Alternate Title

  • Santalum album

Related Terms

  • Alpha-santalol, beta-santalol, East Indian sandalwood, sandal, sandalwood oil, Santalaceae (family), Santalum album, white sandalwood.
  • Note: This monograph does not include false sandalwood (Myoporum sanwicense) or red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus).

Background

  • Endemic in Indonesia, Australia, and the Indian peninsula, the Santalum album tree is the primary source of sandalwood and sandalwood oil. Both are used in Hindu religious ceremonies. In Ayurvedic medicine, East Indian sandalwood is an important remedy for both physical and mental disorders. Sandalwood is also a popular fragrance for incense and perfumes.
  • There is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of sandalwood for any indication. However, preliminary aromatherapy studies with sandalwood have indicated that it may have anxiolytic (reducing anxiety) and stimulating properties.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    Alertness

    Preliminary study indicates that sandalwood oil may increase alertness; however, more research is needed in this area.

    Anxiety

    Sandalwood is frequently used in incense and aromatherapy. Early study indicates that sandalwood may reduce anxiety in palliative patients. Additional study is needed in this area.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older):

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for sandalwood.
  • Children (younger than 18 years):

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for sandalwood in children.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to sandalwood (Santalum album) or its constituents. There are reports of sandalwood causing dermatitis and sandalwood oil causing photoallergy.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • There are very few reports available of sandalwood and related adverse effects. Of the available literature, there are a few cases of allergic reactions, which document dermatitis and photoallergy. Sandalwood is likely safe when 1% sandalwood oil in sweet almond carrier oil is applied to the skin during massage in non-allergic people.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Sandalwood is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Although not well studied in humans, the sandalwood constituent alpha-santalol may induce apoptosis (cell death), and thus may interact with anticancer agents. Sandalwood may also have antifungal properties and caution is advised in patients taking antifungal agents.
    • Based on preliminary human study, application of the sandalwood oil constituent alpha-santalol on patients’ skin may have a relaxing/sedative effect. Combined use of anxiolytics with sandalwood may result in additive effects.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Although not well studied in humans, the sandalwood constituent alpha-santalol may induce apoptosis (cell death), and thus may interact with anticancer agents. Sandalwood may also have antifungal properties and caution is advised in patients taking antifungal agents.
    • Based on preliminary human study, application of the sandalwood oil constituent alpha-santalol on patients’ skin may have a relaxing/sedative effect. Combined use of anxiolytics with sandalwood may result in additive effects.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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