Sandalwood Essential Oil: Benefits, Blends and Safety Concerns

Sandalwood, with its deep rich woodsy aroma and soft nuances of sweetness, is a popular ingredient in incense because of its exotic and sensual undertones. Its ability to retain its fragrance for decades makes it a very popular scent additive for perfumes and beauty products. But the oil made from this exotic tree is also used in many therapeutic ways.

Sandalwood tree species include Paniculatum album, Santalum album and Santalum spicatum. Sandalwood is harvested from the trunk of the trees in Australia, Indonesia, India, and Hawaii. Although there are different regions where they collect the album, they will have different percentages of the chemical components within them, which can change the aroma and the therapeutic uses of the essential oil.

Climate, soil, and any climate changes may also influence the chemistry of the oil. In addition, the chemistry can change from harvest to harvest in the same area.

*Hawaiian sandalwood is on the “at risk” list for sustainability. Do your part in protecting this species by using your Hawaiian sandalwood respectfully. For more information on sustainability of plant life, visit*

Sandalwoods’ therapeutic actions include usage as a pain reliever, antidepressant, antiseptic, one of the strongest antibacterial oils, aphrodisiac, astringent, to ease mental fatigue, skin healer, lymphatic and circulatory stimulant, expectorant, anti-fungal, decongestant, sedative, antidiarrhoeic, for digestive issues, impotence, flatulence, bronchitis, and healing sores.

Internal Use of Sandalwood

Sandalwood is an oil that is safe for use internally by those trained in aromatic medicine. There is a long history of using essential oils internally by doctors and nurses before modern pharmaceuticals took over. But if you are not using the correct dosage, length of time to treat, delivery vehicle, and a correct medium, internal use can cause more havoc than healing.

Essential oils are most often given in gelatin capsules, although depending on the diagnosis may require enteric capsules. Using disper, an emulsifier that holds the essential oils in a stable dispersion, is common. This is rapidly absorbed by the stomach. Some may use ‘honey water,” essential oils mixed with honey then added to warm water to make a healing tea.


Sandalwood is a potentially photo-allergenic oil. By adding an antioxidant such as vitamin E, it will lower irritation percentage. The following are maximum safe topical dilution rates.

Always start low, using your maximum rates for more serious issues that you can treat for a shorter length of time: 3-24 months old max. 0.5%, 2-6 years old max 1%, 6-15 years and adults up to 2%, and this includes pregnancy. Of the methods of application in aromatherapy, diffusion is considered the safest.

When choosing oils, find the topical maximum percentage recommended for your oils. Dilution rates start at 1%, or 9 drops per one ounce of carrier oil of choice. If using a single oil, dilute accordingly. If using multiple oils, reduce your single oil total to compensate for additional oils used.

Therapeutic Uses for Sandalwood

Here we have seventeen known therapeutic uses for sandalwood. There are certainly more to be discovered, but this will get you started using this wonderful aromatic oil.

1. Clear Mucus from Airways

Inhalation is the best application when fighting mucus build up. Use sandalwood alone or in a blend with other oils that have similar characteristics or ones that compliment them to break up mucus and clear airways. Try the following blend:

Cough Syrup
  • 4 Ounces Honey (heat on stove to boiling, simmer 15 minutes, turn off)
  • 2 drops Peppermint Mentha x piperita
  • 2 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 6 drops Lemon Citrus limon
  • 4 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus

After turning off honey add essential oils, add to a glass bottle, and seal immediately. Will keep 2- 3 months. For children under the age of 10 (excluding 2 and under), use spearmint (Mentha spicata) in place of peppermint and lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) in place of Eucalyptus.

*Honey should not be given to those 2 years old and under*

2. Relieve Laryngitis and Sore Throats

Laryngitis can be accompanied by inflammation, infection, inability to speak, and a darn sore throat. Sandalwood’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are a plus in healing symptoms from laryngitis or a common sore throat. With sandalwood, you can gargle or use the steam method. To gargle, add one drop of sandalwood to one tablespoon of honey and blend. Add to ¼ cup of warm water, mix, and gargle. Although it is best not to swallow, a small amount will trickle down and that is ok.

If you choose a steam, bring approximately one quart of water to a starting boil (steaming good) then turn off the stove. Carefully transfer your water to a heat-resistant bowl. Add 1-2 drops of sandalwood essential oil. You can use sandalwood alone or blend with 2-3 other oils to meet your needs.

More drops in your steam are not necessary and raise the risk of irritation to the skin and mucous membranes. Cover your head with a hand towel like a tent, shut your eyes, and breath deeply. Do this for about 5-10 minutes. Once done, gently dab your face dry if needed. Let your bowl sit, releasing any remaining essential oil molecules into the air to combat aerial bacteria.

Important: Sandalwood is often adulterated. When purchasing an oil, ensure the purity from companies by choosing websites that display their gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (gc/ms) reports on the site for each essential oil. A company that displays these onsite is confident in the purity and quality of their oil.

3. Heal Wounds

Sandalwood is a cicatrisant, or skin healer. It’s excellent in promoting quick healing from wounds and infections. Its gentle nature increases blood circulation in the area that it is applied to, which can help decrease the healing time of underlying damaged tissues. Never use essential oils or essential oil products on open wounds. Begin treatment after the wound has scabbed over. Try the following:

Wound and Scar Treatment
  • 1-Ounce Olive Olea europaea (Virgin pressed) oil
  • 4 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 6 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 8 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum itlicum
  • 6 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

Blend and apply every 3-4 hours, especially after a bath and before bed. To learn more about carrier oils and uses, go to our carrier oil article.

4. Release Nervous Tension

Sandalwood works by depressing the central nervous system, calming the mind, and releasing tension. The following blend will calm and relax you. For nervous tension, I find inhalation to be the best method of application. Blank inhalers are easily purchased at Amazon, take 15 drops of essential oil, and are convenient to use. They can last up to 2 months when stored properly, depending on use.

Tension Reliever

  • One blank inhaler
  • 3 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 2 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora ct linalol
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
  • 5 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea

5. Easing Depression

Depression can affect the way you think, feel, and behave. Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, loss of appetite, lack of energy, unexplained body aches, and additional symptoms can accompany depression. Sandalwood incense has been used for many centuries for bringing peace to the mind. This blend will ease depression symptoms, reduce the feelings of fear, help clear your mind for improved concentration, reduce tension, and lend an uplifting feeling.

Add the total in the blend to your diffuser or inhaler. Although I find inhalation is the best application for depression and other mood disorders, you can also blend with one ounce of carrier oil and apply topically. The neck and chest area are best. This way you get topical absorption as well as inhalation.


  • 5 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 5 drops Sweet Orange Citrus senisis
  • 2 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus citriodora
  • 3 drops Fragonia Agonis fragrans
  • 1 drop Black Pepper Piper nigrum

*To determine the chemical cause of contact dermatitis, dermatologists use patch testing. Patch testing is advisable but is not done with undiluted essential oils. Mix your test oil/s at 5%. Apply to skin and cover with a latex-free band-aid, sealing all sides. This can be left in place up to 48 hrs. Signs of a reaction can include redness, itchiness, and swelling. Generally, after removing and cleansing the area, the irritation fades by the next day*

6. Increase Blood Circulation

Sandalwood stimulates the circulatory system, helping to increase blood flow to areas it is applied to. Use alongside other oils or alone to massage your achy legs at the end of a long day or a hard workout. Try blending with Arnica (Arnica montana) oil, known for its ability to bring more blood to the area of application.

Blood Circulation Blend

  • One-Ounce carrier oil or unscented lotion
  • 3 Drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 6 drops Rosemary Rosmarinus ct verbenone
  • 6 drops Juniper Berry Juniperus communis
  • 2 drops Black Pepper Piper nigrum

Gently massage the inside of the legs where the main arteries and veins run to stimulate the circulatory system.

7. Ease Endometriosis Symptoms

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder where tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis. Rarely will endometrial tissue spread beyond the pelvic organs.

With endometriosis, endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to leave your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas could possibly form.

Avoiding the need for surgery, doctors often try to ease pain and discomfort with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Sandalwood’s anti-inflammatory actions can bring relief from pain and inflammation. See our carrier oil article and why I love olive oil for this. Be sure to get organic virgin or first pressed oil. Blend and apply topically over the area as often as needed.

Anti-Inflammation Blend

  • One-Ounce Olive Olea europaea oil
  • 4 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 6 drops Plai Zingiber cassumunar
  • 4 drops Hemp Cannabis sativa
  • 4 drops Juniper Berry Juniperus communis

8. Alleviate Muscle Spasms

Sandalwood’s antispasmodic properties will help ease discomfort from muscle spasms. Try the following to calm muscles.

Muscle Soothing Blend

  • One-Ounce carrier oil
  • 4 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 4 drops Ginger Zingiber officinale
  • 6 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 6 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

Apply as needed.

*Indian sandalwood has a strong, warm, buttery fragrance. Pacific sandalwood oil’s scent is similar but not as strong. Australian sandalwood oil has a more “woodsy” fragrance.*

9. Reduce Skin Inflammation

One of sandalwood’s strongest properties is easing inflamed skin. From infected wounds, acne, oily, dry, aged, cracked or chapped, it will smooth and heal your skin. Sandalwood increases blood circulation at the site of application. Sandalwood also strengthens the connective tissue. During the summer months, use light carriers such as grapeseed, cucumber seed, raspberry, watermelon or other fruit or fruit seed oils for soothing your skin.

Skin Inflammation Blend

  • One-Ounce carrier of choice
  • 4 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 6 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 4 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 4 drops Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana

10. Improve Sleep

Sandalwood’s sedative, anti-spasmodic, and anti-depressant properties make it a great addition to sleep aide blends.

Sleep Sound

  • One-Ounce unscented lotion or carrier
  • 5 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 5 drops Spikenard Nardostachys jatamansi
  • 5 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
  • 5 drops Sweet Marjoram Origanum majorana

11. Stimulate Sex Hormones

Sandalwood appears in many aromatherapy texts as an aphrodisiac. (5) An aphrodisiac is a substance that enhances or helps stimulate passion and sexual arousal. Any essential oil that helps ease your stress or that you find sensually stimulating can act as an aphrodisiac for you. It also aids in frigidity and impotence. It works great as an aftershave and is used often in perfumery and paired with rose. It’s also used as a base in attars.

Aphrodisiac Support

  • One-Ounce carrier of choice
  • 4 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 2 drops Jasmine Absolute Jasminum grandiflorum
  • 4 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora ct linalol
  • 4 drops Ginger Zingiber officinale

12. Neuralgia and CNS Depressants

When we have inflamed nerves, it can cause pain and havoc on the body, depending on where the nerves run. Sandalwood eases neuralgia, a severe pain often accompanied with a stabbing, burning sensation. This is due to an irritated or damaged nerve. The nerve may run anywhere in the body, especially the face. Sandalwood is a central nervous system depressant, easing inflammation and pain. From my personal experience, it works exceptionally well in the following blend.

Neuralgia Blend

  • One-Ounce Arnica oil
  • 6 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 6 drops Scotch Pine Pinus sylvestris
  • 6 drops Balsam Fir Abies balsamea
  • 6 drops Plai Zingiber cassumunar

Apply as often as needed.

13. Clear up Acne

I love sandalwood for acne. It works well on any skin type, heals old acne scars, and heals damaged skin. Try the following for your acne cleansing and clearing.

Acne Soap

  • 4-Ounces Castile Soap or Glycerin Soap
  • 5 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 30 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia

Acne Roll-On

  • One 10 ml roll-on
  • 10 ml Olive Oil
  • 1 drop Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 8 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia

14. Genito/Urinary Infections

Sandalwood works well in a sitz bath for easing genital inflammation and infections. This may also bring relief from urinary tract infections. Run 3-4 inches of water, or enough to cover your private area. Use the following blend.

Cystitis Blend

  • 5 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 5 drops German Chamomile Matricaria recutita
  • 5 drops Juniper Berry Juniperus communis

Blend the oils. Add 1-5 drops of your blend to ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) of a carrier such as olive oil or jojoba oil. Blend then add to your sitz bath. This protects your skin from irritation but does not lessen the effects of the essential oils.

See our sitz bath article for more directions and information on these healing baths.

15. Boost Your Immune System

Sandalwood boosts your immune system, protecting against strep and staph infections by stimulating the immune system. When you feel a cold or bug coming on, apply to the chest and neck area. For smaller children, apply to upper and mid backs so little fingers cannot touch it. Citrus oils are phototoxic. Avoid use in the sun or tanning bed.

Immune Support Blend

  • One-Ounce carrier or unscented lotion
  • 2 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 3 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 8 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 2 drops Lemon Citrus limon

16. Alleviate Excess Water Retention

For improvement of circulation, relief of swelling and pain caused by varicose veins, and relief from inflammation and edema in the limbs, try massaging limbs with the following blend. Along with water retention, this will relieve congestion in the lymphatic system. Massage from the feet up since, unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic moves in one direction, up.

Water Retention Blend

  • One-Ounce carrier of choice
  • 3 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 5 drops Cypress Cypress cupressaceae
  • 5 drops Geranium Pelargonium x asperum
  • 5 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum

Use as often as needed.

17. Treat Sore Tired Feet

Sandalwood has a cooling effect on the skin and works well easing tired, sore, inflamed feet. Blend the following and add to a warm foot bath and soak as needed. The aroma alone will amaze and relax you as it soothes your feet to happiness.

Foot Soak

  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil or carrier of choice
  • 2 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 1 drop Peppermint Piperita x mentha

Was this list helpful to you? I love sharing my knowledge and recipes with you. Create your own or use the ones provided to you. Prior to using any oils on children, check all safety guidelines set by Robert Tisserand in the second edition of Essential Oil Safety.

Its natural medicinal uses make this a great oil for every household and office. Who hasn’t been in a situation where a quick, non-pharmaceutical relaxant wouldn’t come in handy? Sandalwood oil can even reduce the everyday stresses of commuting to work. If you haven’t tried this oil yet, I hope you do. It is indispensable.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this list was helpful. Tell me about your own personal experiences with sandalwood essential oil. We can all learn more about the different ways to use this oil from each other. Be sure to share, too, so that others can learn about sandalwood essential oil and add their experiences.


  1. Jean Valnet, The Practice of Aromatherapy; pgs. 96-97
  2. Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual; pg. 387
  3. Jane Buckle, PhD, RN; Clinical Aromatherapy; pgs. 28-30