Ayurveda, or Ayurvedic medicine, originated in India over 3000 years ago and is still an intrinsic part of India’s healthcare today, making it one of the world’s oldest medical systems. Ayurveda promotes the use of herbs, specialized diets, and other holistic health practices, and sandalwood is one of its main remedies (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM], article, 2013). According to Ayurveda, the three life energies in the body are Pitta (fire), Kapha (earth), and Vata (air). These life energies are balanced in a way that is unique to each individual’s constitution, and when this balance is disturbed, an individual can experience physical or emotional health issues. Sandalwood is known to reduce Pitta and Vata when they are aggravated, and it also has a neutral effect on Kapha. Because of sandalwood essential oil’s relaxing and cooling properties, one of its most important applications in Ayurveda is to soothe the nervous system by easing nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, and nerve pain. Sandalwood also balances the circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems. As explained in the Body Care section, it acts as a disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, and sedative. Sandalwood essential oil is often used as a massage oil, rubbed on hemorrhoids and over reproductive organs for bladder infections (Kerala Ayurveda, article, 2013).
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