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Sandalwood

Santalum album
 

Sandalwood Powder & Chips on Sandalwood Plate

 

Description: Sandalwood is one of the oldest incense materials; it's use dates back at least 4,000 years. It's one of the most calming incenses and therefore one of the preferred ingredients for relaxation. It calms the mind, enhances mental clarity, and aids in spiritual practice. The aroma increases devotion and combined properly can help transmute sexual energy for those who are practicing celibacy. Many ancient religious accessories, such as statues, staffs and rosaries, are made from this wood.

Sandalwood is the common name given to the honey colored heartwood and roots of the sandal tree. The sandal tree, species name santalum album, is found growing most notably in India, but also in Indonesia and a related species in Australia. There are nine known species of these small, graceful evergreen trees. Each is semi-parasitic; they obtain most of their nutrients through photosynthesis, but also rely on a host plant(s), via its sucker roots, for water and minerals.

It takes some 15 to 20 years for sufficient essential oil to develop in the roots and heartwood of the tree to even consider using it for oil extraction. Full maturity is reached after 80 years. The oil-rich core of the dark heartwood gradually develops, its aroma improving with age.

The sandal tree is uprooted in the rainy season when the soil is more permitting and the roots are richer in its precious essential oil. Harvesting and trade is strictly controlled by the governments and forestry departments of India and Indonesia but poaching and black market trading is vast.

Threatened Species Alert: Status: Vulnerable. The 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species now includes East Indian Sandalwood, santalum album. Endangered (Maharastra): CAMP meeting Prune Feb. 2001. Priority spp. for in situ conservation: FAO (1984). Wood and oil exports are controlled by Madras & Mysore Governments of India. Trading in Australian sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, is also cautioned as plantations are not yet productive -  See Cropwatch and IUCN.

Family: Santalaceae

Synonyms: Chandan, East Indian sandalwood, white sandalwood, yellow sandalwood, the Great Receiver (due to the oils ability to absorb the aromatic molecules of other oils, hence its use in true Indian "Attars").

Origin: India, Indonesia, Ceylon, Australia, Pacific Islands, etc. The finest quality comes from the forests of India; Karnataka, Mysore, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Parts Used: heartwood, roots

Aroma Description: soft, sweet, woody base note with a delicate, spicy, oriental undertone

Emotional Attributes: relaxing, cleansing/purifying, strengthening, sleep, meditation, sensuous, love

Cosmetic Uses: perfumery, aromatherapy; skin rejuvenation

Culinary Uses: essence is used to flavor syrups and milk desserts in India

Medicinal Attributes: bittersweet astringent herb that cools the body, calms the mind, relives spasms, improves digestion. It has diuretic, analgesic and antiseptic effects, often used externally for skin complaints

Element Association: Water

Magical Associations: healing, spirituality, protection, peace

Astrological Association: Cancer, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Taurus, Aries

Planetary Association: Moon

Season: Spring, Summer

Aromatic Note: Base note

Essential Oil: Yes, steam distilled essential oils and C02 extracts are available. Sandalwood is an widely used base note and fixative for the perfume industry. Threatened Species Alert: The 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species now includes Sandalwood, Santalum album.

Mixes Well With: excellent all around base ingredient - aloeswood, benzoin, borneol camphor, cassia, catnip, cedar, chamomile, cinnamon, clove, copal-black, juniper, labdanum, lavender, musk seed, nutmeg, palo santo wood, patchouli, rhubarb, rose, saffron, sandarac, spikenard, star anise, storax, tolu balsam, turmeric, vanilla, vetiver, etc.

Medical Disclaimer: Information on this web site is for entertainment purposes only. This information is NOT intended as medical advice or for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.

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