Post by Suzanne R Banks
An essential oil from a wood can draw us in to world of intrigue and secrets, ancient knowledge and divine scent. Wood oils bring an oil formulation together and can be considered “grounding” and “centering” – due to the fact the tree roots delve deep into the earth. Oils from woods have been used for thousands of years in sacred ceremonies, embalming techniques and in traditional healing. Cherish these beautiful gifts from nature.
Sandalwood – A Precious, Ancient Oil
Photo Stolen W.A.Today
Today most oils come from renewable plantations but in the case of Sandalwood we have seen a decline in the tree population for many years. Indian Sandalwood has been over farmed, which has lead to a crisis in the industry and in our forests. Illegal felling of young trees has lead to more stringent controls from the Indian government to help sustain production long term. This is the one driving factor in the huge price increase in the last 10 years, and is also the reason why the Australian Sandalwood industry is booming.
The Indian type “Santalum album”, and the Australian sandalwood “Santalum spicatum” have similarities but are wonderful in their differences. The Indian wood is the classic deep, sweet exotic scent that we have come to know and love and in the Australian oil, you can actually smell the bush. It really is beautiful. I use both oils, and both are considered to be premium oils and are more expensive than common oils.
Traditionally Sandalwood has been used for spiritual ceremonies and the spread of the use of this oil is claimed to have come hand-in-hand with Buddhism. If anyone has been to India you would know the widespread use of the scent in incense and temples, in soaps and perfumes.
It is used therapeutically to treat acne, urinary disorders and infections and as a nervine tonic to ease stress and anxiety.
There is also an oil produced called West Indian Sandalwood but this tree comes from a different species and is sometimes called amyris oil. I’ve never used this oil, and have never seen it anywhere. It apparently has a slight sandalwood scent (hence it’s name) and is used in perfumes and fragrant body products.
Indian Sandalwood will usually come in a 3% jojoba blend like Rose, Jasmine and Neroli. This means it is ready to go as a perfume but not good for putting in an oil burner. Oil burners and diffusers need 100% pure essential oils so when an oil is mixed with jojoba, the scent won’t escape the carrier oil and may also damage your diffuser.
Photo Stolen Botanical
Try these simple recipes to invite peace, sacred sexuality and a connection to the divine:
Pulse Point Perfume
Mix together in a little bowl or saucer and anoint your beautiful self
“Good Luck Charm”
Sandalwood 3% in jojoba 3 drops
Mandarin 1 drop
Australian Sandalwood 2 drops
Rosewood 2 drops
Photo Stolen SandalwoodCompany
Scent Your Space
Add these oils to a classic oil burner or diffuser:
Australian Sandalwood 10 drops
Ylang Ylang 6 drops
Orange 9 drops
Sandalwood is an oil for softening the edges in your life. Breathe it in and you wont be disappointed.
Suzanne R Banks x
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29 thoughts on “Sandalwood – A Precious, Ancient Oil”
I had an interesting conversation with a perfumer here in India today about Sandalwood and how his family have been buying from the same producers for 3 generations. They use sandalwood in the base of every fragrance they make.
BTW very interesting read, as always Suzanne,
Hi Portia love!!!!! Have you been able to find some good sandalwood in india??? What are the prices of it there?
I hope to visit India one day!!! I teach yoga, and feel like I must get there! I want to go there for many reasons.
I love indian textiles and the way they use color!!!!! I also love incense and attars, and know they have to have amazing options there. And spices….
Tell us about your experience there pretty please!!!!!!
I’ve not been to the motherlode but there is a perfumer family in Delhi that I visited who sold me 7% Sandalwood oil 16ml 300 rupees (around $5-6). Also I was able to purchase some of the incense that’s been used in the temples for 1000 years, it is very distinct. Of course I have bought some fabulous saris and had them sewn into Duster Jackets, photos to follow.
You teach yoga? My buddy Varun’s father has written a book on yoga and is quite famous in India, he is currently writing about the breath in yoga. Both books are being translated as I type and will be available for purchase online soon. I am thinking of doing a tour of Australia for him to teach his methods and stuff. I am a complete dunce when it comes to such things but I know talent and passion when I see it.
I look forward to your next photo shoot!!!! and video 🙂
Yes, I love love love yoga, and have been teaching for about 13 years. I would love to read the booka of your friends father.
As soon as it comes online Arline I will do a post about it.
Thanks Portia! I hope you are having a fabulous holiday and look forward to more musings on India and fragrance x
Thank you, Suzanne. I will give your pulse point perfumes a try. I have a number of nice pure and blended sandalwoods from India and Australia. I really like the Mount Romance Sandalwood from Australia.
Thanks Azar – yes I love their Sandalwood too. It’s such a versatile oil and I really love the difference in the scent of the Australian oil. Best wishes
I love Sandalwood and learned more about it with your blog. Thanks for another great post Suzanne!
Thanks Margeaux! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment too x
Hey Suzanne! So interesting. Brilliantly written. I would love to try the straight up Australian variety!
Hugs from a flooded Austria xxx
Hey Cookie Queen! Thanks so much for your comments and yes the Aussie oil is wonderful and you should be able to buy online no problems. Best wishes
Oh to smell all those essences in their purest form! When I attended a perfume workshop about woodsy notes we tried some wood essences but there was no sandalwood essence, only a pieces of sandalwood in a small jar.
Hi Lucassi thanks for the comment. It’s probably because real sandalwood oils are expensive but you’d think in a workshop they would have a drop or two!
Sandalwood is an oil to soften the edges in your life…….so true, Suzanne! and I have a tiny vial of mysore that I treasure and sniff from time to time…great post!
Ah yes Brie all you need is a sniff or two of a real oil to change your focus and bring a little magic into your day x
I loved reading this post, sandalwood is so special.
I can no longer find Mysore, but the Australian sandalwood oil is lovely too. And valuable…recently the police caught poachers here in Oz, selling tonnes of wood on the black market.
Thanks Jackieb I hadn’t heard that story but happy the poachers were caught. Indian sandalwood is still for sale, just more expensive than our Aussie oil.
I love sandalwood. I’m not sure if I’ve ever smelled it truly by itself though.
Oh no Poodle! Just one whiff of real sandalwood can be amzaing. get yourself to a shop that sells oils and at least have a sniff!
I wear sandalwood everyday, and it melts into my skin. Of course I wear perfumes too, but sandalwood, is always with me as a base. I feel it brings me balance and peace. I don’t ever want to be without it.
Arline that’s fantastic!
Sandalwood Dreams y’all. Great post Suzanne. There is also a New Caledonian sandalwood which also grows in Vanuatu (in the Pacific) which turns up in perfume. Maybe as a filler or for the name as it’s scent is not so creamy or ‘unsalted butteresque’. Apparently Portia has been making sandalwood soap in India to give to all her readers and writers. A great base layer for anything.
Thanks for the comments Jordan, and yes there are often other botanicals used to enrich or extend the scent of the real oil. Cant wait for some of that sandalwood soap!
I love sandalwood and have your fluidity recipe in my oil burner as I type – revitalising and gorgeous. Will definitely try the pulse point recipes too. thanks!
Thanks for trying out the recipes Katrina. Best wishes for your future oil experiments too
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