Drugs A - Z

Sandalwood (Santalum album)

treats Anxiety and Alertness

Generic Name: sandalwood


Herbs & Supplements


Alpha-santalol, beta-santalol, East Indian sandalwood, sandal, sandalwood oil, Santalaceae (family), Santalum album, white sandalwood.

Note: This monograph does not include false sandalwood (Myoporum sanwicense) or red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus).


Endemic in Indonesia, Australia, and the Indian peninsula, the Santalum album tree is the primary source of sandalwood and sandalwood oil. Both are used in Hindu religious ceremonies. In Ayurvedic medicine, East Indian sandalwood is an important remedy for both physical and mental disorders. Sandalwood is also a popular fragrance for incense and perfumes.

There is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of sandalwood for any indication. However, preliminary aromatherapy studies with sandalwood have indicated that it may have anxiolytic (reducing anxiety) and stimulating properties.


DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Alertness: Preliminary study indicates that sandalwood oil may increase alertness; however, more research is needed in this area.
Grade: C

Anxiety: Sandalwood is frequently used in incense and aromatherapy. Early study indicates that sandalwood may reduce anxiety in palliative patients. Additional study is needed in this area.
Grade: C


WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antifungal, insect repellent.


Adults (18 years and older):

There is no proven safe or effective dose for sandalwood.

Children (younger than 18 years):

There is no proven safe or effective dose for sandalwood in children.


DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.


Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to sandalwood (Santalum album) or its constituents. There are reports of sandalwood causing dermatitis and sandalwood oil causing photoallergy.

Side Effects and Warnings

There are very few reports available of sandalwood and related adverse effects. Of the available literature, there are a few cases of allergic reactions, which document dermatitis and photoallergy. Sandalwood is likely safe when 1% sandalwood oil in sweet almond carrier oil is applied to the skin during massage in non-allergic people.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Sandalwood is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

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