Monday, December 1, 2008

Santalum album L.

Family : Santalaceae

Synonym(s) : Syrium myrtifolium, Roxb.

English Name : Indian sandalwood


This is a small evergreen tree, sometimes reaching 20 m tall. Sometimes, it grows shrubby or climbing up to 4 m tall; the trunk cylindrical; the bark coarse, greyish-brown to reddish brown; the lower branches sometimes drooping; branchlets slightly angular. The leaves are arranged in opposite pair, with thin stalk; the blades, egg-shaped, lanceolate-elliptic with gradually narrowed top, surface above pale green, whitish beneath. The inflorescences are in terminal panicles or raceme. Flowers are bisexual, bell-shaped, initially yellowish, turning brownish red, with hairs grouped behind the stamens. Fruits are oval in shape, a 1-seeded drupe, with a small apical collar, outside blue to black-red, soft or firm. Seeds are without seed cover or testa.


Commonly occurs in coastal dry forests at sea level and dunes or cliff tops up to 700 m. It normally grows in sandy or stony red soils, but a wide range of soil types are inhabited. This habitat has a temperature range from 0 to 38°C and annual rainfall between 500 and 3000 mm.

Parts Used

Wood, wood chips and powder

Herb Effects

Alterative, antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, hemostatic, refrigerant, sedative, stimulant.

Active Ingredients

4-Vinyl-guatacol, alanine, alpha cucurmene, alpha terpinol, asparagene, beta santalene, beta-sitosterol, borneol, citronellol, eugenol, fructose, geraniol, guaiacol, isoeugenol, linolenic acid, lysine, O-cresol, oleic acid, p-cresol, phenol, serine, sucrose and tannin.

Medicinal Use

Chronic bronchitis, gonorrhoea, gleet, in chronic cystitis, vomiting and stomach-ache, to burns; in fevers and headache (wood paste); against Eberthella typhosa and Escherichia coli, skin troubles (oils).


Powder: 250 mg to 1 g.
Medicated oil Decoction: Boil 1 heaping tsp. wood in I cup water. Take 1 to 2 cups a day, a mouthful at a time.
Tincture: 20 to 40 drops.


Lung congestion, mild skin irritation from topical application of sandalwood oil.

  1. Chopra, 1958, 243; Claus, 1961, 211; I.P.C., 189; Thum- gappa, Indian Perfum., 1968, 12, pt II, 11; Youngken, 286; Wren, 267; George & Pandalai, Essential Oils & Aromatic Chemicals, A Symposium, Coun. Sci. Industr. Res., New Delhi, 1955, 154.

  2. Guenther , V, 183, 185-86; II, 265-69, 79, 112-16, 229, 257, 350, 438, 494, 611; Ghatgey & Bhattacharyya, Perfum. essent. Oil Rec., 1956, 47, 353; Bhati, Flavour Ind., 1970, 1, 235.

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