Sandalwood, Pacific Essential Oil

Type of plant: Small parasitic tree with dark grayish bark and pale wood

Part used: Chipped heartwood and roots

Method of extraction: Steam distillation

Data: Known as New Caledonian sandalwood, grown on the island groups of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, to the northeast of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean. As it takes a minimum of 20 years before the wood is considered mature, strict conservation and replanting are necessary to ensure species preservation. Other plants of the Santalum genus produce an oil that’s similar in smell, such as the Australian Santalum spicatum (or Fusanus spicatus).

Some essential oils sometimes sold as sandalwood come from the same plant family — such as the African Osyris tenuifolia — or from unrelated plant families, such as Rutaceae — for example, the West Indian Amyris balsamifera. Neither of these can be considered sandalwood or substituted for it for therapeutic purposes.

Principal places of production: New Caledonia, Vanuatu

When buying look for: A pale-yellow, slightly viscous liquid with a soft, sweet, woody, balsamic, slightly spicy aroma

Therapeutic properties: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, calmative, emollient, expectorant, sedative

Therapeutic uses: Insomnia, stress, uterine spasm, depression, nervous anxiety

Blends well with: Benzoin, black pepper, cananga, cardamom chamomile roman, coriander seed, cypress, frankincense, geranium, ginger lily root, jasmine, juniper berry, lavender, lemon, mandarin, neroli, nutmeg, orange (sweet), palmarosa, petitgrain, rose absolute, saro, spikenard, tangerine, valerian, ylang ylang

Precautionary advice: No contraindications known