Although I have Indian and African sandalwood I prefer to use Australian sandalwood.
Synonyms: West Australian sandalwood.
Aroma: Similar to Indian sandalwood but softer.
Colour: Pale yellow.
Plant: Small evergreen tree/shrub growing up to 8 metres in the wild and 4-5 metres on plantations. It is a root parasite and requires a host tree for its first years. At 3 years it requires 2 or 3 hosts as it grows. It appears the host trees are not harmed and in fact benefit from this arrangement.
Main Growing Areas: South Western Australia, southern South Australia.
Major Constituents: alpha santalol, beta santalol, farnesol, bergamatol, alpha-bisabolol.
Interesting snippets: Although the tree will produce essential oil at 5-10 years it will not be suitable for harvesting a high quality oil until it is 25 years old.
The west Australian aborigines used boiled sandalwood bark as a cough medicine. They also used the inside of the nuts as a rubbing medicine for colds and stiffness.
Before the release of penicillin in 1946 oral ingestible Australian sandalwood capsules were used to treat urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea.
Part of Plant used / Extraction: Heartwood and rootball by organic solvent extraction followed by co-distillation. This process yields about 3% essential oil. There is also a CO2 extraction available.
Therapeutic actions: Dry coughs, nasal and chest congestion. Dry dehydrated skin, red inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema and MRSA.
Emotional and Spiritual: Stress, aphrodisiac. Quietens mental chatter, helping to still the mind, allowing it to move into a deep meditative state.
Audre Gutierrez writes that Australian sandalwood is for all of those who have been made to feel ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’ because of who they are. She is about being your true, authentic, best self and letting that speak more loudly than any disparagement, any slight ever could. She is for the unseen wounds of the heart and spirit, healing them so that you can be strongly and fully in the power of who you truly are.
Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic.
Sources: Gutierrez A, http://www.shiningsunaromatherapy.com/australian-sandalwood-santalum-spicatum-the-cinderella-or-ugly-duckling-of-aromatherapy/
Kerr J, Australian Sandalwood Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.17 (2001)
Webb M, Bush Sense – Australian Essential Oils and Aromatic Compounds. Griffin Press. (2000)