Know The Medicinal Tree Sandal (Chandan)

Sandal or Chandan is a very significant tree native to India. This is a tree of religious and commercial importance. Religiously it is used in various ceremonies of Hindus, Buddhists and Chinese. Commercially the wood of the tree is used for carving and oil extraction. It is the second most expensive wood in the world.

Sandal is also used in various Traditional medicine system such as Ayurveda, Unani, Chinese, for the treatment of a variety of diseases. For the medicinal purpose its heartwood (central part of the tree) and oil are used. The heartwood of sandal has sedative, aromatic, deodorant, disinfectant, refrigerant, depurative, intellect promoting, cardio-tonic, diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant, aphrodisiac, haemostatic, anodyne, antipyretic properties.

In Ayurveda, sandal wood is used to treat gastric irritability, dysentery, gonorrhea, urethral, bronchial and skin disorders. In Unani system of medicine the tree is used internally and externally to treat disorders related to heart, brain, the liver, stomach and skin.

General information

In Ayurveda Santalum album is known as Shwet Chandan and Pterocarpus santalinus as Rakta chandana. Santalum album is an evergreen, semi-parasitic tree. It reaches up to 8 to 18 m in height and 2 to 4 m in girth. It is widely distributed in the India and commonly found in the dry regions of peninsular India from Vindhya mountains southwards, especially in Karnataka and Tamilnadu. This tree is cultivated for its aromatic wood and oil.

Sandal tree is a root parasitic tree on various hosts. For survival of Sandal seedling, it is essential that it get attached to the roots of other plants. Once the roots are attached to the adjoining plant, the sandal seedling is also able to obtain nutrients directly from the soil. Over 30 species can nourish sandalwood including teak, clove, bamboo and the tropical guava tree, etc.

Scientific Classification

  • KINGDOM Plantae
  • SUPERDIVISION Embryophyta
  • DIVISION Tracheophyta (vascular plants)
  • SUBDIVISION Spermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants)
  • CLASS Magnoliopsida
  • SUPERORDER Santalanae
  • ORDER Santalales
  • FAMILY Santalaceae
  • GENUS Santalum L.
  • SPECIES Santalum album L.

Vernacular Names

  • ASSAMESE: Sandale Avyaj
  • BENGALI: Chandan
  • GUJARATI: Sukhad
  • HINDI: Chandan, Safed Chandan
  • KANNADA: Shrigandhamara, Shrigandha, Chand
  • MALAYALAM: Chandanam
  • MARATHI: Chandan
  • PUNJABI: Chandan
  • TAMIL: Chandana maram, Sandanam, Ingam
  • TELUGU: Gandhapu Chekka, Manchi Gandham, Tella Chandanam, Sriga
  • URDU: Sandal Safed
  • ARABIC: Sandal abyaz
  • PERSIAN: Sandal Suped
  • SINDHI: Sukhad

ENGLISH: Sandalwood, white sandalwood, yellow sandalwood, East Indian sandalwood, sandalwood Mysore, sanders-wood.

TRADE NAME/COMMERCIAL NAME: East Indian sandalwood and its oil the East Indian sandalwood oil.


Sandal tree generally occurs at altitudes of 2000-3000 feet. It is found throughout India and more concentrated in the southern India (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala). This tree is also distributed in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Chemical constituent of Sandalwood:Volatile oil (a- and ß- Santalol).

Medicinal use of Sandal

Sandalwood contain few chemicals (such as sesquiterpenols, sesquiterpenes) which have anti-inflammatory, sedative and immune supportive properties. For the medicinal purpose the heartwood and essential oil of the tree is used.

In Ayurveda, the wood is considered Tikta/Bitter, Madhura/Sweet (Rasa/taste), Laghu/Light, Ruksha/Dry (Guna/Characteristics), Sheet/ Cool (Virya/Potency) and Katu/Pungent (Vipaka/Post Digestive Effect). It is used in vitiated condition of pitta, burning sensation, indigestion, skin diseases, leprosy, psychopathy, heart weakness, hyperacidity, jaundice, cough, bronchitis inflammations, diarrhea, dysentery, gastric irritability, menorrhagia, leucorrhoea, spermatorrhoea, intermittent fever and general debility. Some important Ayurvedic formulation of Chandan are Ayaskrti, Chandanasava, Chandanadi churna, Chandanadi Taila, etc.

  1. In the case of Gonorrhoea, Sandalwood powder is given with cow’s milk.
  2. For diarrhea, dysentery the infusion of wood powder is used as astringent.
  3. For excessive thirst, sandal powder is taken with coconut water.

The dose of wood in powder form for internal administration, as given in Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India is 3-6 grams.

Sandal wood is a great remedy for many skin condition. It is used for the skin lightening, brightening, toning, scrubbing, etc. It works due to its anti-septic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, cooling, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Sandal oil is extracted from the heartwood and roots of Sandal tree by steam distillation. The bark and outer wood (sapwood) does not contain oil. For extraction of oil sandal tree should be at least thirty year old. To extract the oil, tree is uprooted and cut. The roots and heartwood are steam distilled. For steam distillation, the fine powder of heartwood and roots are put in a chamber and steam is allowed to flow. Steam bursts the essential oil containing sac of the plant material. This oil is carried by the steam out of the chamber and into a chilled condenser, where the steam once again becomes water and oil is separated. Sandal oil is pale yellow to clear in color. It is a very expensive oil and used in perfumery, cosmetics, aromatherapy and pharmaceutical industry. The oil is also applied topically to treat dryness, eczema and as anti-aging.

Using Sandal for Skin

Sandal or Chandan is a very well-known natural product with a sweet aroma. It has cooling effect on mind and body. Its sweet odour calms the mind. There are numerous therapeutic uses of it, both internally and externally. Sandal is especially good for the skin as it possess inflammation reducing, insect killing, oil reducing and skin healing properties.

Sandalwood which is the heartwood of sandal tree is available as wood or in powdered form. The powder has brown to whiter in color and is very aromatic. Sandal wood is very beneficial for various skin conditions.

Sandalwood powder is extensively used for cosmetic purpose. It heals the damaged skin and cures skin blemishes. It is a natural product so has no harmful effect on skin. There are several ways to use it on facial skin for improving texture, tone and fairness. These are simple time-tested home remedies that has been used from centuries. Some such home remedies are given here.

Sandalwood powder can be mixed with many other ingredients and applied on the face for improving skin condition and fairness.

Sandalwood powder (3 teaspoon) is mixed with rose water (3 tablespoon) and applied on the face for about twenty minutes for the skin toning and lightening. This also maintains natural oil balance of the skin. This simple recipe is also useful in acne and pimples breakouts. It heals the skin damage and calms the irritation.

For improving fairness, brightness and getting even skin tone Sandalwood powder is mixed with juice of lemon, tomato and cucumber and applied as facial mask for a few minutes.

Another remedy for making skin brighter and lighter is to mix Sandalwood powder (one teaspoon), turmeric (a pinch) in milk cream (2 tablespoon) and apply this on the face for half an hour and then rinse with plain water. This also cures skin dryness.

Sandal for Acne Breakout and Soft & Smooth skin

For making skin smoother and softer, mix equal amount of sandal powder with haldi/turmeric. Combine this with honey to make a paste of desired consistency and apply on facial skin. Leave for a few minutes and then wash off with cold water. Regular application of this mask reduces acne breakouts.

Sandal for Itchiness, Inflammation, Blemishes

In the case of itchy skin, rash, inflammation, blemishes, mix sandalwood powder with milk and camphor oil and apply for twenty minutes. Then wash off with plain water.

Sandal for Prickly heat

The paste of sandalwood is popular home remedy for prickly heat (Ghamouri in Hindi). The application arrests excessive secretion and sooths the inflamed skin. For prickly heat and keeping body cool during the summer season, sandal is mixed with water to make a paste. This paste is applied on sweaty body parts like forehead, back, armpits and similar sweaty areas.

Sandal Powder for Skin Scrubbing

For skin exfoliation, Sandal powder, fuller’s earth and orange peel powder are mixed in equal amount and scrubbed on the face whenever required.

Sandalwood works effectively in skin condition due to its healing, cooling, and soothing properties. It controls excessive sweat and oil from skin. As it controls excess oil from skin, it is highly used for acne and pimples breakouts. You may use this for the skin rashes, pimples, inflammations, itchiness, irritations and skin damage due to sun.


  1. Sandal has Abortifacient (abortion inducing) action on oral administration.
  2. Sandal can be allergenic topically in some people.
  3. Sandal wood and oil are very expensive, so adulteration is also common.

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