What is the history and significance of fragrance?
Woody fragrances are one of the most distinctive families of scents. Fragrance notes coming from trees are intense, long-lasting and their richness of aromas has made it very common to include them not only in perfumes, but also in cosmetics, air fresheners and other home accessories.
Sandalwood, which belongs to the above group, is an extremely popular and appreciated fragrance all over the world. Its history dates back several thousand years and begins in South East Asia. From that time until today, Buddhist monks have used it in the form of smoke when conducting ceremonies in temples. It is believed to cleanse the room and the mind of negative energy and improve the quality of prayer. The widespread use of sandalwood meant that it was not only used in temples, but also to make furniture, figurines, fans, jewellery and decorative containers. Its popularity grew even more when it arrived in Europe - the demand for cosmetics, perfumes with oriental, esoteric notes and interior design elements made from this tree increased significantly.
What is sandalwood?
Sandalwood (Santalum L.) is a free-growing evergreen shrub or small tree (depending on the variety) of the sandal genus, which grows mainly in Southeast Asia, India and the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. It is known as a semi-parasite because it carries out photosynthesis, but draws water and other minerals from the roots of other plants growing in its vicinity. In either case, it does not reach significant size. The fruit of some varieties can be edible, but what has delighted the world most is the sandalwood essential oil, which is contained in the wood and bark of the tree. Originally, in the areas where sandalwood originated, it was most often used for rituals - it served as an ingredient in pastes, powders and oils necessary for ceremonies.
Action and properties of sandalwood
The unique properties of sandalwood began to be recognised when the sandalwood people of the time began to use it in their daily lives. The scent of sandalwood is the most appreciated and widespread and is used in aromatherapy, perfumes and cosmetics, and is a very important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. According to local beliefs, its properties affect not only the body, but also the mind - it can be used externally and orally. Sandalwood oil not only smells good, but also helps treat illnesses such as colds and flu as it helps with expectoration. It also relaxes muscles and blood vessels to prevent cramps and neuralgia, and when used orally, it minimises gas and cramps in the digestive system, so it can be used for digestive problems or to support the metabolism.
Sandalwood oil, like tea tree oil, has antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties. It can be helpful in treating intimate problems. When applied on minor wounds and scratches, it disinfects, eliminates and prevents the development of microorganisms preventing infection - it accelerates healing and epidermis regeneration. It will also prove useful in the summer period as its intensive fragrance repels insects.
As well as promoting wound healing, sandalwood oil used in small amounts (preferably diluted and mixed with moisturiser) soothes acne lesions and lightens acne scars. A few drops of the oil can also be added to the bath if we experience anxiety and stress - its therapeutic effect improves concentration and allows us to relax. The wide spectrum of uses for sandalwood oil makes it a remedy that each of us should have at home in case of necessity.
Sandalwood fragrances - what are they made of and how do they smell?
Sandalwood essential oil is made, as the name suggests, from the tree, or more precisely, from all its parts such as bark, roots and branches. Sandalwood oil is found in the hardest (and most valuable) parts of the wood, so the soft and fragile parts are removed by letting termites into the tree to get rid of them. This is a traditional method that has been used for centuries. The wood is then pulverised and soaked for 48 hours so that the wood softens and the components responsible for the aroma begin to be released. After soaking, the extract itself is steam distilled, which is a method of isolating substances that do not mix with water. This is the most common method of extracting sandalwood oil, although it is not very efficient (more than 20 kg of wood is needed to extract 1 litre of oil). Another complication is the time it takes for the sandalwood to grow, as the roots need to be mature enough to have the desired aroma - this means that the plant needs more than 30 years before the oil can be extracted from it. The complicated process and time required to obtain the raw material makes sandalwood oil one of the most desirable in the world.
The smell of sandalwood has probably been smelled somewhere, sometime by all of us, but it is possible that the smell we have smelled is significantly different. The reason for this is the white sandalwood and the red sandalwood - as the name suggests, they differ in colour, but also smell differently. White sandalwood is much more popular and its scent is considered to be delicate, slightly sweet and, above all, it has much lower soil requirements than red sandalwood, so it is much easier to grow. Its aroma is considered so intense that trees and other plants growing around it can take on this scent. Red sandalwood has an intense, woody scent and a deep red colour. Due to the fact that it has much higher soil requirements than its white counterpart, it is much rarer and grows mainly in India. It smells so distinct that it can be used as a stand-alone incense, and its colour also makes it an excellent dye for fabrics, cosmetics, food, drinks and even hair! It can also be found in perfumes, but before buying it is worth comparing how white sandalwood smells and how red sandalwood smells to see which one suits you better. Their woody, exotic scent has long been one of the most iconic and often encountered - a perfect combination with musk or jasmine. Often found as perfumed waters or in the form of candles and other fragrances for interiors.
Sandalwood home fragrance in candle form
Fragrances from the woody category are a great choice when it comes to home accessories. Combined with citrus notes, they refresh the interior perfectly, and upon entering the house we are hit with this unusual scent, which immediately relaxes us and makes a pleasant association. There are many different products to maintain a beautiful fragrance in our home such as diffusers, candles, sticks or sachets. A sandalwood scented candle is perfect for those who love oriental scents, but because sandalwood blends so well with so many other scents it's versatile, so it's perfect for most homes - especially those where wood is king! It's no secret that candles can create a romantic atmosphere, but when combined with the scent they release and their elegant packaging, they are the perfect complement to your home decor and can be used for every possible occasion from dinner with your partner, a bath or an evening relaxation after work.