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Sandalwood is one of the most beloved and highly utilised essential oils in human history. Its sweet, woodsy smell can be instantly identified, and its health benefits are remarkable. But unfortunately, these qualities have created such a fervent demand for Sandalwood that a major environmental problem has developed.
As you source your own sandalwood essential oil for product formulation, it is important to choose with caution and a full knowledge of sandalwood’s history.
Traditional sandalwood, known as East Indian Sandalwood or Santalum album, is grown in India and other Eastern countries. It has been incorporated into religious ceremonies and used for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits since ancient times. In recent years, the demand for East Indian Sandalwood has grown with such intensity that Santalum album has been over-exploited like never before. Immature trees are being cut and harvested, but new trees are not being planted. As a result, East Indian Sandalwood is almost extinct due to unsustainable farming practices.
Much of the East Indian Sandalwood that does circulate the market comes from questionable sources like smugglers or farmers who do not maintain ecologically conscious growing techniques. Sandalwood is referred to as “liquid gold”, and many criminals are eager to take advantage of the high demand by selling fraudulent products cut with other woods or extracted from smuggled sandalwood.
Given the controversial nature of East Indian Sandalwood, the Australian Sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, has been introduced as an ecologically responsible alternative that still offers the woody, earthy, warm aroma that consumers crave in their fragrances, cosmetics, and personal care products. Contact the staff here at Aromatic Ingredients to find out more about Australian Sandalwood.