Aromatherapy for the Mind, Body, and Spirit - Sandalwood Essential Oil

For over 4000 years, the Sandalwood tree has played a significant part in Eastern culture as a material for art and artifacts, a medicine, and a divine aroma. Sandalwood products are obtained from the sandalwood tree (Santalum album), which is a member of the Santalaceae family native to southern tropical Asia. It is an evergreen growing to a height of 9 meters, with leathery leaves, long slender brangches, and small purple flowers. The tree also happens to be parasitic, relying on the nutrien-gathering ability of one of several other tree species for its sustenance. Due to its seemingly strict set of environmental conditions and its parasitic nature, the extremely versatile Sandalwood tree is quite difficult to propagate.

One of the more highly-prized products of Sandalwood is the essential oil it yields. Most commonly through steam distillation, a rich, deep, sweet, woody oil is produced that is values the world over. It is, in fact, one of the world's most widely used aromatics ? for it's scent in perfumery, for it's therapeutic effects in Chinese, Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine systems, and for it's ability to center the mind in meditative yogic traditions. The source for this wonderful oil is becoming scarce, however. It is the heartwood, the very center, of the roots of the tree that produce oil of the highest quality and demand - a sandalwood tree will not survive harvest. Pressure on the world's population of Santalum album is growing; The tree takes nearly 30 years to mature before yielding oil of significant value, and because of its stringent environmental demands, successful cultivation is extremly difficult.

Oil of the album species has a unique aroma with excellent tenacity and superior fixative properties. There are other varieties available, but the oil from this increasingly rare tree is considered the most important therapeutically. The Mysore region of eastern India is thought to produce the highest quality of this essential oil, though it's harvest is known to be creating a strain on the area's environment. Local forestry officials have been killed over the illegal poaching of Sandalwood, and 'black-market' trading continues.

There is hope, however, for meeting the world's demands - Recently, an oil of the austrocaledonia species has been produced on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu from successfully cultivated trees. This oil has a warm aroma, with a woody, smoky scent that has been said to remind one of 'being at the beach' ? a useful base note in perfume and cosmetic blends.

In the West, Sandalwood is perhaps best known in the west as a natural, woody, sweet body perfume used 'as is', or as a familiar aroma in manufactured personal items. In the East, however, Sandalwood's importance in cultural and spiritual traditions cannot be overstated. The wood is carved into furniture, religious icons, used to build temples and burned as incense in a great variety of ceremonies. The oil is used to anoint the dead, helping their transition to the next life. In Burma, women sprinkle it on passersby on the last day of the year for the release of sins. In Hindu marriages, Sandalwood is burned in a tent such that the smoke surrounds the bridal couple.

In the traditional Indian medicine system of Ayurveda, Sandalwood is valued for it's ability to cool the fire of pitta. It is indicated for inflammatory conditions, such as inflamed skin, or intestinal and genitor-urinary conditions that require cooling. Modern aromatherapy considers the oil an effective skin care agent for dry skin, general irritation, and acne; it can help in cases of bronchitis, catarrh, dry persistent coughs, laryngitis and sore throat; it may relieve diarrhea and nausea, and can be supportive in cases of cystitis.

Beyond the physical body, Sandalwood essential oil well known as a tonic for the hyper-active mind. In practical terms, the oil is considered an anti-depressant, relieving hot, agitated emotional states, and assisting release from over-thinking and worry. More esoterically, the aroma is considered 'divinely sweet' and softly balsamic, characteristics which evoke the grounding nature of the Earth element. It is used by yogis in the East and West to bring stillness in meditation - a serene mental state unifying conciousness of the body, mind and spirit. From this quiet, unified state, one may be able to gain greater perspective and understanding on what is known as the 'Univeral Self'.

Adding to the oils' grace, it happens to be one of the few aromatics that improves with age. Like a fine wine, one may purchace a favorite vintage, put it on the shelf, and be assured it will only be richer when finally taken down. Because of it's growing scarcity, responsible use is suggested - but using a little is highly recommended.

Misty Rae Cech is a Naturopath in Boulder, Colorado. She is the owner of Ananda Apothecary, producing the Ananda Aromatherapy line of pure essential oils and blends. Misty employs essential oils such as Sandalwood oil in her practice, finding them a natural and effective way to support her clients.

In The News:

Alternative Sports Bar  Eugene Weekly
Davos Alternative Reading List  Transnational Institute
Alternative opinions on...  Enumclaw Courier-Herald
An alternative narrative  Mumbai Mirror

Using Pain To Institute Change In Your Life!

Why do you do something that harms you? Why do... Read More

Top 3 Reasons Why You Suffer From Pain In The Back Of The Knee

Pain behind the knee is something many of us have... Read More

Arthritis Pain: Why Visualizations May Be Able to Provide Relief

Over 100 different types of arthritis exist, but by far... Read More

Shamanic Healing & Soul Retrieval

Shamanic healing is one of the vast numbers of healing... Read More

Home Spa and Bodys Adaptation. The More the Better?

The More The Faster The Better?Or Some Words About The... Read More

Consultation Guidelines For Hypnotherapy

The initial consultation may well be the most crucial aspect... Read More

Get Your ZZZZZZ?s Naturally

Insomnia ? according to the dictionary is a chronic inability... Read More

Citronnelle

Remember the last Dumpling Festival? Did your mother or grandmother... Read More

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils for Physical and Psychological Well-being

What is Aromatherapy?It is the practice of using volatile plant... Read More

Constipation Relief With Fruits Part III

Here's another group of fruits that you can use to... Read More

Stuttering Treatment, Stammering Treatment

There are many different treatments for people who stutter/stammer. In... Read More

Evolution of Aromatherapy

The Origin of AromatherapySince the beginning ? from the time... Read More

Ginger for Upset Stomach

The common ginger root used in cooking has been found... Read More

Headache, Hypnosis, And Stress, A Case History

Now, more that ever, concerned physicians are beginning to ask... Read More

Learn How to Do A Successful Gall Bladder Flush

To do a Gall Bladder Flush you will need the... Read More

Know About the All Purpose Holistic Medicine

Understanding what holistic medicine is:Holistic Medicine is a wellness-based approach... Read More

What Causes Osteoporosis and Ten Changes You Can Make to Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis

Ten Simple Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Reduce Your... Read More

Understanding Holistic Living

Holistic living is simply living your life with all aspects... Read More

Laughter, Why Its so Good for You

For hundreds of years, we've known that 'Laughter is the... Read More

Cleansing Your Elimination Organs to Achieve Good Health

Benefits of Cleansing Your Elimination Organs Colon cleansing, kidney cleansing,... Read More

Rose Rouge: Beyond the Healing Powers of Love

"The rose distils a healing balm The beating pulse of... Read More

Serotonin Kills Pain ? And May Be Available From Your Subconscious

Serotonin is not just for depression--it's potent for pain relief... Read More

The Making of Essential Oils ? Steam Distillation, Absolutes, and CO2s Explained

Aromatherapy Goes 'High Tech'New methods of essential oil extraction are... Read More

The Healing Power of Water Gardens

If you experienced a day filled with running from one... Read More

Quick Tip for Runners Who Have Knee Pain

Running with knees that hurt and are not getting better... Read More