What are the benefits of Sandalwood essential Oil? Exploring the evidence

Sandalwood essential oil benefits

December 11, 2023

From promoting relaxation to improving skin health, explore the evidence behind the uses of sandalwood essential oil.

Sandalwood essential oil has been used in traditional medicines, religious rituals and spiritual practices for centuries. Its popularity continues to grow in the modern wellness industry, but is it worth the hype?

From soothing anxiety to protecting the skin, the essential oil is popular amongst those seeking natural alternatives to traditional remedies.

But, as we’ve seen with a lot of essential oils, the claims can’t always be backed up.

In this blog, we’ll go beyond the anecdotal evidence and dive deep into the scientific studies of this essential oil.



What is Sandalwood essential oil?

Sandalwood essential oil is extracted through steam distillation from the wood and flowers of the East Indian Sandalwood tree (Santalum Album).

Sandalwood oil is one of the most expensive essential oils available and is often referred to as 'liquid gold'.

In Ayurvedic medicine, the world’s oldest holistic healing system, East Indian sandalwood oil is considered a natural aphrodisiac.

It’s also been traditionally used to treat nervous system and mental disorders, as well as common colds and infections.

Now, the essential oil is mainly used in aromatherapy for its deep and woody scent, which creates a calm and cosy atmosphere.

Although, it’s still prized as an alternative medicine practice for various ailments, which we get into below!

Sandalwood essential oil

Sandalwood essential oil benefits

Sandalwood oil is known to have an amazing scent, but there are also many claimed benefits.

This article will help give you a clearer picture of the skin and health benefits of sandalwood essential oil, so you can be confident the aromatic oil is the right choice for you.

Let’s dive into the 4 main benefits of sandalwood essential oil and their evidence.

Sandalwood essential oil anti inflammatory properties

Sandalwood essential oil as an anti-inflammatory

Claims that Sandalwood essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties often refer to this review paper, which explores the oil’s use beyond beauty and fragrance. 

It states that alpha-santol, a key component of Sandalwood essential oil, has an anti-inflammatory effect by altering cell signalling in the body.

This might help soothe inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Although it sounds promising, since this is a review paper and not an up-to-date study, we don’t know if sandalwood essential oil will be an effective natural anti inflammatory for everyday use.

Bottom line: We need more evidence to say for sure whether Sandalwood essential oil is an effective anti-inflammatory.

Sandalwood essential oil for mental health

Sandalwood essential oil for anxiety and stress

The soft and woody scent of sandalwood is renowned across the world for its calming properties and ability to help with enhancing mood, hence why it’s frequently used in aromatherapy and meditation. 

Whilst diffusing the essential oil might bring serenity, is there science behind Sandalwood oils calming scent?

One study found that using a lavender and sandalwood essential oil blend in aromatherapy reduced patient’s anxiety before an operation.

They compared the results to participants using an orange-peppermint blend and found the lavender-sandalwood blend was the most effective.

Since we know lavender has potential therapeutic properties, it might have been responsible for the calming effect, rather than Sandalwood. Maybe lavender essential oil on its own would have had the same results?

Another study considered the impact of East Indian sandalwood essential oil on the physical symptoms of stress.

32 people took part, and the results showed a significant reduction in blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol during a ‘stress task’.

Bottom line:  Sandalwood essential oil may be effective in reducing the psychological and physical symptoms of stress. 

Sandalwood essential oil anti viral properties

Sandalwood essential oil as an anti-viral

There are a lot of claims that Sandalwood is an ‘excellent antiviral agent’. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of evidence.

This lab study looks at Sandalwood essential oils antiviral activity against Herpes viruses. The oil was tested for in vitro antiviral activity against Herpes simplex viruses-1 and -2.

It found that the replication of the viruses was inhibited by the presence of the essential oil. The effect was more pronounced against HSV-1.

Although the results are promising, more human research is needed before we can be sure it’s effective.

Bottom line:  Sandalwood essential oil can be effective against herpes virus in the lab, but we don’t know if it has the same effect on people.

Sandalwood essential oil for skin protection

Sandalwood essential oil for skin protection

In recent years, there’s been a shift towards natural and organic beauty products, and Sandalwood has become a popular choice for those seeking alternative ways to protect their skin.

One small study of 22 participants backs up this use of the essential oil:  it showed that 1% and 10% Sandalwood essential oil solutions helped protect the skin against blue light from screens and urban dust.

This is supported by a study on skin cells in the lab. When exposed to blue light, cigarette smoke, and ozone.

These findings indicate that sandalwood oil might be an effective active ingredient in skincare. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll be included in your daily routine.

It is important to remember that, like other essential oils, you must mix sandalwood oil with a carrier oil before applying the oil topically.

It is also recommend to do a patch test to check for sensitive skin or irritated skin. You can simply add a few drops of sandalwood oil to any carrier oil like sweet almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil.

Bottom line: There’s some evidence that sandalwood essential oil can be beneficial for protecting the skin from everyday damage.

Sandalwood essential oil benefits

Final Thoughts: What are the benefits of sandalwood essential oil?

It seems sandalwood essential oil can be used for a lot more than its dreamy scent.

There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that the essential oil could be your next stress-busting and skin-protecting secret. However with many of the claims, more research is needed.

But don't forget, sandalwood oil is a high quality aromatic oil that can be used in soaps, diffusers, skincare and haircare!

Why not try adding it to your homemade soaps or bath bombs and put it to the test?

If you love using sandalwood essential oil and are keen to incorporate more natural ingredients into your routine, check out our blogs for more essential oil deep dives!

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