Essential Oil Profile: Sandalwood

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Sandalwood

Latin Binomial: Santalum spicatum

Family: Santalaceae

Production Method: Steam or water distilled

Countries of Origin: Australia

Typical Constituents: α-Santalol (15.3-17.0%), α-Bisabolol (12.4-15.0%), [Z]-Nuciferol (9.0-14.0%),     [E,E]-Farnesol (7.9-8.4%), Dendrolasin (3.3-5.3%), [Z]-b-Santalol (4.6-4.8%), [E]-Nuciferol (2.2-4.8%),    [E]-α-Bergamotol (3.8-4.6%), b-Bisablol (2.9-4.4%), Bulnesol (1.0-3.6%), [E]-b-Santalol (2.9-3.3%),          [Z]-Lanceolol (2.3-3.0%), [E]-Nerolidol (0-2.2%), Guaiol (0.4-2.0%), b-Curcumene (1.3-1.5%),                   epi-b-Santalol (1.0-1.4%), b-Santalene (0.5-1.0%)

Description of Oil: pale-dark yellow, greenish or brownish; soft, sweet-woody, almost animal-balsamic tenacious odor

Description of Plant: A small evergreen with brown-grey trunk and smooth slender branches.  It has leathery leaves and pinky-purple flowers. 

History, Folklore and Myth: Uses dating back 4000 years include embalming by Egyptians, religious ceremonies, treatment for gonorrhea, and to help free the soul at death during funerals.

Properties and Uses:  Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, emollient, expectorant, and sedative are the beginnings of extensive uses of sandalwood.  Could be used as a preventative to skin cancer.  It is a wonderful oil to use during meditation, indicated for agitated emotional states.

Precautions and Contraindications: No known adverse skin reactions or carcinogens. There is a theoretical risk of interaction with drugs metabolized by CYPD6 enzyme.

Other Interesting Information: The tree must be over thirty years old before it is ready for the production of sandalwood oil. Because the tree must be killed in order to extract the essential oil, it has become increasingly rare in India and is obtained from areas that are over-harvested, illegally harvested, and facing ecological threat.  Presently, numerous agroforestry projects are starting to rebalance the existence and growth of sandalwood trees.


Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.