their foreheads or the necks and chests. It says that the properties of Sandalwood leaves you with a calm and relax mind after applying it as a paste.
The crushed powder of Sandalwood is also known as Chandan powder is very popular in India and is also used in Nepal. In Hinduism and Ayurveda Sandalwood is thought to bring one closer to the divine. Thus, it is one of the most used holy elements in Hindu and vedic societies, the wood is used in prayers, ritual ceremonies and even in cremations.
Sandalwood is considered to be of the padma (lotus) group and attributed to Amitabha Buddha. Sandalwood scent is believed to transform one's desires and maintain a person's alertness while in meditation. It is also one of the more popular scents used when offering incense to one's self. Sandalwood have been the only and most famous wood used in for carving of idols in Buddhist temples.
Sandalwood, along with the most commonly used incense material by the Chinese and Japanese in worship and religious ceremonies. China has a history of using Sandalwood and its oil for many traditional medicines.
In sufi tradition, Sandalwood paste is applied on the sufi’s grave by the disciples as a mark of devotion. It is practiced particularly among the Indian subcontinent disciples. In some places, Sandalwood powder is burnt in Dargah for fragrance. In some parts of India during the Milad un Nabi in the early 19th century, the residents applied Sandalwood paste on the decorated Buraq and the symbols of footprints of the Prophet Mohammed. In some places of India during an epidemic, South Indian devotees of Abdul-Qadir Gilani (also known Aspir Anay Pir) commonly prepared an imprint of a hand with Sandalwood paste and parade along the bylines, which they believed would cause the epidemic to vanish and the sick to be healed. In the Tamil culture irrespective of religious identity, Sandalwood paste or powder is applied to the graves of Sufi Saints as a mark of devotion and respect. History shows that in ancient period Egyptians were the first one to import Sandalwood from India for manufacturing traditional and distinct medicines and fragrant oils which were used in routine by the natives.
Medicinal Properties & Use
Sandalwood essential Oil was popular in medicine up to 1920-1930, mostly as a urogenetial (internal) and skin (external) antiseptic. Its main component, Santalol has antimicrobial properties. It is used in aromatherapy and Ayurvedic pharmaceuticals to prepare soaps and cosmetics. Due to this antimicrobial activity, it can be used to clear skin from blackheads and spots, but it must always be properly diluted with a carrier or allied oils.
Sandalwood Oil has been widely used in folk medicine for treatment of common colds, bronchitis, skin disorders, heart ailments, general weakness, fever, infection of the urinary tract, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, liver, gallbladder complaints, hypertension medicines and other neurotic maladies.
Its divine fragrance has been a reason from centuries for making it a requisite for preparing variant fragrances, incense sticks and perfumes.