Herb and Essential Oils Magickal and Medicinal Uses – Sandalwood

(Side Note from Lady Beltane: Sandalwood is an all-purpose oil interchangeable for any other essential oil for anything magickal. Also, one of my favorite scents.)

Disclaimer: No herb should be used for medicinal use until you have check with your health care professional to ask if it safe for you to use it for any reason. WitchesofTheCraft.com, any staff member of WitchesofTheCraft.com, and Lady Carla Beltane are not responsible for any type of a negative reaction when using this herb for any reason.

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Sandalwood from Tree Branch, Dried, Powder

The Magic, History, and Folklore of Sandalwood from learnreigions.com

Although not truly an herb, but a wood, sandalwood is an item found often in modern Pagan rituals. In fact, “sandalwood” is an entire class of wood, found in trees that are part of the flowering Santalum family. These aromatic and dense plants are packed full of essential oils, which are often extracted for use in a variety of religious rituals, aromatherapy, and even in medicine.

Did You Know?

  • Sandalwood is full of essential oils, which are often used in religious rituals, aromatherapy, and traditional medicine.
  • Indian sandalwood is an endangered plant, but most product sold in the United States and Europe today comes from the non-endangered Australian sandalwood.
  • In many traditions of modern Paganism, it is associated with healing and purification, as well as business and protection magic.

Sandalwood History

Sandalwood has been used for thousands of years in a ritual context. It appears in Buddhist and Muslim rituals, and was one of several fragrant plants used by the Egyptians in embalming rituals. In China and Tibet, its antiseptic properties make it a valuable part of folk medicine. In India, the wood is used for intricate carvings that adorn shrines and homes; figurines and mala jewelry are also crafted from sandalwood. In addition, a paste is sometimes made that can be used to anoint the forehead of the faithful in Hindu temples.

One particular species, the Indian sandalwood, which grows primarily in Nepal and southern India, is an endangered plant. However, people still harvest the trees for the essential oils, and a single kilogram of true sandalwood oil can sell for up to $2,000. That’s a pretty steep price – but don’t worry, most of the sandalwood essential oil sold in the United States and Europe today actually comes from the Australian sandalwood. This is a non-endangered species, and although it has a lighter concentration than the other varieties of sandalwood, it’s still very fragrant and is popular with many aromatherapists.

Aromatherapist Danièle Ryman says,

“Sandalwood oil is still one of the main remedies used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Asians and Arabs use it in self-treatment for a great number of diseases. In Europe, it mostly features in perfumery and soap, and it once had a major role in aromatherapy.”

While it is is typically the flowers that are harvested and used, many different parts of the sandalwood plant are used for a variety of purposes. For instance, the essential oil is often used in holistic medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties, and some researchers are even testings its impact on cancer and other diseases. The wood can be ground down into a fine powder, and used for beauty treatments — add a bit of rose oil or camphor, and apply it to your skin for cleansing.

In a 2012 issue of Current Science magazine, A. N. Arun Kumar, Geeta Joshi and H. Y. Mohan Ram wrote an article called Sandalwood: History, Uses, Present Status and the Future, in which they discuss spike disease, which has caused many of the species to become endangered. The authors say,

“Sandalwood cannot be equated with other commercial short-rotation or timber-yielding species in which improvement work has been considerably successful. The sandalwood tree has to be viewed from a different perspective. Some of the inherent advantages of sandalwood would certainly help not only in its survival, but also in redeeming its past glory.”

Sandalwood Magic and Folklore

Sandalwood has a number of magical applications, and they tend to vary depending on which religious group you’re looking at. In many traditions of modern Paganism, it is associated with healing and purification. In Hindu rites, sandalwood paste is often used to consecrate ritual tools before ceremonies. Buddhists believe that sandalwood is one of the sacred scents of the lotus, and can be used to keep one connected to the material world while the brain wanders off during meditation. In chakra work, sandalwood is associated with the seventh, or root, chakra at the base of the spine. Burning the incense can help with issues related to self-identity, security and stability, and trust.

In a few Neopagan traditions, the actual wood of the sandalwood is burned as incense — sometimes mixed with other woods or resins, such as myrrh or frankincense. A few forms of folk magic associate it with both business and protection magic. You can also use pieces of the wood in spellwork – write your intent on a chip or stick of sandalwood, and then place it in a brazier to burn. As your sandalwood burns, your intent, or wish, will be carried up to the heavens on the drifting smoke.

Source: Wigington, Patti. “The Magic, History, and Folklore of Sandalwood.” Learn Religions, Aug. 28, 2020, learnreligions.com/using-sandalwood-in-magic-2562036.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

What is Sandalwood?

Sandalwood is an evergreen tree native to India and Indonesia and grows to 8 to 12 m in height and 2.5 m in girth. The bark is smooth and gray-brown in color, and the small flowers have numerous short stalks.

Scientific Name(s)

Santalum album

Common Name(s)

Sandalwood is also known as santal oil, white saunders oil, white or yellow sandalwood oil, and East Indian sandalwood oil.

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Sandalwood oil has a warm, woody odor and is commonly used as a fragrance in incense, cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps. It also is used as a flavor for foods and beverages. The wood has been valued in carving because of its dense character.

In traditional medicine, sandalwood oil has been used as an antiseptic and astringent, and for the treatment of headache, stomachache, and urinary and genital disorders. In India, the essential oil, emulsion, or paste of sandalwood is used in the treatment of inflammatory and eruptive skin diseases. The oil has been used in the traditional Ayurvedic medicinal system as a diuretic and mild stimulant, and for smoothing the skin. The leaves and bark were used by early Hawaiians to treat dandruff, lice, skin inflammation, and sexually transmitted diseases. Sandalwood oil has also demonstrated repellency against the crop pest Tetranychus urticae (two-spotted spider mite).

General uses

Sandalwood oil has been reported to have diuretic and urinary antiseptic properties, but clinical trial data are lacking. The oil has mainly been used as a fragrance enhancer.

What is the recommended dosage?

For the treatment of urological problems, a dose of 1 to 1.5 g daily is recommended for no more than 6 weeks. Sandalwood oil should be dosed in a resistant coating that protects against stomach secretions. The oil should not be ingested in its natural state.


None well documented.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Side Effects

Sandalwood oil may cause skin inflammation, although it is generally considered to be nonirritating to human skin.


Sandalwood oil has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status as a flavoring agent in food by the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers’ Association, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recognizes sandalwood oil as a natural flavoring.


1. Sandalwood Oil. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; October 2012.

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