know your oils: sandalwood

When I began exploring natural methods of healing and self-care, essential oils were one of the first practises I adopted. I have to get a little creative when it comes to essential oil therapy - a lot of traditional practises use lavender oil which I am actually highly allergic to! It didn't take me long to know what would make a good lavender replacement depending on what I was working on. And I immediately became hooked just based on the success I found.

Sandalwood is a very expensive but very powerful oil. Retailing around $50 for 5 ml, its not an oil you want to use willy-nilly. It is a safe oil to take internally (best diluted in milk) as well as applying topically.

It is an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, disinfectant, emollient, expectorant, hypotensive, memory booster, sedative and tonic substance. It relaxes nerves, muscles and blood vessels while acting as a carminative - or in English, it helps with gas. This means it's the ideal oil to have near by when a certain "Aunt" comes to visit. The sedative properties will help reduce cramping while preventing bloating.

Sandalwood is amazing for your skin - and in unexpected ways. Not only will it help keep things hydrated and moisturized, heal scars and spots, andrelieve inflammation, but it's effective at fighting the onset of skin cancer.

"Sandalwood oil was used topically for 20 weeks and decreased the incidence of skin papilloma and inhibited TPA and ODC activity which are prominent in skin cancer. (sandalwood at 5% dilution)
"Sandalwood oil prevents skin tumor development in Mice." Dwivedi, C, and Zhang Y.  European Journal of Cancer Prevention. 1999."

Mentally, sandalwood oil is calming and relaxing. If you suffer from nerves, anxiety or are experiencing a stress-filled day, dilute sandalwood with your carrier oil and rub some on your wrists and under your nose. Breathe in and relax.

Be sure to always dilute your sandalwood. Not only will that help extend your 5ml and save you money, but it will prevent any skin irritation that may occur from applying the oil directly on your skin. Same goes if you wish to apply sandalwood internally: a few drops in milk or water work best.

Megan te Boekhorst