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Sandalwood (Santalum album)

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Also listed as: Santalum album
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Alpha-santalol, beta-santalol, East Indian sandalwood, sandal, sandalwood oil, Santalaceae (family), Santalum album, white sandalwood.
  • Note: This monograph does not include false sandalwood (Myoporum sanwicense) or red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus).

Background
  • Endemic in Indonesia, Australia, and the Indian peninsula, the Santalum album tree is the primary source of sandalwood and sandalwood oil. Both are used in Hindu religious ceremonies. In Ayurvedic medicine, East Indian sandalwood is an important remedy for both physical and mental disorders. Sandalwood is also a popular fragrance for incense and perfumes.
  • There is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of sandalwood for any indication. However, preliminary aromatherapy studies with sandalwood have indicated that it may have anxiolytic (reducing anxiety) and stimulating properties.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Preliminary study indicates that sandalwood oil may increase alertness; however, more research is needed in this area.

C


Sandalwood is frequently used in incense and aromatherapy. Early study indicates that sandalwood may reduce anxiety in palliative patients. Additional study is needed in this area.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antifungal, insect repellent.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for sandalwood.

Children (younger than 18 years):

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for sandalwood in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to sandalwood (Santalum album) or its constituents. There are reports of sandalwood causing dermatitis and sandalwood oil causing photoallergy.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • There are very few reports available of sandalwood and related adverse effects. Of the available literature, there are a few cases of allergic reactions, which document dermatitis and photoallergy. Sandalwood is likely safe when 1% sandalwood oil in sweet almond carrier oil is applied to the skin during massage in non-allergic people.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Sandalwood is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Although not well studied in humans, the sandalwood constituent alpha-santalol may induce apoptosis (cell death), and thus may interact with anticancer agents. Sandalwood may also have antifungal properties and caution is advised in patients taking antifungal agents.
  • Based on preliminary human study, application of the sandalwood oil constituent alpha-santalol on patients' skin may have a relaxing/sedative effect. Combined use of anxiolytics with sandalwood may result in additive effects.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Although not well studied in humans, the sandalwood constituent alpha-santalol may induce apoptosis (cell death), and thus may interact with anticancer agents. Sandalwood may also have antifungal properties and caution is advised in patients taking antifungal agents.
  • Based on preliminary human study, application of the sandalwood oil constituent alpha-santalol on patients' skin may have a relaxing/sedative effect. Combined use of anxiolytics with sandalwood may result in additive effects.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. An S, Lee AY, Lee CH, et al. Fragrance contact dermatitis in Korea: a joint study. Contact Dermatitis 2005;53(6):320-323.
  2. Buchbauer G, Stappen I, Pretterklieber C, et al. Structure-activity relationships of sandalwood odorants: synthesis and odor of tricyclo beta-santalol. Eur J Med Chem 2004;39(12):1039-1046.
  3. Buchbauer G, Sunara A, Weiss-Greiler P, et al. Synthesis and olfactoric activity of side-chain modified beta-santalol analogues. Eur J Med Chem 2001;36(7-8):673-683.
  4. Frosch PJ, Johansen JD, Menne T, et al. Further important sensitizers in patients sensitive to fragrances. Contact Dermatitis 2002;47(5):279-287.
  5. Girgenti P, Suss L. [Repellent activity against Aedes aegypti (L.) of formulas based on natural vegetable extracts or synthetic active agents]. Ann.Ig 2002;14(3):205-210.
  6. Grigor'eva VD, Dashina TA, Iur'eva EA, et al. [Balneological use of bath concentrate containing xidifon and essential oils from ginger, nutmeg, and sandal]. Vopr.Kurortol.Fizioter.Lech.Fiz Kult. 2001;(6):35-36.
  7. Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida spp. J Antimicrob.Chemother. 1998;42(5):591-595.
  8. Heuberger E, Hongratanaworakit T, Buchbauer G. East Indian Sandalwood and alpha-santalol odor increase physiological and self-rated arousal in humans. Planta Med 2006;72(9):792-800.
  9. Hongratanaworakit T, Heuberger E, Buchbauer G. Evaluation of the effects of East Indian sandalwood oil and alpha-santalol on humans after transdermal absorption. Planta Med 2004;70(1):3-7.
  10. Kaur M, Agarwal C, Singh RP, et al. Skin cancer chemopreventive agent, {alpha}-santalol, induces apoptotic death of human epidermoid carcinoma A431 cells via caspase activation together with dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential and cytochrome c release. Carcinogenesis 2005;26(2):369-380.
  11. Kyle G. Evaluating the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing levels of anxiety in palliative care patients: results of a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006;12(2):148-155.
  12. Larsen W, Nakayama H, Fischer T, et al. A study of new fragrance mixtures. Am J Contact Dermat. 1998;9(4):202-206.
  13. Larsen W, Nakayama H, Lindberg M, et al. Fragrance contact dermatitis: a worldwide multicenter investigation (Part I). Am J Contact Dermat. 1996;7(2):77-83.
  14. Masago R, Matsuda T, Kikuchi Y, et al. Effects of inhalation of essential oils on EEG activity and sensory evaluation. J Physiol Anthropol.Appl.Human Sci 2000;19(1):35-42.
  15. Sugawara Y, Hino Y, Kawasaki M, et al. Alteration of perceived fragrance of essential oils in relation to type of work: a simple screening test for efficacy of aroma. Chem Senses 1999;24(4):415-421.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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