Multiple benefits of Sandalwood tree | Sunday Observer

Multiple benefits of Sandalwood tree

4 June, 2023

White sandalwood is a tree that is in great demand, and rarely seen. It is a plant that provides one of the most valuable woods in the world. Given its great value, there are frequent reports of white sandalwood trees being stolen. These trees can mostly be seen in private estates, and religious sites, particularly Buddhist temples.

Indian white sandalwood, known by its botanical name Santalum album, is called ‘Sveta Chandana’ in Sanskrit. It is also called by Sanskrit names like ‘Gandhasara’, ‘Malayaja’, and ‘Sarpavasa’. It is known as ‘Shandakkatvarya’ in Tamil. It belongs to the genus Santalasita or sandalwood. Sandalwood trees are semi-parasitic and grow as shrubs or herbs. This tree is an exotic plant and its homeland is considered to be India. It is a plant that grows to a height of 25-30 feet.

Sandalwood leaves have a pointed end. The surface is shiny and the underside is light green. The tree grows as an upright trunk. Branches do not bend and grow. A smooth bark can be seen. It is grayish brown in colour. The flowers are purplish red in colour. Small black fruits are produced. Sandalwood has many subspecies in India. They are called ‘Sweta Chandana’, ‘Rakta Chandana’, ‘Kuchandana’, ‘Kaliyaka Berbara’, ‘Hari Chandana’ and ‘Mysore Chandana’.

Slow growth

The chemical properties of sandalwood plants include the presence of 3.6 percent volatile oil in the stems and roots. This oil is yellow and has a great aroma. This tree grows in gardens and thickets in several parts of the country. Although the farmers and growers know about the value of white sandalwood, it has not yet become a much-grown crop. It has been affected by the fact that propagation by seeds is difficult and the growth of the plant is very slow.


This tree is spread in countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Australia and the United States (Hawaii Island). The white sandalwood tree is grown around Mysore, Coimbatore, and Chennai in India. The value of sandalwood varies according to the land where it grows and the time of cutting the trees. Trees grown in fertile soils produce less oil. It is said that the amount of oil is high and the quality is also high when it is grown on rocky ground.

The bark of the plant and oil made of sandalwood are used to treat many diseases such as headache, inflammation, skin diseases, mental disorders, dysentery, helminthic diseases, haemorrhagic fever, heart disease, chronic cough and urinary retention. White sandalwood has many properties such as pain reliever, thirst quencher, worm killer, diuretic, blood purifying and detoxifying.

Women who are very interested in the bright appearance of the skin cannot go without talking about white hands. It is said that the ancient royal princesses used to mix sandalwood with milk and apply it on their skin to keep their skin healthy and glowing. The young leaves of this tree can be consumed as a salad.

Literary works provide evidence that the valuable medicinal properties of sandalwood have been known since ancient times. It is mentioned in the Ummagga Jataka that in the past, a prince was born with a piece of sandalwood in his hand, so he was called ‘Mahaushadha’ which means ‘the one who brought great medicine’. Sandalwood has been used for various religious and cultural activities in the early days. Even today it is used to create religious statues in India and statues are bathed in water mixed with sandalwood powder.

A key ingredient

At present, white sandalwood and its related products are sold at the highest price in the market. A litre of sandalwood oil is about US $ 3,000.Sandalwood is also used as an ingredient for many cosmetic products including perfumes and fragrances. In addition, it is used for decorative wood carvings. There is a high demand for designs made of sandalwood in countries like India, Taiwan and Hong Kong. There is a demand for them from countries like Europe, Japan and North America.

Following related research, a method has been found that can germinate about 90 percent of the seeds in a short period of five weeks. The aim of such research is to identify the mother plants with superior characteristics in the plantations and to obtain seedlings from them by tissue planting. Efforts have also been made to identify suitable host plants for the white sandalwood tree. Currently used legume and non-legume host plants were grown and studied in specialised glass cover pots along with sandalwood plants.