Herb of the Month: Sandalwood

By Sandra Ramani / October 5, 2011

Cooling, comfort, and a feeling of stability are just some of the sensations associated with this fragrant wood, which has been prized for centuries for its medicinal, cosmetic, and aromatic properties. The most famous species of the fine-grained sandalwood tree—which has a dark bark, heavy, green leaves, and bunches of small, purple-hued flowers—is indigenous to India, with the best crops typically coming from southern states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Mysore region is particularly known for its high-quality production. Though harvesting is closely monitored and regulated, sandalwood is still highly prized, so costs for the wood and essential oil can run high. To help increase availability, Indian sandalwood plantations have also been planted in Australia (which has its own species of the tree), while other varietals can be found in Hawaii and the Pacific islands.

In India and neighboring countries like Nepal, sandalwood incense has historically been used in cultural and religion rituals, and its wood is popular for carvings and table top items. Because of its cooling properties, Ayurvedic medicine recommends sandalwood oil to treat gastric troubles, certain food allergies, and urinary tract infections. Health and beauty-wise, sandalwood is an effective remedy for insect bites, dry skin, eczema, and inflammatory conditions, and also works to fight signs of aging and impart a glow. To experience this nurturing ingredient, try Uhma Nagri Sandalwood Shower Lotion, a moisturizing, 100-percent natural cleanser made with organic coconut, olive oil and Amazonian cupuacu butter, and the companion Yoga Sandalwood Body Lotion, fortified with Brazil nut oil, lavender and New Caledonian sandalwood. uhmaspa.com

Sandra Ramani

Sandra Ramani

Senior Contributing Editor at Organic Spa Magazine
In addition to serving as OSM’s Senior Contributing Editor, writer/editor Sandra Ramani covers travel, wellness, and lifestyle topics for such publications as Travel + Leisure, Robb Report, Premier Traveler, AFAR, Bridal Guide, Elite Traveler, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also the author of “Day Trips from Dallas / Fort Worth,” now in its second edition. Recent assignments have found her sleeping in the Sahara, hopping helicopters in New Zealand, and making this new friend in Bali.
Sandra Ramani

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