Sandalwood: Uses, benefits and everything you need to know

Sandalwood, also known as Santalum album, is a fragrant wood derived from the sandalwood tree. It is highly valued for its distinctive aroma, therapeutic properties, and various applications in skincare, aromatherapy, religious rituals, and perfumery. Here’s everything you need to know about sandalwood, including its uses, benefits, and more.

Botanical Information


  • Scientific Name: Santalum album
  • Family: Santalaceae
  • Native to the Indian subcontinent, Australia, Indonesia, and other parts of Southeast Asia
  • Parts Used: Heartwood, essential oil

Aroma and Flavour

  • Sandalwood has a sweet, woody, and warm aroma with a rich and creamy undertone.
  • It is often described as earthy, balsamic, and slightly floral, with hints of vanilla and spice.

Uses and Benefits

  1. Skincare:
    • Sandalwood is prized for its skincare benefits, including its ability to soothe, moisturise, and rejuvenate the skin.
    • It is used in various skincare products such as soaps, creams, lotions, and face masks to treat acne, inflammation, dryness, and signs of ageing.
    • Sandalwood powder or paste is also applied topically to lighten skin tone, reduce blemishes, and improve complexion.
  2. Aromatherapy:
    • Sandalwood essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy for its calming, grounding, and mood-enhancing properties.
    • Inhaling sandalwood oil or using it in diffusers, vaporizers, or massage oils can promote relaxation, reduce stress, anxiety, and insomnia, and uplift the mood.
  3. Spiritual and religious practices:
    • Sandalwood has been used for centuries in religious rituals, ceremonies, and spiritual practices.
    • It is burned as incense or used in the form of incense sticks, cones, or powder during meditation, prayers, yoga, and other spiritual activities to create a sacred and serene atmosphere.
  4. Perfumery:
    • Sandalwood is a prized ingredient in the perfumery and fragrance industries due to its unique aroma and fixative properties.
    • It is used as a base note or middle note in perfumes, colognes, and fragrances to add warmth, depth, and longevity to the scent.
  5. Medicinal Uses:
    • In traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda, sandalwood is used for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties.
    • It is used internally or externally to treat various health conditions such as digestive issues, urinary tract infections, respiratory problems, and skin ailments.

Conservation Status

  • Due to overharvesting and illegal trade, many species of sandalwood, including Santalum album, are considered endangered or vulnerable.
  • Sustainable harvesting practices and conservation efforts are essential to protect sandalwood trees and ensure their long-term survival.


  • Some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions when using sandalwood products, especially those with sensitive skin.
  • It is advisable to perform a patch test before using sandalwood oil or other products topically.
  • Pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions should consult a healthcare professional before using sandalwood products.


Sandalwood is a versatile and useful natural resource that has multiple applications and advantages in cosmetics, aromatherapy, spiritual pursuits, and medicine. Sandalwood, when sourced sustainably and utilised ethically, can help to promote overall well-being and cultural traditions for future generations.