One of the oldest perfume materials, sandalwood has been in use for at least 2,000 years. It begins producing oil only after 30 years. Mysore, India, produces the best-quality oil, which is regulated by the government, but oil is also available from Indonesia. Australia distills the inferior S. spicatum.
Extraction: Distilled from heartwood and roots. The scent is balsamic, soft, warm and woody.
Medicinal Action: Once a gonorrhea treatment, sandalwood is still used for genital and urinary infections. It also counters inflammation, hemorrhoids, persistent coughs, nausea, throat problems and some types of nerve pain. It is nontoxic.
Cosmetic/Skin Use: Suitable for all complexion types, sandalwood is especially useful on rashes, inflammation, and dry acne or chapped skin.
Emotional Attribute: Depression, anxiety and insomnia are improved by sandalwood. It helps promote spiritual practices, peaceful relaxation, openness and "grounding." It is used in death ceremonies to help the soul cross over, and to comfort mourners.
Amyris (Amyris balsamifera) --This small Haitian tree, called "West Indian rosewood," often adulterates or replaces sandalwood, especially in so-called "sandalwood" soaps.