Today’s article is the first in a new trilogy of aromatic articles; this series of articles focuses on the sandalwood species. Sandalwood is known for its usage as an essential oil, but this article will focus on its rising use as a CO2 extracted carrier oil. Subsequent articles in this particular trilogy series will look at the ethical and sustainability issues taken by one Australian company in the production of sandalwood essential oil, and three simple sandalwood aromatherapy blends to make.
Sandalwood Seed CO2 Extracted Oil
Sandalwood seed oil is not the same as sandalwood essential oil. Sandalwood seed oil is extracted from the seed of the plant and not the heartwood, as is the case for the essential oil. In addition, sandalwood seed oil is extracted by CO2 (super critical carbon dioxide).1 Sandalwood seed oil, like many aromatherapy carrier oils, is composed of fatty acid triglycerides including oleic acid*, ximenyvic acid*, palmitic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid.2
* principal components.
The sample of sandalwood wood seed (Santalum spicatum) oil which I purchased from Your Body Needs had a light, nutty aroma which certainly had a hint of sandalwood aroma! It was a little different than the “usual” (non-existent) aroma of many carrier oils.
Uses of Sandalwood Seed Oil
Sandalwood seed oil can be used like many other aromatherapy carrier oils. However, given both its price and viscosity – it is quite a thick, gloopy (gummy) oil – I would recommend combining it with other carrier oils for use in massage/body oils and bath and body products. Sandalwood seed oil is thought to possess the following therapeutic properties:
suppresses sebum secretion (and therefore useful for acne and oil skin)
effective for cellulitis
useful for dermatitis
useful for aging/mature skin
useful for eczema
effective for varicose veins.1
The Future of Sandalwood as a Carrier Oil
Plant extraction methods have improved significantly in the last decade, marked by the increased availability of many CO2 extracted oils. This has led to the extraction of some plants which were not previously available through traditional distillation methods (or were not financially viable).
Sandalwood seed oil is one such example of this situation. If the sandalwood species is extracted for an essential oil, the heartwood of the tree is distilled, resulting in the “destruction” of the entire tree (which can take several decades to grow into maturity). If the sandalwood seed is extracted for its (carrier) oil, an annual crop can be harvested with each tree producing approximately 11 oz of seed.1 Each seed contains about 50-60% of oil.2
It would seem that sandalwood seed oil is a lot more viable than sandalwood essential oil, given these statistics. However, sandalwood essential oil and sandalwood seed oil are not the same type of oil and they do not contain the same chemical components. In addition, although sandalwood seed oil does, to me, have the aroma of sandalwood essential oil, it is not as pronounced and cannot be used as a substitute for sandalwood seed oil for aromatic purposes. But, if you compare the therapeutic properties of each oil, you will see that they do have similar uses. Just know which type of sandalwood oil you are using, what your intended use is – and how to use each type of oil safely.
Learn More About Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie
If you would like to learn more about carrier oils and their use in aromatherapy practice, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of Aromatics (TM) Home Study Program.
Down Under Enterprises [PDF], Sandalwood Seed Oil: Australian Sandalwood Seed Oil and Sandalwood Essential Oil, accessed January 23, 2017
Lipid Technology [PDF], Western Australia Sandalwood Seed Oil: New Opportunities, accessed January 23, 2017
Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.