10 Uses for Sandalwood Essential Oil and What to Substitute It with When in Need

Best known for its long history in religious traditions in India, Sandalwood has also been a part of the holistic health system. Today, thanks to new studies, the uses for Sandalwood essential oil have multiplied. This “sacred” oil is believed to deal with problems and ailments of the body, soul, and mind.


Those are all uses that I’m going to explore in this article. The first chapter will be about the properties of Sandalwood and its other types. Just one single species of Sandalwood is considered to yield high-quality oil.


That species is called Santalum album. Because of that and because it’s an endangered species, you should also know what other types of Sandalwood oil you could use.


The second chapter of the article will be about 10 ways you can use Sandalwood oil. Among others, it can be used for spiritual health or for improving symptoms of minor ailments.


At the end of the article, you will find a few Aromatherapy blends with Sandalwood essential oil. If you don’t already have your own favorite blends, this will be your little corner of inspiration.


Also, check out the fun facts in this article! You’ll find some pretty interesting info about the oil of Sandalwood.


Did You Know?

  • People used to sculpt temple doors from sandalwood because it is mold resistant. Sandalwood’s scent is sacred and enchanting for many religious people.


Uses for Sandalwood Essential Oil
Indian Sandalwood


About Sandalwood Essential Oil, Its Properties and Other Types of Sandalwood Oils to Choose From


Botanical name: Santalum album (Indian Sandalwood)

Texture: thick oil

Color: clear – yellow

Aroma: rich, oriental/balsamic, woody and sweet.


Santalum album is the name of the Indian sandalwood, which is a parasitic tree. That means when planted, the sandalwood nuts have to be placed between 4 or 5 host trees. The role of these host trees will be to provide the sandalwood essential water and nutrients.


The roots of the Santalum will seek out neighboring tree roots and tap into them for the nutrients and water it needs. However, Santalum is able to photosynthesize on its own.


It takes many years for the tree to completely mature and yield the best essential oil and aroma. The best trees for high-quality essential oil are 80 years old. That is a very long time to wait for a tree to mature, and its demand is so high!


Because of that, most Sandalwood essential oils are now extracted from the roots and the wood of 30 – 40-year-old trees. Indian sandalwood is now an endangered species because of over-harvesting. That’s also the reason for which Sandalwood oil is among the most expensive essential oils.


Other Species of Sandalwood


The Santalum album grows in Eastern India and Indonesia. But there are over 20 other species in the Santalum genus. However, only a few of them are used for the same purposes as the Indian sandalwood. But they do not yield the same high-quality essential oil as the Santalum album species does.


The Santalum spicatum is the Australian sandalwood. Then, there is the Santalum ellipticum which is the Hawaiian sandalwood. And there is also Santalum austrocaledonicum, the New Caledonian sandalwood that grows in the New Caledonia islands and Vanuatu (east of northern Australia).


The Amyris balsamifera is known as the West Indian sandalwood (Amyris) and it comes from Haiti. This latter essential oil is not related to sandalwood, but its scent resembles a lot to it.


Some of the cosmetic uses for Sandalwood essential oil can be filled in with the oil of Amyris. This one is very often used in soaps, candles, and other products as a substitute of the true Sandalwood essential oil.


The Hawaiian and the New Caledonian Sandalwood essential oils can also be used instead of true Sandalwood oil (Santalum album). The New Caledonian Sandalwood essential oil is the closest in aroma and chemical constituents to the Santalum album.


The Australian Sandalwood essential oil’s aroma is a lot lighter than the grounding, deep and balsamic aroma of the Santalum album.


All these other species are or aren’t related to the real sandalwood. But they can be used to substitute the very expensive and rare Santalum album essential oil.


Please keep in mind though that each type of Sandalwood essential oil is different. It has different properties and benefits.  Because of that, the uses for Sandalwood essential oil can also differ.


Because of everything going around this precious essential oil, we’d probably have to learn to treasure it for as long as we can. Stock up with what you have or can find right now. It probably won’t be long until it will disappear again like in the ‘70s. Sandalwood is not used to make only essential oils.


It is also used in every ceremony, ritual, and tradition in India and other parts of the world. It is used in temples as a piece of furniture or incense, and it is also overused in perfumery.


So yes, the demand is extraordinary for sandalwood, especially because its wood lasts for such a long time! In perfumery, the oil of Sandalwood is a base note and a great fixative. It does not overpower the other aromas. Instead, it keeps them in place, lengthens their life and enhances their scents.


Santalum album or the true Sandalwood essential oil contains:


  • 60 –90% alpha and beta-santalol. They’re alcohol molecules. They give the oil its fragrance and make it a base note because they’re heavier molecules.
  • Beta-santalene and santyl acetate.


There are a few factors that may change the main constituents of the Sandalwood essential oil. Those factors are the age of the tree and its growing conditions.


For example:

According to the Australian Natural Therapists Association, the Sandalwood essential oil extracted from a 10-year-old tree (Santalum album) had a content of 75% santalol. While the Sandalwood oil extracted from a 30-year-old tree had a content of 89% santalol.


Tip! Sandalwood contains beta-santalene, which is part of the sesquiterpenes group. Because of that, it will not dissolve easily in alcohol or other vegetable oils. That’s because of their high molecular weight.


Uses for Sandalwood Essential Oil


The Properties of Sandalwood Essential Oil


  • It is anti-inflammatory.
  • It has sedative and relaxing properties.
  • Venous and lymphatic decongestant.
  • Soothing and moisturizing on the skin.
  • It has antiviral properties.
  • Antidepressant.
  • Aphrodisiac.
  • Disinfectant.
  • Antispasmodic.
  • Expectorant (helps in treating coughs and gets rid of the phlegm)
  • Tonic and stimulant for the heart, mind and the entire body.
  • Regenerating properties.


We’ve finally got to the good part! Let’s see what the uses for Sandalwood essential oil are and how to make the best of this precious oil.



Did You Know?

  • In Burma, in religious ceremonies, it was customary for women to sprinkle people with a mixture of Sandalwood oil and Rose water. The ritual was considered to wash the sins that were committed during the year. The emulsion purified people’s bodies and minds.



10 Uses for Sandalwood Essential Oil


Sandalwood essential oil is so rich in molecules with various qualities! Because of that, I’ve split its uses in two categories. Physical uses (Aromatherapy) and spiritual uses. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve by using Sandalwood, you can go directly to the category that suits your needs.


Physical Uses


  1. Improve the condition of your dry skin or eczema.


This first use for Sandalwood essential oil is also very popular. The oil is moisturizing and soothing to the skin. But it also has anti-inflammatory properties and will help the skin calm down its flares. Sandalwood oil promotes a fast replacement of skin cells.



  1. Protect your hair and scalp.


As you already know, Sandalwood oil has anti-inflammatory and disinfectant qualities. Those qualities can help keep your scalp clean and clear of dandruff. It can also stimulate the hair to grow. Add 20 – 25 drops of Sandalwood essential oil in your usual shampoo and use normally.


Or add 5 – 10 drops in some Coconut oil, put it on your hair and scalp and keep it on for at least one hour before you wash it off. Your hair will really shine afterward!


Uses for Sandalwood Essential Oil


  1. Use Sandalwood oil in anti-aging serums.


One of the best uses for Sandalwood essential oil is that of reducing fine wrinkles and expression wrinkles. Thanks to its astringent properties, it can tighten the skin and the capillaries. At the same time, it can also moisturize the skin. Add a few drops to your night cream or prepare one yourself and use daily.



  1. Add sandalwood in your perfumes.


Make your own perfume and use Sandalwood essential oil as one of your base notes. It will also act as a great fixative for all the other aromas in your blend. Sandalwood can keep together all the other scents and holds the light scents from evaporating too quickly. The end result will be impressive, to say the least!



  1. Protect and improve genital and urinary infections.


Sandalwood, with its strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, can help to heal the herpes virus. It can also have a positive effect on the genito-urinary tract.


Make a sitz bath from 3 – 5 drops of Sandalwood in some warm water and lay there until the water cools off. This has a double effect because it can also calm down the discomfort and worries.



Spiritual/Psychic Uses


  1. Remove anxiety and stress symptoms.


Another one of the best uses for Sandalwood essential oil is its ability to promote relaxation and induce grounding effects. Sandalwood essential oil has sedative qualities.


That makes it good at ensuring the well-being of a person by promoting a better breathing. It can relieve tension and remove dark thoughts from one’s mind.



  1. Meditate with Sandalwood essential oil.


The Santalum album essential oil has been used for thousands of years for deep meditative states. Today it is known that it affects the parasympathetic nervous system. That means it can make your body conserve energy and slow down the heart rate.


All these things lead to total relaxation. Diffuse 2 – 3 drops of Sandalwood oil in a well-ventilated room, shut off the noise and focus on your breathing.


Uses for Sandalwood Essential Oil


  1. Uplift your spirit with the oil of Sandalwood.


Diffuse a few drops of Sandalwood oil for 20 minutes and inhale deeply. Don’t forget to keep a window open or else you risk getting headaches or nausea because of its strong scent.


Its sedative nature is of great help in this situation also. After calming down, it can also induce warm and meditative feelings. Feelings that will make you appreciate what you have and be happy.



  1. Fight off addictions


This use for Sandalwood essential oil can help you reduce the need to consume a certain substance. That substance may come from coffee, certain drugs or cigarettes. It can also help you deal with those dark thoughts that come when you’re trying to get rid of bad habits and addictions.


You could also add a few drops of citrus oils near Sandalwood. Make a blend and apply on pulse points or diffuse the blend each day. At least for as long as the withdrawal lasts.



  1. Improve libido problems with Sandalwood.


Among the many uses for Sandalwood essential oil, it can also act as an aphrodisiac. Sandalwood’s warm, oriental and grounding scent can influence one’s mind into calmness and relaxation.


With a few other tricks such as lit candles and a dim light, you could just as well be on the right path. Diffuse sandalwood oil or mix it with a carrier oil of your choice and use as massage blend.



Did you know?

  • The Bible mentions that during King Solomon’s reign, sandalwood was used in the making of musical instruments. Back in those times, they were made in the temple of Jerusalem.



Inspirational Aromatherapy Blends with Sandalwood


If you liked what you just read about Sandalwood essential oil, then you will want to try at least one blend with it. I chose one for relaxation and another to help you fight those addictions in your life you want to get rid of.


Quit Smoking Aromatherapy Blend

You’ll need:

  • True Sandalwood essential oil: 10 drops
  • Peppermint essential oil: 5 drops
  • Frankincense essential oil: 5 drops
  • Avocado oil: 1 Oz.


You can blend the essential oils alone and use a few drops in a diffuser. Or you can blend them in the carrier oil and massage your wrists 6 – 8 times a day. Do so for as long as the withdrawal period lasts. Inhale deeply from it every time.


People with hypertension or epileptics should ask for a doctor’s approval first. Or use with great caution and do some more research if needed. The same goes for breastfeeding or pregnant women.


Relaxing and Anti-Depressant Blend

You’ll need:

  • Sandalwood essential oil: 10 drops
  • Ylang Ylang essential oil: 5 drops
  • German Chamomile essential oil: 5 drops
  • Jasmine essential oil (or absolute): 3 drops
  • Rose essential oil (Otto): 7 drops
  • Sweet Almond oil: 2 Oz. (60 ml)


Blend all the oils in your carrier base and shake vigorously each time, before you apply it. Apply on the wrists, chest and pulse points every time you feel necessary. Inhale deeply and let the oils work their magic. Keep the blend stored in a cool dark place.


There would be so much more to tell about Sandalwood essential oil. Just the fact that its reserves become scarce with each passing year would be enough to write a book.


But the important thing is that it’s full of benefits for the body and mind. Use it wisely if you already have it, or buy some if you can still find it. Even though it is expensive, its price is well worth it.


The many uses for Sandalwood essential oil make it a suitable ingredient in Aromatherapy. It’s a good thing that we can also replace it with the New Caledonian Sandalwood essential oil. It is no match for the Santalum album, but it’s there in case we need it.

Do you like true Sandalwood essential oil? Have you ever used it?


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