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Sandalwood Essential Oil: 16 Proven Body, Mind and Beauty Benefits

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Sandalwood essential oil is a woody-scented essential oil that comes from the East Indian sandalwood tree. It has numerous applications as a natural medicine, aromatherapy agent and beauty-enhancing ingredient. It’s found today in many air fresheners, perfumes and colognes, but sandalwood oil has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine and India’s Ayurvedic system for centuries. Sure enough, modern research is confirming that 100% pure sandalwood essential oil offers benefits beyond its warming smell, like anxiety support, protection against skin cancer and cold symptom relief.
Here are 16 ways sandalwood essential oil works as a natural remedy and a health-enhancer for your body and mind:

1. Promotes Mental Clarity and Alertness

In aromatherapy, sandalwood oil is used tor improving mental clarity, focus and alertness [1]. It’s been historically used for meditation, prayer and other rituals because of its mind-enhancing effects. Try diffusing some sandalwood oil in an essential oil diffuser when you need some help concentrating on a task.

2. Improves Memory

Amazingly, the volatile, aromatic molecules in sandalwood essential oil are able to pass your blood-brain barrier when inhaled, which means they can interact with chemicals and connections in your brain. Sandalwood oil has been shown in studies to help elderly persons with cognitive decline by enhancing memory function. It also has neuroprotective effects that help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease [2].

3. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Several studies have proven that sandalwood essential oil has anti-anxiety effects measured through physical markers and subjective self-reporting. Even inhaling sandalwood for 30 seconds just twice a week was shown to reduce anxiety in cancer patients. It works by having a sedative effect on your nervous system, helping to release tension, irritation, fear and emotional stress.

4. Relieves Insomnia

Santalol, which is an active therapeutic compound in sandalwood, has been found to improve sleep quality in animal studies. Due to its sedative effect, it wouldn’t be surprising if sandalwood helps you sleep better as well.

5. Acts as a Natural Aphrodisiac

Sandalwood has been used in Ayurvedic tradition as an aphrodisiac to increase libido. It stimulates the circulatory system, sending blood flow to the sexual organs. Incorporate sandalwood essential oil into massage oil or add a few drops to your essential oil diffuser to enhance sexual desire [1].

6. Kills Bacteria and Viruses

Lab studies have revealed that sandalwood oil stops the growth of viruses, including herpes simplex viruses [4]. You can use it in mouthwash or to gargle when you have a sore throat. It can also help clean wounds, treat skin infections and get rid of warts. Or, use it as an ingredient in a natural disinfectant for cleaning your home.

7. Helps Treat Colds and Flus

Sandalwood essential oil helps remedy cold and flu symptoms so you can get well sooner. When you inhale it, the expectorant qualities in sandalwood oil help break up and dislodge mucus in your lungs and sinuses. It also has antispasmodic properties to help suppress unproductive coughs.

8. Speeds Wound Healing

Wound healing is one of the oldest uses for sandalwood oil. Its antiseptic properties clean wounds and prevent infection, while its astringency helps stop bleeding. By stimulating the production of collagen, which is the skin’s structural protein, it actually speeds up the regeneration of skin tissue required for wound healing [3].

9. Protects Against Skin Cancer

Animal studies show that an active component in sandalwood known as alpha-santalol oil helps prevent skin cancer and inhibit its growth. Test tube studies have also shown that it kills cancer cells. Research on the anti-cancer effects of sandalwood is in its early stages. Given all its other benefits for your skin, it’s safe to say that wearing a little sandalwood oil on your skin goes a long way in keeping it young and healthy [3].

10. Evens Your Skin Tone

Sandalwood essential oil reduces inflammation in the skin that causes blotchy redness and blemishes. It also diminishes scars, stretch marks and dark spots, promoting an even complexion.

11. Fights Aging

As an astringent, sandalwood oil is a tightening agent that helps smooth out wrinkles. It helps lock in moisture, promoting full, plump skin cells that smooth out fine lines. The antioxidants in sandalwood oil also help by neutralizing free radicals, which are associated with faster aging.
However, the greatest anti-aging benefit of sandalwood oil is its ability to boost collagen production. Collagen production slows with age, but the more of it you have, the faster your skin can lay down new layers of young skin. Collagen also keeps the skin firm and lifted. Add a few drops of sandalwood oil into your moisturizer, or dilute sandalwood oil in rosehip oil or another carrier oil to create an anti-aging serum you can wear to bed.

12. Fights Acne

Sandalwood balances the skin’s production of sebum, or natural oil. Acne typically results when pores get clogged with excess sebum, and then get infected with bacteria. By keeping oil production under control, you can better prevent breakouts. The antiseptic properties in sandalwood oil also help prevent and treat acne-prone skin [3].

13. Shrinks Large Pores

The astringency of sandalwood oil makes it an ideal natural toner you can use after washing your face to shrink large pores. It also prevents the clogging and enlargement of pores by regulating sebum production [3].

14. Soothes Irritation Caused by Eczema and Psoriasis

Sandalwood essential oil eases inflammation, irritation and itchiness on your skin, while moisturizing and killing pathogens that cause infection. Mix it with a carrier oil to help with eczema, psoriasis and other skin infections [3].

15. Treats Urinary Tract Infections

The internal use of sandalwood oil is approved by the German Commission E as an adjunctive treatment for urinary tract infections. It recommends taking a quarter teaspoon of 100 percent pure sandalwood essential oil to treat a urinary tract infection, for up to 6 weeks.

16. Prevents and Eliminates Dandruff

Dandruff is caused by an imbalance of sebum on your scalp, resulting either in dry flakiness or hair follicles clogged with sebum. Sandalwood essential oil fights dandruff by balancing the production of sebum on the scalp. It also helps cleanse the scalp, stimulate circulation and soothe irritation.

Sandalwood Oil Tips and Considerations

Sandalwood essential oil is safe for topical use, but be sure it’s 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade oil. Combine it with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or almond oil before applying it directly on your skin. Essential oils are highly concentrated, so irritation can occur. Avoid taking sandalwood oil internally if you have kidney disease or if you’re pregnant or nursing.

Sandalwood oil offers many health benefits when you simply inhale it, which is easy to do because of its inviting and relaxing aroma. However, it also has a place in your bathroom as a beauty product. Plus, don’t forget to incorporate it into your natural medicine cabinet, as it helps heal wounds, soothe skin problems, treat urinary tract infections and improve flu symptoms.


1. East Indian Sandalwood and alpha-santalol odor increase physiological and self-rated arousal in humans

2. East Indian sandalwood (Santalum album L.) oil confers neuroprotection and geroprotection in Caenorhabditis elegans via activating SKN-1/Nrf2 signaling pathway

3. Sandalwood Album Oil as a Botanical Therapeutic in Dermatology

4. Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Essential Oils against Human Pathogens and Their Mode of Action: An Updated Review