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What is Sandalwood?

Sandalwood is an evergreen tree native to India and Indonesia and grows to 8 to 12 m in height and 2.5 m in girth. The bark is smooth and gray-brown in color, and the small flowers have numerous short stalks.

Scientific Name(s)

Santalum album

Common Name(s)

Sandalwood is also known as santal oil, white saunders oil, white or yellow sandalwood oil, and East Indian sandalwood oil.

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Sandalwood oil has a warm, woody odor and 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.

In traditional medicine, sandalwood oil has been used as an antiseptic and astringent, and for the treatment of headache, stomachache, and urinary and genital disorders. In India, the essential oil, emulsion, or paste of sandalwood is used in the treatment of inflammatory and eruptive skin diseases. The oil has been used in the traditional Ayurvedic medicinal system as a diuretic and mild stimulant, and for smoothing the skin. The leaves and bark were used by early Hawaiians to treat dandruff, lice, skin inflammation, and sexually transmitted diseases. Sandalwood oil has also demonstrated repellency against the crop pest Tetranychus urticae (two-spotted spider mite).

General uses

Sandalwood oil has been reported to have diuretic and urinary antiseptic properties, but clinical trial data are lacking. The oil has mainly been used as a fragrance enhancer.

What is the recommended dosage?

For the treatment of urological problems, a dose of 1 to 1.5 g daily is recommended for no more than 6 weeks. Sandalwood oil should be dosed in a resistant coating that protects against stomach secretions. The oil should not be ingested in its natural state.


None well documented.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Side Effects

Sandalwood oil may cause skin inflammation, although it is generally considered to be nonirritating to human skin.


Sandalwood oil has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status as a flavoring agent in food by the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers' Association, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recognizes sandalwood oil as a natural flavoring.


1. Sandalwood Oil. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; October 2012.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.