My first blog was called Sandalwood & Jasmine, in honor of my two favorite beauty ingredients. A few years back, I even had the good people over at L’Artisan Parfumeur make me a fragrance with only these two luscious notes, and the bottle still sits on my table – rare and precious, brought out when I need an additional caress of love and beauty and sunlight.
At other times, I carry the tiniest vials of pure jasmine and sandalwood oils everywhere. Literally, there’s one in my handbag right now, as I sit writing this post 30,000 feet up in the air, aboard a Virgin Atlantic flight from New York to London. For which I was thankful a few hours back, when a searing headache hit me straight after takeoff.
And my headaches are legendary. They can go on for days, which is not fun at the best of times, and least of all when you are travelling. What helps is a drop of pure sandalwood oil massaged into my temples, and the back of my neck. It works better than all the analgesic balms in the world.
Sandalwood oil, in fact, is one of the best health and beauty aids in the natural world. There is, after all, a reason why this golden elixir is worth its weight in gold. A couple of drops is all that you need for shunting away acne, reducing stretch marks, relieving both inflammation and itching, healing sun damage, toning the skin, glossing the hair, soothing insomnia… the benefits are endless. Want to know more?
Sandalwood oil soothes and calms
Sandalwood oil contains a 90% concentration of santalol, an alcohol that’s known for its grounding effects. It has the rare ability of calming you, while focussing the mind. This is what makes sandalwood perfect for meditation.
And all you need to do is apply a drop to the palms of your hands. Then, cup your hands around your nose and inhale for 30 seconds.
Sandalwood oil helps insomnia
Two of sandalwood’s central compounds – α-santalol and β-santalol – are proven to be superb sleep aids. They create a sedative effect and increase the duration of non-REM sleep, which makes sandalwood oil an excellent remedy for those who actually have trouble staying asleep: Simply dab a drop on the back of your neck.
Sandalwood oil relieves pain
This is the one that came as the biggest surprise to me: Sandalwood oil’s power to relieve pain. As I was saying before, I have terrible migraines, where absolutely nothing seems to help. Then an Ayurvedic physician gave me the tiniest vial of pure Mysore sandalwood oil. I rubbed just about half a drop on my forehead and there was relief. Actual, palpable relief. My husband tried a bit for his post-gym muscular cramps, and that worked just as well. Now, if I could just get someone to buy me a sandalwood tree!
Sandalwood oil is anti-inflammatory
The anti-inflammatory action of sandalwood makes it an effective treatment for sunburns, psoriasis, rashes, skin warts, and other skin inflammations. In fact, it functions similarly to ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the side effects.
Sandalwood oil busts acne
Sandalwood’s powerful antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make it a potent healer for acne-inflamed skin. Mix 4-5 drops of the oil with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and enough rose water to prepare a paste. Apply this paste to your face; wash off with cold water after 15 minutes. Repeat for a week to get rid of pimples.
Sandalwood lightens acne scars
If you didn’t make it with the sandalwood in time to heal the pimple, fret not: The golden oil also works brilliantly at lightening pre-exisiting scars. Its antiseptic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties help stimulate cell regeneration and assist in healing wounds and scars. Simply mix equal amounts of sandalwood oil and rose water, and apply on the affected area. After an hour, wash off with lukewarm water.
Sandalwood oil heals sun damage
Along with being anti-inflammatory, sandalwood oil is supremely cooling, which make it the perfect antidote for sun damaged skin. Make a face mask with 3 spoons each of sandalwood oil and milk powder. Add a spoon of rose water, and mix into a paste. Apply this paste on your face, and leave on for 20 minutes; then wash off with cold water.
Sandalwood oil is anti-aging
There are a number of ways in which sandalwood oil helps prevent premature ageing. Firstly, it’s an excellent antioxidant, thereby protecting against damage at the cellular level. It also increases blood flow to the skin, both nourishing it from within, and flushing out metabolic waste. By helping to regenerate skin’s natural collagen, it guards against wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of elasticity. And, finally, by lightening age spots, it creates a smooth and even complexion, which one of the hallmarks of youthful skin.
Sandalwood oil is moisturising
Sandalwood oil is a potent emollient, which penetrates deep into the skin, increasing its capacity to retain moisture. This helps keep skin soft, supple, and plump, sans the greasiness associated with many other natural moisturisers.
Sandalwood oil makes for glossy strands
Sandalwood oil gives hair extra shine by helping it retain more moisture. Just massage in a couple of drops into damp hair for the best effect.
Sandalwood oil creates a healthy scalp
Massaging sandalwood oil on the scalp is found to be effective in stimulating hair growth and getting rid of dandruff. The secret lies in its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The gorgeous fragrance every time you move your head? That’s just an added bonus!
Have you ever experienced the magic of sandalwood oil?