Sandalwood is a precious wood that’s revered for its distinct fragrance. It’s used in perfumes and incense, and is known to have calming and grounding properties. The oil is taken from the heartwood of trees in the genus Santalum and harvested by steam distillation. It can be applied to the skin for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and inhaled to help clear sinus headaches and nasal allergies like hay fever. Studies have shown that inhaling sandalwood oil can also relieve stress and promote a sense of calm.
Sandalwood’s scent is earthy and woody, with notes that can be sweet and fresh or warm and spicy. It’s categorized as part of the woody fragrance family, along with other woody scents such as cedar, vetiver, and pine. The specific scent of sandalwood can vary depending on the species and region of the tree, as well as how it’s harvested and extracted. Traditional methods of extraction can yield a richer, more authentic aroma than synthetic scents. The part of the tree used during extraction (heartwood) can also influence the scent.
When combined with other essential oils, sandalwood can take on a variety of different scents. It pairs particularly well with citrus, floral, and fruity scents. It can even add a warm, earthy edge to musk and amber fragrances. Sandalwood can also be layered with frankincense for an aromatic, spiritual blend that’s both soothing and comforting. It’s also been found to be a great addition to meditation and mindfulness practices, and helps us stay focused when we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.