How to use sandalwood essential oil to cure headaches, heal wounds, and more!
The essential facts
Ollie’s particular oil comes from trees that are indigenous to India!
It is considered a sacred oil due to its use in some religions and cultures.
Has a deep, woody scent.
Is often a base oil for many perfumes.
Analgesic - has numbing properties.
Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic - when combined, helps calm and keep skin clean.
Great for stress relief when inhaled!
What is Mysore Sandalwood Essential Oil?
Sandalwood is often referred to as the scent of the gods in Indian culture. Sandalwood and its related products such as sandalwood paste, sandalwood essential oil, and the wood itself is highly prized and venerated in South Asian cultures. Its scent will instantly make you think of the exotic orient and all the mysteries it might hold. Let's leave mystery for the novels, shall we, and unpack the beauty of this oil so that you know exactly where it comes from and what to do with it!
With its intense, rich, and creamy woody scent, sandalwood oil is a phenomenon in itself. It is an extremely aromatic oil and I cannot recommend enough that you try this oil out for yourself!
My Mysore sandalwood oil is extracted from the deepest heartwood of the trunk and roots of the Santalum album or the Indian sandalwood tree. It is primarily grown in the southern part of India around a region called Mysore (or Mysuru).
Sandalwood oil has major uses in the perfume industry, with sandalwood perfume being prized for its alluring and sophisticated scent. It also has wide uses in aromatherapy, and beautifully complements the scents and properties of other essential oils such as cedar, rosewood, and patchouli. Sandalwood oil also has major applications in anticancer research, as an antiseptic, for pain relief, and so much more!
While sandalwood oil is produced in many countries around the world such as Australia, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, the sandalwood that comes from South India is considered to be the best and most authentic. The composition and smell of sandalwood grown in other regions are also different from the one in Mysore because the sandalwood tree is native to this region! Purchasing my sandalwood oil means that you are purchasing a piece of history, with the added assurance that my oils are ethically and legally sourced. Read more about it later on!
What does sandalwood oil smell like?
Famed for its distinctive warm, smooth, creamy wood scent, sandalwood oil has major uses in the aromatherapy and perfume industries.
Its aromatic properties alone make it an important ingredient in ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The sweet woody aroma of sandalwood has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and many other ailments that plague Singaporeans these days. We all know what it is like to be compacted together on our little red dot and how that can be overwhelming… well, you can tap into the aromatherapy benefits of this oil to help you escape, even if it is just for a tiny bit!
Why is sandalwood oil so expensive?
Sandalwood essential oil is one of the most expensive and rare essential oils in the world. 1 kilogram of sandalwood essential oil costs more than US$3000! This is more than three times the price of a kilogram of silver! There is also a huge international demand for authentic sandalwood oil, and quite often, demand exceeds supply massively. The market for sandalwood oil is expected to reach USD$156 Million by 2024!
Here are some reasons why this oil's value is just as much as its worth…
The maturity time
It takes about 25 years for sandalwood trees to be harvestable. The older the trees, the finer the quality of oil extracted from them. This long maturation period and difficulty in harvesting the trees, as well as its vulnerable status as an exploited species is partly why sandalwood oil is one of the most expensive essential oils in the world.
Low yield and labour-intensive
Sandalwood oil is produced by steam distillation of the heartwood from sandalwood trees. The outer bark and sap is stripped off because the heartwood is where the oil is stored. A sandalwood tree normally yields only 2.5 kilograms of essential oil for every 100 kilograms of heartwood! It also involves a lot of manual labour as this oil has a few more steps in its distillation process than other oils and in some steps, machines are typically not used.
The authenticity and ethical standards of acquisition
Arguably, the world's best quality sandalwood oil is produced in South India. This oil is extracted from Santalum album or the East Indian Sandalwood tree which is a protected species in India. Due to its fragrant wood, sacrality, and multiple uses in cosmetics, woodworking, and perfumes the species was harvested almost to the point of extinction especially by sandalwood smugglers.
The government of India has since stepped in to curtail the illegal over-harvesting of sandalwood trees and therefore regulates how many trees can be harvested each year.
This means that all sandalwood trees in India should be owned by the government, so always remember to buy your sandalwood products from companies that are legally supported because there is a huge threat of illegal harvesting and smuggling of sandalwood trees that threatens the fragile ecosystem of this commodity. I source my sandalwood from ethical sources and our oil therefore comes with proper documentation and permits. I, Ollie, am strongly against the exploitation of natural resources. My aim of building a sustainable and eco-friendly business is reflected in our choice to only use suppliers who harvest sandalwood trees sustainably, are government approved, and have strongly vetted quality controls for their sandalwood oils.
My sister from another mother and founder of Ollie, Rithika Gupta, did an in-depth interview where she delved into the history of sandalwood oil production and how it has come to be what it is today. It is fascinating and super informative so please check it out here!
How to choose the best sandalwood essential oil?
Unfortunately a large percentage of Indian sandalwood oil that is being circulated in the market comes from unscrupulous sources such as smugglers or plantations that overexploit the species. The high price that authentic sandalwood oil fetches in the market has given it the name “liquid gold”. This has resulted in many illegal traders who sell products that are subpar in quality, that are mixed with synthetic fragrances, or are extracted from smuggled sandalwood.
The Indian Government controls all the harvesting and distillation of sandalwood oil derived from Indian sandalwood trees. Sustainability is at the centre of my values and I always prioritize ethical sourcing of materials for the essential oils I produce. I actively work with farms and plantations to ensure that I am sourcing our oils from growers that engage in replantation of sandalwood trees whenever a certain quantity of sandalwood is harvested. You can be assured that not only do you get the purest quality of authentic Indian sandalwood oil, you are also getting your oils through an ethically harvested and legal channel.
So when buying Indian sandalwood oil, always remember to check whether the company supports ethical, sustainable, and legal harvesting of sandalwood trees. Avoid brands that advertise their sandalwood oil as sandalwood-derived or made with sandalwood fragrance. This means they might have added synthetic fragrances to their product. When that happens, it means that you are not getting the pure oil that you deserve. This could be why some sandalwood oils seem to be so cheap and the worst case scenario is if a company is trying to pass off synthetic or diluted oils as pure oil and charging you the full price of it! Don't let that happen to you because you deserve better!
What does sandalwood essential oil blend well with?
Sandalwood oil's sweet woody tones help it blend well with many different essential oils. It adds an earthy fragrance to any essential oil it is blended with.
Here's a quick list of the types of oil it blends well with:
Try sandalwood oil with floral essential oils such as Ollie's Himalayan Lavender Oil, Rose oil or Geranium Oil.
Sandalwood oil blends especially well with Bergamot oil, Ollie's Orange Oil, and Grapefruit Oil.
Sandalwood oil also goes really well with warm oils such as Ollie’s Frankincense oil, clove oil, and patchouli oil.
Whatever essential oils you choose for blending with sandalwood oil, you'll find that its effects feel enhanced because of sandalwood oil's powerful multivariate properties. Shall we get into the details of how it can be used?
5 Benefits and uses of sandalwood oil
You would be surprised at how versatile this essential oil is. The first people who discovered its properties were the ancient Indians. There have been 4000 year old historical records documenting the use of sandalwood in its various forms. It was also prized by Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures for its wide range of uses from antiseptic properties to uses in religious ceremonies.
Here's a brief list of how a modern consumer of sandalwood oil can incorporate it into your daily life and why it might be worth having it in your medicine cabinet.
Causes: lifestyle and workplace pressures.
Consequences: increased risk of hypertension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, reduced immunity, and strokes.
Stress buster solution? How about some aromatherapy?
A study on teenagers showed that regular aromatherapy sessions can reduce stress considerably.
One of the best essential oils to include in your aromatherapy sessions is my Mysore sandalwood oil. The compound alpha-santalol and beta-santalol, which are the main active ingredients responsible for sandalwood oil’s calming properties, will aid you in achieving some mental peace.
Using sandalwood oil regularly can boost memory and mental clarity, while reducing tension, anxiety, insomnia, and stress.
It is traditionally used in meditation and religious rituals in the form of incense or diffusions to boost calmness, serenity, and aid in relaxation. Using sandalwood oil in your aromatherapy session through diffuser blends can help you shake off some of the burdens of the world! That's step one, the rest is up to you.
Mysore Sandalwood oil has wide uses in cosmetics and skin care products.
Main property: astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic.
Reason for use: Singapore’s hot and humid weather can lead to a lot of acne breakouts, heat rashes, and skin irritation - sandalwood helps calm your skin from the effects of it!
How to use: add it to your moisturizer or make a face mask (recipe below!)
Sandalwood essential oil is used in many ayurvedic skin treatments because of its naturally occurring antimicrobial, antioxidant, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties. Ancient women regularly used sandalwood paste for their skin care routines.
Sandalwood essential oil, which is the purest form of any sandalwood product, has potent anti-ageing properties. Not only does it remove fine wrinkles over time, it actively slows down the creation of new lines, drastically reduces acne by cleaning pores and killing acne causing skin bacteria. Sandalwood oil is also a great remedy for skin inflammation issues such as psoriasis and eczema thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Plus, you’ll end up smelling lovely even with just a few drops of sandalwood oil!
Perfumes and fragrance products
Sandalwood Oil is a key ingredient in many perfumes, attars, and fragrances.
With its sweet woody base note, makes it an ideal addition to homemade perfumes and also in its use in aromatherapy.
As a popular base note in many colognes and perfumes, it blends well with different fragrances such as rose, bergamot, orange and many more. When top and middle notes are added to it, sandalwood oils act as a fixative, which complements and enhances the other components.
As mentioned earlier, sandalwood essential oil is popular in aromatherapy and incense. The scents of sandalwood oil, whether used in perfume form or in aromatherapy blends, act as a central nervous system relaxant and contribute to creating an atmosphere of relaxation, sensuality, and sacrality.
1 in 5 elderly in Singapore suffer from chronic pain. Singapore ranks among the world's highest ranking for body and head pain, according to the 2017 GSK Global Pain Index.
Long term use of painkillers can cause dependency, fluid retention, and kidney and liver issues.
Sandalwood oil has natural analgesic pain relieving properties. It's a good natural alternative to allopathic painkillers.
Sandalwood oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Alpha santalol and beta santalol, the main compounds in sandalwood oil, are neuroleptic. This means that it numbs and reduces nervous tension and pain. It is often used in inducing deep relaxation during meditation exercises and has been shown to enhance the effects of conventional methods of arthritic pain relief resulting in greater and longer-lasting pain relief. This oil is also effective for soothing muscle spasms - it is a great remedy for muscle spasms brought on from muscular disorders, period cramps, and muscle exhaustion. Use sandalwood oil in the form of a massage oil or include it in a pain relief balm to experience the wonderful relaxing and pain-relieving qualities of sandalwood oil.
While sandalwood oil can help to relieve symptoms of pain, it does not replace medication specifically formulated to treat pain. If something is bothering you, please go see your doctor!
Digestive issues are very common these days. Many digestive troubles are linked to poor diet, improper eating habits, stress eating, and consumption of high fat and sugar-laden foods. Common effects of indigestion include bloating, gas, discomfort, and poor nutrient absorption.
So how can sandalwood oil help you with your digestive issues?
Being an essential oil that promotes relaxation of muscles, sandalwood oil can induce relaxation in the intestine and abdominal muscles. This results in better digestion, less bloating and acidity, and removal of excess gas.
Add a drop of sandalwood oil to your pot of tea after a meal or even just dab a few drops of sandalwood oil on your wrist that you can inhale as you eat. Goodbye annoying tummy!
5 essential recipes with Mysore sandalwood oil
Alright, let's get down to the business of knowing exactly what to do with this oil!
Sandalwood Oil Diffuser Blend Recipe
Coming home after a long stressful day of meetings? Do you just want to put your feet up and unwind from all the stress of dealing with the world? Then this wonderful "stress buster diffuser blend" with sandalwood oil is perfect for you. It will instantly soothe frayed nerves, reduce your tension, and help you sleep better. The use of sandalwood and lavender oil promotes deep relaxation and induces a meditative calmness, while my sweet orange oil will help you pick your energy right back up!
Stress buster diffuser blend
3 drops of Ollie’s Mysore Sandalwood Essential Oil
2 drops of Ollie’s Himalayan Lavender Essential Oil
1 drop of Ollie’s Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Blend the three oils together and use it with your diffuser machine. Within minutes you’ll feel the magic of this divine stress buster blend.
My Himalayan lavender oil has been expanded in its own blog post. Read about it here to discover its benefits and how you can use it for yourself!
Sandalwood Oil Face Pack
Sandalwood oil has powerful astringent, anti-microbial, anti-ageing, and anti-inflammatory properties. This is a saviour for people who get frequent acne breakouts and want to get clear and radiant skin. Sandalwood oil will also help you get rid of blemishes and acne scars faster. Not only that, it will help you unclog and cleanse your pores. Living in a humid country like Singapore, skin issues like acne, sunburn, and clogged pores is very common. But fret not! This easy to make, natural face mask will help clear up your skin in no time!
Glowing moon face mask
5 drops of Ollie’s Mysore sandalwood oil
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of green gram flour
1 egg yolk
Mix all the ingredients together until it is a paste.
Apply on your skin and leave it for an hour.
Wash off with cold water and apply a moisturizer for your face to lock all the goodness in!
This mask will leave your skin glowing and with regular use, your acne and blemishes will also subside. It’s also great to use on sun burns and rashes. The sandalwood oil has skin-healing properties, turmeric powder fights off acne causing bacteria, honey will enhance your complexion, the green gram powder acts as a natural exfoliant, and the egg yolk will hydrate and deeply nourish your skin. It's a great way to unwind from the day whilst getting amazing skincare benefits, if you ask me!
DIY homemade roll-on perfume with Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood has traditionally been used around the world in perfumes and fragrances. Its woody base note makes it a wonderful complement to many fragrances. Make your own DIY homemade perfume with essential oils. Perfumes made from essential oils don’t just make you smell nice, their aromatherapeutic properties add many health benefits from stress reduction to increasing your energy. Check out this easy DIY perfume with essential oils!
4 drops of Ollie’s Mysore Sandalwood Oil
5 drops of bergamot essential oil
1 drop of clove bud essential oil
2 drops of vanilla essential oil
1 Tbsp Jojoba carrier oil (or any unscented carrier oil of your choice)
10 ml tinted glass roll-on bottle
Note: Remember to always use a tinted glass bottle for essential oils because they can oxidize and go rancid if exposed to light.
Mix all the essential oils together in the tinted glass roll-on bottle.
Fill the rest of the bottle with your carrier oil.
Close the bottle and shake thoroughly. Always shake the bottle before using.
Apply to your pulse points as and when needed.
This roll-on perfume makes for an ideal gift to your friends and also great to have in your bag. Just dab onto your pulse points when you feel like you need a quick pick-me-up or if you want to smell fresh for that impromptu lunch date!
Sandalwood oil, although expensive, might be one of the best purchases you make in your essential oils journey. Kickstart your aromatherapy journey with this versatile oil that blends beautifully with almost every other essential oil.
Whether you use it with other essential oils or just on its own after mixing with a carrier oil, you will discover that sandalwood oil brings a lot of benefits into your life with just a few drops. Bring in calmness, harmony, spirituality, and health into your life by using it in diffuser blends, as incense, or even in your personal care products. Its warm fragrance will have you feeling calm and ready to conquer the world - just the little boost you need!