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Sandalwood

Santalum album

The Indian name for sandalwood is chandan, it has known to Indian culture from ancient times and is included in many rituals. Offering chandan tilak  (sandalwood incense) in worship of a god is a common practice in countries like India and Nepal, but it has become popular world wide. This is a precious plant and needs governmental permission for plantation and cultivation.

Sandalwood is a medium sized tree with dark rough bark and beautiful green leaves making branches drooping by their weight. Leaves are opposite and shiny, flowers are small, in bunches and purplish in colour and fruits are round, juicy and fleshy. Mature wood is rich in oil and is scented as well. This has given the plant higher status in the botanical world. The wood is highly prized owing to it’s very pleasant odor.

Sandalwood is used in powdered form  or in oil form, which is extracted from wood of bark or branches by process of distillation. Both powder and oil are bitter in taste and have sedative properties. Sandalwood is famous for it’s cooling properties. According to one ayurvedic school it is a very good cardiac tonic.

Ancient ayurveda has mentioned use of sandalwood in all types of urinary troubles like burning micturition, urinary tract infection,  oligurea i.e. diminished amount and frequency of urine, dysurea i.e. painful and difficult micturition etc. Sandalwood helps in dilating of the ureters is a general medical observation. This property can be used in case of renal calculi.

Sandalwood is useful in gastric troubles also. It reduces gastric irritability. One ayurvedic sanhita(ancient megabook) has recommended use of sandalwood water for dysentery. Logically this medicine is more of a use in drug/food intolerance because it has cooling properties. We also can try this medicine in drug/food born allergies.

Sandalwood has important role in skin problems. It can be used both internally as well as externally. Internally it can be taken in the form of powder. Powder is recommended with milk. Now a days we get ready made pills prepared out of sandalwood powder. Another way of administering the medicine is through water. A piece of sandalwood in kept in water overnight and this water can be used as a medicine when cooling result is the need. Using oil extract of medicine is the third way of administering the drug. 10 to 20 drops of oil are consumed orally as per the need of the situation.

Sandalwood paste is a famous household remedy for skin conditions. In acne, prickly heat, insect bites, dermatitis/ eczema , urticaria i.e. allergic condition and minor burns and scalds sandalwood paste is better option. In heals inflamed and irritated skin and gives relief. It can act as effective deodorant to persons who complain excessive sweating. It is a drug of choice in ecthyosis i.e. dry skin condition, , palmoplanter keratoderma i.e. dry skin condition of palms and soles,  psoriasis i.e. noninfectious inflammatory disease of skin and all other itchy skin conditions.

It is also used in case of headache. A paste applied on forehead helps in relieving headache. Sponging with sandalwood water helps in bringing down temperature in pyrexia due to any reason in addition to freshness.<

In general sandalwood is used as a cooling agent. It is effective medicine in genitourinary troubles and in many skin conditions. It adds to glory and luster of skin and hence used in treatment of skin in beauty parlors very regularly.
By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

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