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Aroma Science

Introduction to Sandalwood

Here you will find comprehensive information regarding all aspects of the sandalwood tree from its botany, horticulture and historical, cultural and modern-day uses to extensive knowledge on sandalwood’s precious essential oil.

Sandalwood’s importance dates to prehistory when the beautiful aroma of the inner heartwood was discovered. The fragrant wood was used as incense, medicine and carvings and highly valued by all cultures where the fragrant tree grows. Later it was discovered that the heartwood could be distilled to produce an extraordinary essential oil. After its discovery, sandalwood oil was quickly put to use in traditional medicine and as perfume and adornment. Beyond the rich, fragrant oil and wood products, the tree itself has a complex botany and a rich cultural history in India, Australia and the Pacific islands where it originates. With the advent of world exploration and trade its renown has extended to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the sandalwood tree’s previous abundance has been dramatically reduced due to over-harvesting in all of its natural growth areas. This is threatening the tree’s continued survival in the wild. Sandalwood’s long history of exploitation, paired with high demand, has led to recent efforts to conserve this precious tree and its natural habitat. The reduction in its abundance has also contributed to a steep increase in sandalwood’s value.

The sandalwood tree with its rich wood and valuable essential oil has a long history of use and today sandalwood is still prominently valued by many small and large-scale industries. With such beauty, utility and great variety of application, it’s not surprising that sandalwood and sandalwood oil is a highly sought after and revered natural resource.