The Sandalwood species, Santalum album is native to an area from India down to Indonesia. Until recently all Sandalwood oil was distilled from wild trees. However, this became unsustainable due to over harvesting.

Growing Sandalwood trees as a crop presents many challenges. The tree is parasitic, feeding on the roots of several host trees. These host trees have to be grown in tandem. Heat and a good supply of water are essential. The trees cannot be harvested until after between 15 and 30 years. As the trees are of such high value, this represents a major long term security challenge, particularly in poor countries.

In the Kimberley region, rain falls in huge volumes from November to March only. The Ords river turns from a raging torrent to a dry bed. In 1962 and 1973 two dams were built creating large lakes to hold the water and the irrigation zone at Kununurra was established. Many crops have been tried here, with mixed success. The rice got eaten by birds. Sugar cane price collapsed. Cotton got so many diseases that it was abandoned. Melons and mangoes grow well but because it is so far from any centre of population, transport to markets is expensive.

The authorities experimented with growing different crops and eventually they found Sandalwood grew well there – reaching maturity in only 15 years. The climate is suitably hot and there is a continual water supply. Security is less of an issue as the area is hundreds of miles away from anywhere. So now 40% of the irrigation area (circa 10,000 acres) is used for growing Sandalwood. They produced their first harvest in 2014. We now source all our oil from this operation.

Using Sandalwood Oil

As well as supplying pure undiluted Sandalwood, we also offer a blend of Sandalwood 15% in odourless light coconut oil. This allows people to buy Sandalwood inexpensively, but it has one drawback. Being a bass note with a soft quality, Sandalwood from the bottle does not smell very strongly when diluted. In addition, some people do not smell Sandalwood at all. If you cannot smell Sandalwood 15% from the bottle, try putting a drop on the back of your hand. The body heat lifts the aroma nicely.

Adding a few drops of Sandalwood brings a rich mellow quality to any massage or essential oil blend. It has a soothing quality, helping to reduce anxiety. It blends particularly well with rose and frankincense.

Recent research has found that sandalwood oil at dilutions as low as 0.2%, 1-2 drops in 30ml of carrier oil, to be a more effective anti-ageing then Vitamin E. We supply the highest grade of cultivated Santalum album available.