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Sandalwood

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What is Sandalwood Used for Today? | Dosage | Safety Issues | References

What Is Sandalwood Used for Today? | Dosage | Safety Issues

The oil of the sweet-smelling sandalwood tree has a long history of use as a perfume and incense fragrance. Sandalwood oil also has a medicinal tradition in various countries, having been used for digestive distress, liver problems, acne and other skin problems, gonorrhea, anxiety, and insomnia. Additionally, it has played a role in some Hindu religious ceremonies, and has been used as a meditation aid.

What Is Sandalwood Used for Today?

Sandalwood oil has been approved by German’s Commission E for treatment of bladder infections . 1 It is not recommended as sole treatment, but rather as an accompaniment to conventional care. However, there is no meaningful evidence that it is effective for this purpose. Only double-blind , placebo-controlled studies can prove that a treatment really works, and no studies of this type have been performed with sandalwood. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)

Weak evidence, far too preliminary to rely upon at all, hints that sandalwood may have antiviral, 2 anti– Helicobacterpylori ( Helicobacter pylori is the underlying cause of most stomach ulcers ), 3 sedative, 4,5 and cancer-preventive6-8 properties.

Dosage

According to Germany’s Commission E, sandalwood oil should be taken at a dose of 1–1.5 grams daily in enteric-coated form for supportive treatment of urinary tract infections. (“Enteric-coated” products are designed so they do not open up and release their contents until they reach the small intestine.) However, this is a relatively high dose for an essential oil, and should only be used under the supervion of a physician. Non–enteric-coated products may cause stomach distress. For external use in skin conditions, a few drops of the oil are added to a cup of water.

Safety Issues

Sandalwood oil appears to be relatively safe, but it has not undergone comprehensive safety testing; in general, essential oil can have toxic and even fatal effects when taken in sufficient doses, especially by children. Allergic reactions caused by direct contact with sandalwood oil occur relatively frequently. 9-11 Sandalwood oil should not be used by young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease.

 

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