Saturday, September 26, 2015

Aussie Oils - 7 West Australian Sandalwood Oil

Anyone following Mark Webb in the aroma world, or talking to his previous students, have heard them mention “W A  Sandalwood” AT LEAST once.  For me, it has been the ultimate teaser, the one
thing they still had in Australia that I hadn’t tried.  But that is about to end, as Nature’s Gift just received a shipment of this oil that Webb refers to as “a deliciously sweet balsamic woody scent,” that he loves so much he uses it as his personal scent. (1)
Santalum spicatum R. Br., Western Australian Sandalwood, is a small evergreen tree.  The sapwood is pale, the heartwood dark brown.  The oil is extracted from the heartwood and rootball using solvent extraction and vacuum codistallation. (1)
So what is the difference between this Australian Sandalwood and Sandalwood from other sources?  Webb states that if one were to compare constituents of W A sandalwood with East Indian Sandalwood (S.album) – both are extracted from the heartwood and rootball.  They are chemically similar, both contain alpha and beta santalol, that which provides the distinct “sandalwood” scent.  However, W A Sandalwood oil has higher levels of farnesol and alpha-bisabolol than its East Indian counterpart.  Both have been shown to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.  (1)
                                Comparative Chemical Constituents of S. spicatum and S. album:
                  COMPOUND                                           S. spicatum                                          S. album
          Pre-alpha-santalol compounds                      9-10            
          alpha-santalol                                                21-28                                                      50
         alpha-bisabolol                                                4-5                                                            -
         z-alpha-bergamatol                                         5-6                                                            3
         beta-santalol                                                    24-28                                                       24
          farnesol                                                           4-7                                                             -
          bergamatol – like compounds                      17-24                                                           -
          lanceol – like compounds                              2-3                                                            1
  Steffen Arctander, author of Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, described W A Sandalwood as “soft, woody, extremely tenacious and somewhat balsamic in its delicate sweetness.”  Webb explains that it is that top note that is different from album oil, not as sweet, but a bit resinous like myrrh.  (1)
Image Courtesy of The Paperbark Co.

  Curtin University in Western Australia has done research into the historic use of Western Australia sandalwood oil.  Before the use of penicillin became global in 1946, sandalwood was used in capsules for urinary tract infections and gonorrhea.  Several experiments indicate the anti-microbial effectiveness of Sandalwood.  Some of this experiments specifically cite W A Sandalwood, where as some do not specify which species.  In 1998, W A Sandalwood was shown to be more effective against Candida albicans than Tea Tree.  In 2000, W A Sandalwood showed to have an inhibitory effect against the herpes simplex virus.  (1)
  Traditionally, the antimicrobial attributes have been accredited to the farnesol content, a compound known in floral oils such as Ylang Ylang.  Farnesol makes up 5-10% of the oil content in W A Sandalwood oil.  Promising research indicates other effective uses of this constituent. In 2014, research in São Paulo, Brazil found that Farnesol and geraniol could be promising chemopreventive agents against hepatocarcinogenesis.  Obviously further studies are required, but this is an exciting development.   (2) 
  Santalum spicatum is a known bacteriostat, shown able to hinder the growth of those organisms causing acne and tinea (Stanzl., 1998).   Further investigation of W A Sandalwood’s effectiveness continues.  (1)
  Sydney University research has shown that W A Sandalwood oil has anti-inflammatory properties, supporting traditional use of the oil in this way.  Alpha-bisabolol is accredited for the anti-inflammatory properties of W A Sandalwood oil, ranging in content of 5-10% of the constituent.  In addition, the content of beta-santalene, though normally below 1%, also has anti-inflammatory properties.  Research continues to investigate other historical uses for this wonderful oil.  (1)
    The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration have authorized licensure for the topical and inhaled use of W A Sandalwood.  (1) 
    Robert Tisserand advices of a theoretical drug interaction  between W A Sandalwood and drugs metabolized by the enzyme CYP2D6.  (3)
(1)Mark Webb.  Bush Sense,  Australian Essential Oils and Aromatic Compounds,  Adelaide, Australia:  Griffin Press, 2000. 
(3)  Robert Tisserand/Rodney Young.  Second Edition, Essential Oil Safety:  Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

You may read more about, and order your own Australian Sandalwood here.


Anonymous said...

Have you sampled the S. album that grown in Australia and what is your thought on this matter? Thanks.

Marge said...

Sorry, no I haven't. Will ask Mark about it, and see if he has some he can share in Atlanta. However, since it isn't indigenous to Australia, I think we would do better with the oil from Tamil Nadu, where it IS a native tree.