The Sandal tree, botanically known as Santalum Album belongs to the family Santalaceae. It is also known as Wooden Gold. Sandalwood is one of the oldest and calming incense materials used since times immemorial. The word Chandan in Hindi, Santhanam in Tamil, Gandhsaar and Malyaj in Sanskrit ,all represent this precious wood. Since ages , our inherited philosophies have mentioned this prime herb that provides a cool in the hot season.
Sandalwood tree is a small evergreen tree with a height of 12 – 15 metres. The stem can be orange, white or yellow coloured and is fragrant on the inner side. The small leathery leaves display a range of greenish colors and are oval in shape. Its gorgeous purple flowers are small and unscented. The tree reaches its full maturity in 60 – 80 years. This is the time when the trunk has achieved its greatest oil content. The roots of sandalwood are rich in the precious essential oil during rainy season therefore it is never harvested in this season.
Sandalwood is light and rough in nature and cold in action. The taste is sweet and pungent and the after taste is bitter. Chemically, the stem and the roots contain a fragrant volatile oil that is thick, yellow coloured and contains a strong odour. The oil extracted from the seeds is red in colour and stable.
Sandalwood has a sacred old history of being mentioned in Sanskrit and Chinese manuscripts. The temples were carved from its wood. It plays an important role as a ceremonial burning material during religious rites of Hindus, Parsis, Muslims and Buddhists. Paste of sandalwood is used to decorate Shivlings. Many Hindus apply sandalwood paste on their forehead , right in the centre of the eyebrows , it is supposed to keep their ‘third eye’ pituitary gland cool. It is also used in meditation and is believed to increase spiritual practices. It calms the mind and enhances mental clarity. Sandalwood has always been associated with a sweet incense and thus during worship ‘dhoop’ and ‘agarbattis’ made out of the same, are used very frequently.
- Depression, anxiety, insomnia can be improved using sandalwood because it acts as relaxant for the brain.
- Sandalwood oil is effectively used in curing bronchitis and laryngitis.
- Sandalwood powder combined with rosewater and turmeric can be used to treat acne.
- Paste of sandalwood powder, camphor powder and turmeric, vanishes pimples without leaving a scar . This paste should be applied to pimples before bed at night.
- Sandalwood acts as a natural cleanser and conditioner for the skin.It ensures a glowing complexion.
- Suntan can be removed by mixing coconut oil, almond oil in sandalwood powder. Apply this oil on the overexposed areas to get a fair complexion.
- Sandalwood paste is a age old remedy for prickly heat. It prevents excessive sweating and heals inflamed skin.
- Temperature in common fevers can be lowered down , by applying sandalwood paste on temples. It serves as a great relief for headaches.
- Using sandalwood powder with lime juice and a pinch of turmeric, can decrease the symptoms of skin allergy.
- Sandalwood oil is used for massage in aromatherapy. It also moisturizes, hydrates and soothes the itchy skin. Its astringent action balances oily skin conditions.
- In many of the urinary disorders like dysurea, incomplete evacuation of the bladder and cystitis, there is generally the symptom of burning sensation during passing of urine. A number of Ayurvedic formulations that contain sandalwood as the chief ingredient are generally prescribed. Sandalwood as an anti-bacterial tends to decrease pus cells in the urine. A decoction prepared by boiling sandalwood powder with the sugar , can be taken 3 or 4 times daily.
- The essence of sandalwood known as ‘Chandan Arka’ or sandalwood syrup can be taken regularly to get relief from the irritant malady of unquenched thirst.
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