Sandalwood Oil

Scientific Name(s): Santalum album L. Family: Santalaceae

Common Name(s): Sandalwood , santal oil , white saunders oil , white or yellow sandalwood oil , East Indian sandalwood oil 1

Uses

Sandalwood has been reported to have diuretic and urinary antiseptic properties, but the oil extracted from the wood has mainly been used as a fragrance enhancer.

Dosing

None well documented.

Contraindications

None well documented.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Because of the lack of pharmacological and toxicity data, avoid the use of sandalwood oil during pregnancy and lactation.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Sandalwood oil can cause dermatitis in sensitive persons, although it is generally considered to be nonirritating to human skin.

Toxicology

The oil has been found to be irritating in both mouse and rabbit skin test models.

Botany

Indigenous to India, the Malay Archipelago, and Indonesia, the sandalwood is an evergreen tree that grows to 8 to 12 meters in height.

History

Sandalwood oil is commonly used as a fragrance in incense, cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps. It also is used as a flavor for foods and beverages. The wood has been valued in carving because of its dense character. 2 , 3

In traditional medicine, sandalwood oil has been used for a wide variety of conditions ranging from an antiseptic and astringent to the treatment of headache, stomachache, and urogenital disorders. The essential oil, emulsion, or paste of sandalwood in India is used in the treatment of inflammatory and eruptive skin diseases. 4

Chemistry

Sandalwood oil is obtained from the heartwood of the plant. This volatile oil contains about 90% alpha- and beta-santalols with a variety of minor components including sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (about 6%). The santalols are responsible for the pleasant odor of sandalwood, although 2-furfuryl pyrrole also may contribute an effect. 2

The seeds yield about 50% of a viscid, dark red, fixed oil. This oil contains stearolic acid and santalbic acid. Gas chromatography fingerprinting of sandalwood oils has been used successfully in light of the complex nature of the components of the oils. 5

Uses and Pharmacology

Sandalwood is a fragrant wood from which an oil is derived for use in foods and cosmetics. Today, the oil finds little medicinal use but its widespread use as a popular fragrance continues. Good clinical studies are lacking in support of the effects of sandalwood oil. Tertiary resources document the oil as having diuretic and urinary antiseptic properties. 1

Herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2
In vitro data

Sandalwood oil inhibited the replication of herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2; the inhibition was more pronounced against HSV-1. The effect was dose-dependent and the oil was not virucidal. 6

Chemopreventive activity
Animal data

Sandalwood oil may have chemoprophylactic effects on skin papillomas. Sandalwood oil treatment (5% in acetone, w/v) on 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-(DMBA)-initiated and 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate(TPA)-promoted skin papillomas and TPA-induced ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity in CD1 mice significantly decreased papilloma incidence by 67% and TPA-induced ODC activity by 70%. 4

Oral daily feedings of sandalwood oil to adult male Swiss albino mice for 10 and 20 days exhibited a dose-dependent increase on glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity and acid soluble sulphydryl (SH) levels. Although the mechanism of action is unclear, the enhancement of GST activity and acid-soluble SH levels may suggest a possible chemoprophylactic action of sandalwood oil on carcinogenesis. 7

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of sandalwood oil for chemoprophylaxis.

Dosage

None well documented.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Because of the lack of pharmacological and toxicity data, avoid the use of sandalwood oil during pregnancy and lactation.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Sandalwood oil can cause dermatitis in sensitive persons, although it is generally considered to be nonirritating to human skin. 1 , 2

Toxicology

The oil has been found to be irritating in both mouse and rabbit skin test models. The santalols and related compounds have been identified in the blood of mice that inhaled sandalwood fumes under experimental conditions, indicating that systemic absorption of these compounds can occur. 8

Bibliography

1. Leung AY. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics . New York, NY: J. Wiley and Sons; 1980.
2. Duke JA. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs . Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1985.
3. Hongratanaworakit T, Heuberger E, Buchbauer G. Evaluation of the effects of East Indian sandalwood oil and alpha-santalol on humans after transdermal absorption. Planta Med . 2004;70:3-7.
4. Dwivedi C, Abu-Ghazaleh A. Chemopreventive effects of sandalwood oil on skin papillomas in mice. Eur J Cancer Prev . 1997;6:399-401.
5. Wang Z, Hong X. Comparative GC analysis of essential oil in imported sandalwood [in Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi . 1991;16:40-43, 64.
6. Benencia F, Courreges MC. Antiviral activity of sandalwood oil against herpes simplex viruses-1 and -2. Phytomedicine . 1999;6:119-123.
7. Banerjee S, Ecavade A, Rao AR. Modulatory influence of sandalwood oil on mouse hepatic glutathione S-transferase activity and acid soluble sulphydryl level. Cancer Lett . 1993;68:105-109.
8. Jirovetz L, Buchbauer G, Jager W, Woidich A, Nikiforov A. Analysis of fragrance compounds in blood samples of mice by gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, GC/FTIR and GC/AES after inhalation of sandalwood oil. Biomed Chromatogr . 1992;6:133-134.

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