- Essential Oils & Extracts
- Quality & Chemistry
Native to the East Indies, the Sandalwood tree can grow to be 20-30 feet tall with red, yellow, or violet-pink flowers. The tree is a root parasite â€“ seedlings can only survive by becoming attached to the roots of other plants. Once the Sandalwood roots are well established to an adjoining plant, the tree is then able to gain nutrients directly from the soil. Trees that nourish Sandalwood seedlings include Teak, Clove, and Bamboo.
Only the heartwood and larger roots are used in the extraction of essential oil. It takes 20 years for a Sandalwood tree to begin producing significant amounts of heartwood which is most abundant in 30-60 year old trees. All Sandalwood trees are now the property of the Indian government which specifies that the oil must contain a minimum of 90% santalols. Though Santalum album grows in the Lingnan region of China, the oil is not commercially available. Amyris, known as West Indian Sandalwood, comes from a completely different species (Schimmelia oleifera). Though it is sometimes used as a healthy, inexpensive and sustainable substitute in many aromatherapy applications, its scent and therapeutic properties are notably different. Australian Sandalwood, distilled from Santalum spicatum, is botanically, aromatically and therapeutically closer to the Mysore and can be used in most applications where a lower santalol content and richer, spicier Sandalwood aroma is desired. If you're seeking santolol specifically, this may be the best oil for you -- otherwise, which to use is simply a matter of personal preference. We find we like different oils best on different days.