Paradoxes of life. Science advances and every day makes our lives easier. But, at the same time, there are natural resources that help relieve ailments, combat stress, relax and impregnate our lives with a special aroma. This is the case of aromatherapy, which uses essential oils from the plant kingdom to extract their juice and place them in glass jars, candles or cosmetics to treat various types of illnesses or to perfume our home. They are cheap, harmless and, above all, natural therapies. Among these essences is sandalwood, an oil that has been extracted from the depths of a bush trunk in India since ancient times and has the power to calm the mind. In fact, it is used by yogis for their meditation practices.
Sandalwood is a medicinal plant that belongs to the Santalum album species. Among its composition stands out the alpha-santalol and beta santalol, substances to which anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic and diuretic properties have been attributed.
This oil has also shown promise for the treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema, common warts, and molluscum contagiosum, according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. The work, conducted by Dr. Ronald L. Moy, notes that its safety profile, ease of topical use, and availability support its therapeutic effect in dermatology.
This ingredient, widely used in Ayurvedic medicine, has other benefits, according to this research:
- Helps repair scars and stretch marks
- Eliminate nail fungus
- Avoid infections
Why does it work as a painkiller?
As we said, sandalwood oil is one of the most used to bring the mind to a state of calm and meditation. This is thanks to the sense of smell which, as Mónica Abella, from Izba Nature, explains, is considered a chemical-sensory system that converts chemical signals into perception and electrical impulses that reach the brain.
The sense of smell, like the sense of taste, is a chemical sense, detecting chemical compounds in the environment, with the difference that the sense of smell works at much longer distances than the sense of taste. The process of smell follows these steps:
- The odor molecules in the form of vapor (chemical compounds) that are floating in the air reach the nostrils and dissolve in the mucus.
- Beneath the mucus, in the olfactory epithelium, specialized receptor cells, also called olfactory receptor neurons (and capable of detecting thousands of different odors), detect odors.
- The olfactory receptor neurons transmit the information to the olfactory bulbs, which are located in the back of the nose.
- The olfactory bulbs have sensory receptors that are actually part of the brain and that send messages directly to the most primitive centers of the brain, where emotions and memories are stimulated (structures of the limbic system) and to “advanced” centers where conscious thoughts are modified. (neocortex).
- These brain centers perceive odors and have access to memories that bring to mind people, places or situations related to these olfactory sensations.
“Once verified that the sense of smell activates our emotions automatically, we can affirm that essential oils are capable of arousing emotions and sensations. They can relax us, activate us, feel desire, although they can also arouse repulsion. That is why they are they award holistic properties”, indicates, for her part, Laura Izquierdo of Izba Nature.
How to use?
Like other types of essential oils, sandalwood can be used with essence diffusers or by boiling water and adding a few drops. You can also apply a few drops of sandalwood oil in the bath to recover from a tiring day or simply to relax.
To soothe irritated or acne-prone skin, there are commercial presentations based on creams or ointments to apply to the skin.
The world of perfumery has not overlooked the benefits of this oil. In fact, it has become a highly valued ingredient, appreciated for its unmistakable aroma of wood.