Archive | September 2016

Evergreens & Their Similars

Conifers are favorite trees and their essential oils perform in many formulas, therapeutics and blends — they are widely grown and healing to mind and body.

Evergreens & Their Similars

by Jeanne Rose

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
Abies balsamea

Cedar, Cypress, Juniper, Fir, Pine & Spruce are all evergreen trees whose bark and needles and sometimes wood and cones produce essential oil. They are divided into two main groups; the Pinaceae and the Cupressaceae, that is, the ones used for their needles and the ones used for their woods.

The needle oils are commonly considered useful for respiratory care and for care of the upper, airy parts of the body and it is often said that this is because they come from tall trees whose leaves or needles are touching the sky.  They have refreshing, mind-clearing fragrances that are strong yet somehow salubrious.

When one begins to take a closer look at the evergreen plants and their essential oils, confusion quickly ensues! Totally different trees have the same common name. And as we talk about the plants and their oils individually, you will become increasingly aware of the importance of being educated and informed as an aromatherapy practitioner as well as the importance of purchasing your essential oils from a source that is educated and informed and willing to share information with you. Correct Latin binomials is increasingly important.

I have tried to make this post as clear and understandable as possible, yet when I speak individually about the oils, please remember, you are not the only one who is confused!  The company that sells you the oil may be confused as well.  I highly recommend that you perform your own research.  Collect the Evergreen plants and oils.  Compare the differences in their leaves, barks and cones.  Collect the Evergreen essential oils from various sources and be sure to use the Latin name when labeling the plants and purchasing the essential oils.  Compare the scents using the Basic 7 Vocabulary of Odor© and make a journal of the information you find.  A project such as this will help you at least to understand the confusion, if not to clear some of it up for you.

We have divided the Evergreen trees into 8 parts and given the general common name to each part. This post will be mostly the Pinaceae and soon, in the future, will be a long post about the other family of Conifers, the Cupressaceae:

Family Pinaceae

I. Pinus Pine
II. Picea Spruce
III. Tsuga Hemlock-Spruce & Pseudotsuga False Hemlock
IV. Abies Fir
V. Cedar true type

Folklore: Native American lore says that when the great mystery gave a gift to each species, the young trees were given a task to stay awake for 7 days and watch over the forest, the trees fell asleep species by species leaving only the young conifers that were so excited that they could not fall asleep. By the 7th night the only trees left awake were the Fir, Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Holly and Laurel. The great mystery was very happy, “What wonderful endurance you have” and gave them the gift of forever remaining green – thus the Evergreens. They were proclaimed the guardians of the forest and given exceptional healing qualities.

Family Cupressaceae

VI. Juniperus Cedar-wood & Juniper
VII. Cupressus Cypress & Chamaecyparis
VIII. Thuja

PINACEAE ~ Atlas Cedarwood EO, Deodar Cedarwood EO, Siberian Fir EO, Balsam  Fir absolute, Balsam Fir EO, Silver Fir EO, Maritime Fir EO, Scotch Fir EO, Sylvestris Fir EO, Pinyon Pine EO, Black Spruce, Douglas-Fir EO •
CUPRESSACEAE ~ Cypress Leaf EO, Blue Cypress  woodEO, Virginia Cedar wood EO, Juniper Leaf EO, Juniper Berry EO, Juniper Berry CO2

Taxonomy of the Conifers

Subdivision: GYMNOSPERMAE   (ovules naked, resinous wood in concentric rings)
Class: CONIFERAE  & Taxaceae    (cone-bearers), (yew-like)

conifer_cone-pinaceae-copyPinaceae – a conifer cone

Family: Pinaceae  (resinous trees or shrubs, cone scales numerous and woody or thin)
Genera include:
Pinus (Pine)
Larix (Larch or True Tamaracks)
Picea (Spruce)
Tsuga (Hemlock-Spruce)
Pseudotsuga (False Hemlock)
Abies (Firs or Balsam Trees)
Cedrus (True Cedars)


Family: Cupressaceae   (resinous trees or shrubs, cone scales are few and spiral or opposite)
Genera include:
Thuja (Arbor vita or “Cedars”)
Chamaecyparis (True Cypress)
Cupressus (True Cypress)
Juniperus (Junipers or “Cedars”)
Sequoia (Redwood and Big Trees)


In group I. we find the Pinus species in the family Pinaceæ.

There is only confusion amongst users of essential oils in that family Pinaceæ includes a variety of trees with interchangeable common names such as: Spruces, Pines, Cedars, the Turpentine pines, and other plants that are often considered Cypress, Juniper or Spruce. Briefly, family Pinaceæ includes:

Pinus – Scotch Pine and others

SprucePicea species such as the Norway Spruce (Picea abies) and Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Hemlocks – Tsuga canadensis and T. heterophylla

False HemlockPseudotsuga douglasii  the Douglas-Fir

Fir –  Abies sibirica the Siberian Fir, Abies balsamea the Balsam Fir, and Abies alba, the Silver Fir

 Cedars – Cedrus atlantica , Atlas Cedarwood


coastal-pine-big-sur-jr  Coastal Pine – Big Sur -JeanneRose photo

Group I. Pinus (Pines)

Trees of the Genus Pinus have leaves that are persistent and of two kinds , the primary ones are linear or scale-like, and deciduous.  The secondary ones form the ordinary foliage and are narrowly linear, arising from the axils of the primary leaves in bunches of 1-5 leaf clusters enclosed at the base in a membranous sheath.

Mainly the trees that produce the essential oil called Pine oil are Pinus mugo (Dwarf Pine), Pinus palustris (Long Leaf Pine) and Pinus sylvestris (Scotch Pine).

            Pinus mugo , Dwarf Pine Needle is harvested in the Swiss Alps. It is sturdy and shrub-like and is protected by the Swiss government and is harvested according to particular rules only at certain elevations. This oil has a particularly pungent odor reminiscent of both a bark and needle oil and in fact entire branches including the needles are finely chopped up and thrown into the still for the essential oil. This combination of bark and needle make up an oil that is both airy and grounding. Components of Dwarf Pine Needle include l-a Pinene, b-Pinene, l-Limonene and Sesquiterpenes, Pumiliol, etc.

              In Europe, this plant is used for diseases of the skin and scalp and particularly at healing spas where it is inhaled for ailments of the respiratory organs, including pleurisy and tuberculosis. This is a powerful adjunct in the therapies for all sorts of ear, nose, throat and lung disorders.

            Pinus pinaster the Maritime Pine, contains Mono- and Sesquiterpenes. It is a powerful antiseptic used to disinfect the air locally. Good for chronic bronchitis, chronic cystitis, and anti-inflammatory for the lungs. Can be used externally in massage blends for rheumatism or aching joints. A particular chemotype of Pinus pinaster contains large quantities of terebenthine which is composed of 62% a-Pinene and 27% b-Pinene. This oleo-resin is used as a powerful expectorant, antiseptic, and to oxygenate the air. Indicated for infections of the respiratory system. It is used in hot water for steam inhaling treatments. Mainly used as an aerosol treatment but with possible allergies if used externally.

         Pinus palustris , Long Leaf Pine, Turpentine (See also Terebinth) is a tall, evergreen, up to 150 feet with attractive, reddish-brown, deeply fissured bark with long, stiff needles that grow in pairs. Is used mainly for the distillation of American gum sprits of Turpentine. This is a tall, evergreen tree native to the Southeast United States. The main component is Terpineol. It has been considered a powerful antiseptic spray and disinfectant, especially in veterinary medicine.  It has mainly external use as a massage for arthritis, muscular aches and pains and stiffness, and in the past, natural Turpentine was often inhaled for asthma and bronchitis.  This has been much used in commercial industry to manufacture paint, but has now been largely replaced by synthetic Pine oil (synth. Turpentine).

            Pinus sylvestris, Scotch Pine, Norway Pine is  a tall, evergreen, up to 150 feet with attractive, reddish-brown, deeply fissured bark with long, stiff needles that grow in pairs. The essential oil is produced mainly in the Baltic states. The components are greatly influenced by geographical origin and consist mainly of Monoterpenes, Pinene, some Limonene.  Pinus sylvestris is considered to have hormone-like, cortisone-like qualities. It is indicated for convalescence, inhaled for bronchitis, sinusitis, and asthma. and is used to tone the respiratory system, balance the hypothalamic/pancreas axis as well as the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal). It is a hypertensive, tonic stimulant.

The Difference between Firs and Spruces …
= Think about Abies the genus and then A is for amiable (soft feel) or Abies and common name Fir is for friendly [Abies has needles that are soft to touch and aren’t sticky and needles when pulled leave a Flat scar].
SPRUCE = Picea and the P is for prickly and S is for Spruce is for spiky. [Picea for prickly needles, Peg-like scar when pulling off a needle and Spruce for spiky feel]

The second group of trees of the Pinaceae family are generally called Spruce trees.  Some Spruce trees also have the common name of Fir.


picea-spruce-copyPicea spp.

Group II. Picea (Spruce)

Genera Picea leaves are linear, often obtuse or emarginate base of leaves persistent on the branches.  The leaves are needles and are sessile, 4-sided, or flattened and stomatiferous.

            Spruce trees which are of the Genera Picea, family Pinaceæ, are conical trees with linear short 4-sided leaves spreading in all directions, jointed at the base to a short persistent sterigmata, on which they are sessile, falling away in drying, the bare twigs appearing covered with low, truncate projections.  The leaf buds are scaly.  Cones are ovoid to oblong, obtuse, pendulous, their scales numerous, spirally arranged, thin, obtuse, persistent.

            Essential oil of Black Spruce (Picea mariana) has much value in the respiratory system. The components include 55% Monoterpenes, including Camphene, a-Pinene, g-Bornyl acetate, etc. The properties are hormone-like, possibly stimulating the thymus gland and with cortisone-like properties that affect the HPA (hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal) axis. Picea mariana  (Black Spruce) Grows in Quebec, Canada. Components also include Monoterpenes, including a-Pinene and g-3-Carene, and Sesquiterpenes.  Indicated for bronchitis; internal parasites and an antifungal for candida; prostatitis; solar plexus spasms; asthenic conditions; excellent for sudden fatigue or exhaustion.  A general tonic for the entire system and indicated as well for excessive thyroid function. Possibly this oil is extremely valuable inhaled for asthmatics who take corticosteroids.

            Picea alba  (White Spruce)  has the same chemical components as Black Spruce. Both White and Black Spruce contain Tricyclene. Uses of these oils are: included in Cedar blends for technical preparations, room sprays, deodorants.

       Picea excelsa  Norway Spruce. Young twigs and leaves are steam distilled in the Tyrol valley.  Chemical composition is mainly Pinene, Phellandrene and Dipentene, etc.  Norway Spruce has a very fragrant odor and it is used in all sorts of Pine-scented compositions, bath salts, room sprays, etc.

 Picea abies, Norway Spruce 

 Picea glauca, Blue Spruce



Tsuga canadensis

Group III.  … Tsuga (Hemlock-Spruce)
                            Pseudotsuga (False Hemlock)

Tsuga (Hemlocks)    … Leaves of the Genera Tsuga are stalked, flattened and stomatiferous below, or angular, often appearing 2-ranked. Hemlock-Spruces include Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock), Tsuga heterophylla (the Western Hemlock also called Gray-Fir or Alaskan-Pine) and sometimes the Black-Spruce and White-Spruce. These trees have slender horizontal or drooping branches, flat narrowly linear scattered short-petioled leaves, spreading and appearing 2-ranked, jointed to very short sterigmata and falling away in drying.  The leaf-buds are scaly.  Hemlocks are widely known in North America. These trees are tall evergreens with horizontal branches and finely toothed leaves. The young branches and leaves are steam distilled.  Production is normally in the Northeastern part of United States.

Tsuga canadensis, Common Hemlock

Tsuga Heterophylla, Prince Albert-Fir or Western Hemlock

Pseudotsuga (False Hemlock)… The base of the leaves of trees of the Pseudotsuga Genera are not persistent on the branches.  The leaves often appear 2-ranked, are stalked, flattened, stomatiferous below; winter-buds are pointed, not resinous. I have written about Douglas-Fir at


            Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga douglasii) also (P. Menziesii) is native to the West Coast of the United States and is now grown elsewhere. It is a  tall, attractive evergreen Fir tree, much used in the Christmas tree industry.  If you diffuse this oil in late November and early December you are sure to inspire the “Christmas spirit” in even the most grouchy of scrooges!  It is a wonderful oil to wake up to at that particular time of year.  The leaves are steam distilled to create the essential oil whose components vary considerably. The French oil contains large quantities of ß-Pinene and smaller amounts of Citronellyl acetate and ß-Phellandrene. Douglas Fir essential oil is strongly antiseptic and indicated for respiratory infections. It can be  used as a local disinfectant. This is one of the most lemon-scented of the Firs, with a powerful sweet, fresh, refreshing odor, well-liked as a room refresher or scent in soap blends.

              Pseudotsuga taxifolia: Turpentine oil from Pseudotsuga taxifolia. is actually an oleo resin produced in the crevices of the tree trunk. On S-D it produces up to 35% the volatile oil, which is composed of up to 55 % l-a-Pinene, etc. Turpentine is used commercially in technical preparations


abies-grandis-foliage2-copyAbies grandis

Group IV. Abies (the True Firs)

In this group we find the common name of Firs from the Family Pinaceæ  and these include a variety of trees called Fir. The Firs are distributed worldwide and are coniferous trees with pyramid shapes. The essential oil is generally steam distilled from small twigs and needles. The base of the leaves of this group of trees is not persistent on the branches.  The leaves often appear 2-ranked but are actually spirally arranged.  The leaves are sessile, flattened and often grooved on the upper side or quadrangular, rarely stomatiferous above and on the upper fertile branches they are often crowded.  The winter-buds are obtuse and resinous.

The Difference between Firs and Spruces …
= Think about Abies the genus and then A is for amiable (soft feel) or Abies and common name Fir is for friendly [Abies has needles that are soft to touch and aren’t sticky and needles when pulled leave a Flat scar].
SPRUCE = Picea and the P is for prickly and S is for Spruce is for spiky. [Picea for prickly needles, Peg-like scar when pulling off a needle and Spruce for spiky feel]

            Turpentine oil is produced from Pseudotsuga taxifolia as well as from Abies balsamea  called Canada Balsam Fir. This product is also a true turpentine because it consists of both resin and volatile oil. Component is principally l-a-Pinene.

            Abies balsamea is Balsam Fir. It contains up to 90% Monoterpenes. It is antiseptic and antispasmodic and is inhaled for the respiratory system.

           Abies siberica  is Balsam Fir and is grown widely in Russia. Its chief constituent, 40%, is l-Bornyl acetate. Its properties are antispasmodic and used for bronchitis and asthma.

            Abies alba, White Fir contains 95% Monoterpenes. It is an antiseptic; inhaled for respiratory problems. In addition, Abies alba produces a cone oil with a very pleasant balsamic odor consisting chiefly of l-Limonene and used as an adjunct in all Pine needle scents.

           Abies sachalinensis, Abies mariana

There are Pine needle oils that are actually Firs.  They  are commonly called Japanese-Pine Needle. They contain mainly l-Limonene and Sesquiterpenes. Primarily used for respiratory inhalations and for scenting of soap.


cedrus-deodara-copyCedrus deodara

Group IV. Cedrus (True Cedars)

            The Cedrus Genera has needles arranged singly on growing shoots in tufts often called “whorls”.  There are often 10-20 needles arranged in one tuft.  The Cedrus Genera have upright cones like the Abies, but the cones disintegrate after two years.

             Cedar leaf oils are in general used externally, well diluted for skin conditions and dandruff, fungal infections and hair loss, and inhaled in blends for the respiratory system. Cedar oils are sometimes  contraindicated for people who are prone to high blood pressure and heart problems and should be avoided by people with sensitive skin. This may be because they are confused with other genera with the common name of Cedar. But true Cedar oils are normally not a problem.

          Oil from the wood of Cedrus atlantica, Atlas Cedar, from the Pinaceæ family contains up to 80% Sesquiterpenes and Sesquiterpenols. Its properties are an arterial regenerative and a lymphotonic. It aids in the removal of body fat, and is used externally for cellulite and the retention of fluid in the tissue as well as being indicated for artherosclerosis.  Atlas Cedar is a good oil for the medicine chest because it is used for the respiratory system; a single drop in a half cup water to gargle for sore throat; or with a two drops of Eucalyptus in a steaming bowl of water to reduce nasal and lung congestion.  This would be a good oil to use in a home-made vapor salve, something like “Vicks Vapo-Rub” for relief of lung and nasal congestion.  It can be added to shampoos or facial washes to reduce oily secretions.  It is also used as a fixative in the perfume industry.

        Cedrus deodara , called Himalayan Cedarwood, from the Pinaceæ family contains a quantity of Sesquiterpenes and is very close to Atlas Cedarwood both scent and organoleptic qualities and could be substituted in a number of cases. It regenerates the arterial system,  and, like Atlas is a lymphotonic and is  indicated for cellulite and water retention.

       Both Himalayan and Atlas Cedarwood are considered by some to be contraindicated for children and pregnant women because they are considered neurotoxic and abortive. In some books, this oil is neurotoxic and abortive so should not be used for children and pregnant women. However, I believe that this is incorrect.


Confusion in the Name Cedar


            Cedar is a common name used for a variety of plants from both family Pinaceæ and family Cupressaceæ. Here we encounter the confusion that common names create.  There are many types of Cedar trees: true Cedars from the Genus Cedrus and other trees which are actually from other Genera, yet have the common name of Cedar.   True Cedar, of the Genera Cedrus, is from the Pinaceae family.  There are some trees from the Cupessaceæ family which are called Cedars but when you look at their Latin binomials you will see that they are Junipers or Thujas. True Cedars from family Pinaceæ include Atlas Cedarwood, Deodar Cedarwood and Lebanon Cedarwood.  From family Cupressaceæ: Port Orford-Cedar, Hinoki- Cedar, Virginia-Cedar, Texas-Cedar, and others from the Juniper clan of this group of trees.  Remember, the trees called Cedar from the Cupressaceæ family are not true Cedars.  So I recommend, again, remember essential oils by their Latin binomial.  This way, you will know for sure from which plant your oil comes.

         Another point to be aware of when using Cedar oils is whether you are using the oil of the leaf or the wood.  Awareness of the part of the plant the oil is coming from is just as important as awareness of which Cedar the oil is coming from.   If an oil is simply labeled Cedar, how are you to know what this oil is and how it can be used safely?  All essential oils should be labeled with their Latin binomial, common name, country of origin and part of the plant used.  Although if you look at your collection of essential oils at home or in stores, you will see that this is rarely the case.

Source: I am especially fond of the essential oils that are sold by Eden Botanicals. I find them to be of excellent quality and lovely scent.



•Britton, Lord and Hon. Addison Brown • An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Vol. II • (New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1970.)
•Franchomme, P. and Pénoël, Docteur D • L’Aromatherapie Exactement • (Limoges, France: Roger Jollois Editeur, 1990.)
•Guenther, Ernest, Ph.D. • The Essential Oils • (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company 1976) (original edition 1952.) (in VI volumes)
•Rose, Jeanne • The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations • (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 3rd edition, 1994.)
Rose, Jeanne • 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols • (San Francisco, CA: Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy, 3rd edition, 1994
*Sudworth, George B. • Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope • (New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1967.)
*Tutin, Heywood, Burgers, Moore, Valentine, Walters and Webb, Editors •  Flora Europea, Vol 4 • (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1976.)


Do not Ingest essential oils: Although some oils are important flavoring oils in the flavor industry and thus ingested in very small amounts in many foods, especially meats and sausages, it is not a good idea to use them yourself either in capsules or honey to take internally.

Safety Precautions: Do not apply the essential oil neat, especially to the underarms or delicate parts of the body. Most oils are probably not to be used on babies, children or pregnant women. Many aromatherapist suggest that there are some oils not be used at all. However, as with many plants, essential oil chemistry is subject to change depending on species and terroir.

Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies – Jeanne Rose©



East Indian Sandalwood EO Profile

Santalum album ~ the organoleptic quality, aroma assessment and therapeutic uses, from S. album from Australia and India. Specific information and many recipes for use.


East Indian Sandalwood

By Jeanne Rose

 screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-9-25-50-amFigure 1. Santalum album grown in Australia and S. album grown in India

Common Name/ Latin Name/ Country of Origin ~ Sandalwood or Santal from various species of Santalum.  There are many species, that are currently used and distilled for their essential oil S. album L. — Indian sandalwood, white sandalwood, or chandana (India Indonesia, northern Australia); I examined two, S. album grown in Australia and S. album Rare that was grown in India.


Portion of the plant used in distillation, how it’s distilled, extracted and yields: The heartwood is distilled from the mature tree.  However, the tree takes 60-80 years to mature and because harvesting has exceeded the planting and maturing of fresh crop, it is becoming endangered. The heartwood is chipped and steam-distilled sometimes over another plant. Yield is 4-6.5%.

            This is a hemi-parasitic tree and requires one or more host plants by which it obtains nutrition through the roots. The roots attach themselves to the roots of other trees, sucking nutrients from their host and causing the other trees to perish.

Endangered or not The sandalwood tree has now become endangered due to overharvesting, greatly limiting supply and hence use. This is truly unfortunate. When you consider that in 1957 the world population was 2.8 billion and now it is about 6 billion it is pretty clear that with more people there is more demand for precious essential oils and commodities. I believe that we have to grow more but each of us must use less as each and every one of us is responsible for the damage to the planet by over-exploitation and desire. In regards to the pirates who are cutting ad stealing Sandalwood trees in India, Tony Burfield said in 2004, “The Sandalwood tree is being smuggled out of existence.”


Sandalwood Distillation

Step one in the custom distillation of Sandalwood heartwood. First you need a two-day soak in water. Try at least 500 grams. to be distilled in a small 20 liter (21 quarts) still. and distilled 2-3 days’ oil if carried out at a pressure of 30-40 psig, to produce the crude oil. The first 2-5% of “sandalwood terpenes” are rejected and then often redistilled. For those persons interested, distillation for Sandalwood is often considered best in the correct corresponding planetary hours maybe on a waning moon.

sandalwood-soakingFigure 2. Sandalwood soaking in water prior to distillation


Aging and Storage of Sandalwood: The wood can be stored indefinitely just as other wood and other essential oils are stored in dark, lightproof, airtight containers, glass preferred. However, that being said, I have some Sandalwood chips I purchased over 40 years ago that I stored in a paper bag in the dark basement that seems just fine with the delicious warm, woody odor intact. I have also pulled out all my old samples and bottles of Sandalwood essential oil, dusty as they are and as old as they are, they are somewhat more viscous but the scent has held up over all these years.

            Sandalwood ages well. The essential oil should be kept in a tightly sealed airtight container, glass, and in a cool, dark place such as a basement that has an ambient temperature of 50-55°. The refrigerator is not the place to store good Sandalwood oil.


Organoleptic ~ As a learning aid study the organoleptic qualities of essential oils. This is a method to help assist in describing and determining the quality of the essential oil that you are studying by involving the use of the sense organs for evaluation. These qualities are what you perceive through your senses; that is, what you can see, taste and smell as a degree of intensity. There is more to essential oil than its odor. Santalum album Rare from India (Eden Botanicals) had a very pale yellow tint, was clear, semi-viscous, with an intensity rating of 2 (1-10 with 10 being the most intense) and a oily unctuous taste tending to bitter. S. album Plantation grown in Australia was also a very pale yellow tint, clear, semi-viscous and with an intensity of 2-3, just slightly more intense than the Sandalwood grown in India and also an oily unctuous taste that was bitter.

Aroma Assessment ~ Language is important in recognizing smells.  An important part of scent training is to develop in common odor language based on olfactory standards.  The possession of such an odor language increases the powers of discrimination. If you can name it, you own it.

            I have noticed that Sandalwood Oil does not smell the same as in years past. The scent has changed due to several factors: 1) some product makers are using synthetic or partially synthetic oils and 2) because all botanical products change and alter depending on the season and the year. Try tasting Olive oil from one season to the next.

All the Sandalwoods I examined (10) were smooth and unctuous and were predominantly woody; with subsidiary notes. S. album Rare from India was most evocative of the scent that I knew 50 years ago, woody and floral with hay back note. The S. album plantation grown from Australia was also woody, floral and hay and marine back notes.   


The right nostril processes navigational related odors. And people favor the right nostril when detecting and evaluating the intensity of odors, hinting at a broader olfactory asymmetry. So if you are lost and wish to get home or wish to know the intensity of a scent, sniff the air with the right side. Left nostril smells the scent and right side nostril smells the intensity.

Smell left, smell right and then waft to get the entire scent experience.


Best method of application for Indian Sandalwood. Personally I use Indian Sandalwood ritually in meditation. For me it is calming and uplifting and helpful in overall well-being. The S. album Rare from India is both stimulating and grounding and I use it in meditation for opening that part of my being that is the seat of power and wisdom. According to the Vamana Purana, the wood is recommended for worshipping God Shiva. Goddess Lakshmi is believed to reside in the Sandalwood tree.


Which Sandalwood is best and which is the most therapeutic? The most therapeutic of these various Sandalwoods is the one that you enjoy more than the others. If you can inhale one with a significant amount of santalol — enjoy its benefits and use the others for application.


Collective information:


  • Body Care ~ such as a Sore throat. This is often another unpleasant symptom of a cold or flu, for which gargles are quite effective. For a dry throat that needs soothing, use two drops each of Sandalwood (Santalum album) and Lemon in half a glass of warm water. For sore throat due to coughing up of mucus, use Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) and Eucalyptus. In each case, continue gargling every few hours.


  • Emotional Care ~ For Depression (I can’t do anything, I will never do anything) ~ 10 drops each of Bergamot, Geranium, Grapefruit, Orange peel, Sandalwood and 3 drops of Ylang-Ylang Extra. Mix these together and put into a 1-dram vial. Inhale as needed.


  • Hair Care ~ The uncomfortable Scalp itch can be mitigated by massaging oils with a formula of essential oils into the scalp. Use 9 drops each of Black Spruce and Rosemary + 2 drops of Sandalwood (20 drops to 2 oz. of almond oil). Massage into scalp, put on a cap and sleep in it overnight. In the morning you can wash your hair.


  • Perfume ~ In perfumery some oils like Sandalwood take days to dry down making them a significant contribution to a long lasting perfume. Here is a scent that I enjoy. It is called Sensual Floral/Wood and is made with 100 ml floral water, with the added essential oils of 40 drops Orange or Clementine, 30 drops Sandalwood, 10 drops Neroli, 10 drops Rose, 6 drops Champa or Ylang, 4 drops other Floral. Use the formula as an after-bath or shower spray, or mist lightly on pillows and sheets. Wonderful as a room spray.


  • Skin Care ~ such as a Skin Itch from Chemotherapy

Calophyllum inophyllum 25-30 drops
Chamomile, Roman 5 drops
Rose distilled 2 drops
Rosewood 8 drops
Sandalwood East Indian 8 drops
Add the above to 2 oz. cream or with Calendula Infused Oil and apply as needed.


  • Sexual Blend for Men. This is for (premature ejaculation and to balance the autonomic nervous system) and is recommended by Victoria Edwards. Mix together 10 drops Bergamot EO, 2 drops Blue Tansy or Blue Cypress EO, 6 drops Sandalwood EO, 3 drops Lemon EO and 2 oz. (60 ml) carrier oil; Massage on lower body, especially around the groin area and just before sex.


  • Sandalwood (literature) is also mentioned in many books such as this quote from Hannibal by Thomas Harris “Here the air was music. Here were pale tears of Frankincense awaiting extracting, yellow Bergamot, Sandalwood, Cinnamon and Mimosa in concert, over the sustaining ground notes of genuine ambergris, civet, castor from the beaver, and essence of the musk deer.”


  • Woman’s Oil ~. Use 10 drops of Spikenard and Sandalwood as an inhalant to balance and harmonize your spirit. It is amazing how relaxing and focusing this simple remedy can be and all you need to do is inhale it.

An Amazing Jeanne Rose Tomato Tale story ~ I have loved this oil since 1960 and chose it and the Sandalwood fans as a scent. During my pregnancy in 1964 I would use the Sandalwood soap and when Amber was born, I kept at least one of her blankets in a bag with thin Sandalwood wood chips that were the size of a business card to add the scent to the ‘blankies’. Later, in 1969, when I started New Age Creations my skin care company, I used the cut and sifted wood chips with Rose and Clove as a potpourri, sleep pillow and the essential oil in lotions and products for Amber and I. To this day it is a scent that Amber prefers above all others.


Safety Considerations for Sandalwood oil: No contraindications, but may cause adverse skin reaction; a maximum use level of 2% is recommended in any product. Dilute before using. A patch test should be performed before use for those with sensitive skin.

Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64

For an in-depth discussion of all the Sandalwood oils please read my blog post


Fig. 11. Sandalwood and oil



Hawaiian & New Caledonia Sandalwood

Specific information on Sandalwood from Hawaii, S. paniculatum and S. austrocaledonicum ~ the organoleptic quality, aroma assessment and therapeutic uses.

Hawaiian & New Caledonia Sandalwood

By Jeanne Rose

fig-1-sandalwood-hawaii-circleFigure 1.

In 1898, David Malo wrote Hawaiian Antiquities which was written in Hawaiian and published by the Bishop Museum. In this book Malo detailed the culture of the people of Hawaii and the uses of Hawaiian plants. His only comment on Hawaiian Sandalwood is this, “the sandalwood, ili-ahi has a fragrant wood which is of great commercial value at the present time.” Later on in an editor’s comment that Sandalwood was use to impart an agreeable odor to tapa.

         In Gardens of Hawaii by Marie C. Neal, 1948; Sandalwood is mentioned as a valuable source of wood and for essential oil, medicine and incense and that it grew very well in certain areas.

For more information on Sandalwood in general, please see the previous blog post at

“In the early 19th century, Santalum paniculatum and three other Hawaiian endemic species of sandalwood were severely over-harvested for the commercial export of their fragrant heartwood. Due to the slow growth of these trees and continued human disturbance, this species is uncommon in the native forests of Hawai`i.” —

Hawaiian Sandalwood Oil, Santalum species – Organoleptic Qualities:

— — — — — — — — Santalum paniculatum and Santalum austrocaledonicum
Aroma Assessment:
         They are the same but slightly different. Smell each one, and look at the chart, “Circular Odor Profile (at the end of article) and in particular look at the back notes as this will give you an idea of the difference in the odors. If you have an opportunity, try to smell several Sandalwoods from trustworthy sources (and all are not trustworthy) and then choose your favorite from these and for the purpose that you want. [P.S. I only mention EO’s from a company that I personally trust]

When you inhale for emotional release you might want to use a different EO than the one to use as a deodorant or a perfume ingredient. So try them and choose your favorite.

See the charts at the end of the article for scent comparison.

 Growth: Sandalwoods are a hemi-parasite, entwining their roots with the roots of a host and deriving nourishment in this way.
The EO concentration and quality depends on the age of the tree and where on the tree the heartwood is collected. Heartwood percentage, oil concentration and oil quality were all lower as you go up the tree. Studies are being done continuously on Sandalwood oils and often the concentration of santalol is lower in S. spicatum (Australia) than other species but this is changing due to the collection of seeds from stands that have a higher percentage of santalol.

In Hawaii, Sandalwood grows twice as fast and also comes to maturity more quickly than other Sandalwoods, 20 years instead of 40-50.

Chemistry: Four commercial qualities of Hawaiian sandalwood oil produced from wood of Santalum paniculatum originating from the island of Hawaii (“The Big Island”) were analyzed using GC and GC-MS. Main constituents of the oils were (Z)-α-santalol (34.5-40.4%) and (Z)-β-santalol (11.0-16.2%).4  

Commercial Uses: Timber used to make fragrant furniture such as tables or boxes or storage containers or fans, and chips for potpourris especially with dried native flowers or leaves such as maile. Much of the essential oil is shipped out of state to countries such as India or China.

Uses: The properties are anti-inflammatory, lightly anti-bacterial, anti-parasite and for healing.

Therapeutic Uses: Hawaiian Sandalwood is not used exactly the same as Santalum album.  In Hawaii the leaves and bark called `iliahi were used to treat dandruff and hair nits by early Hawaiians. Hawaiian healers are also reported to have used wood shavings in a maceration and application of `iliahi to treat venereal disease and skin sores.

            Application. In skin products using Hawaiian sandalwood oil can help smooth the skin and reduce the look of blemishes and scars. It can be used in hair care for shiny healthy hair.
           Inhalation. The essential oil has been used as an inhalant as a tonic for cardiovascular support and as an ingredient in skin care formulas.

Personal Uses (Tomato Tales and Other Stories): During the time that I have been writing about the Sandalwoods, I have kept a bottle near every place where I work; in the office, in the library, in the perfumery and near my bed. I have been inhaling the luscious odor of Sandalwood from India, Hawaii and Australia. I suffer from heart disease and that seriously compromises my ability to breathe easily. Recently I notice that I am feeling better and actually being more active. I am not saying that inhaling Sandalwood will cure heart disease but I have certainly found out that it makes one feel so much better. Inhaling has also improved the look of my skin.  I will be making it a daily practice to inhale the Hawaiian Sandalwood for my heart and skin, applying the Indian Santalum album on my forehead for relaxation and using the Australian type to massage the heart area. Different ones for different purposes. —JR2016

Sandalwood Information: Please see the article on Sandalwood for other species and their uses at

Aromatic Plant Project Articles.
4.Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Sep; 9(9):1365-8.
Hawaiian sandalwood: oil composition of Santalum paniculatum and comparison with other sandal species. Braun NA, Sim S, Kohlenberg B, Lawrence BM.

Source to purchase oil:
Eden Botanicals and other places of your choosing.


Figure 2-1. Odor Assessment of S. paniculatum – Royal Hawaiian




2-2. S. austrocaledonicum from EB




Figure 2-3. Odor Assessment of S. austrocaledonicum SD NC, EXtra EB, ,
2-4 S. austrocaledonicum ABS ~ unknown  source




Australian Sandalwood Profile

Some specific information on the organoleptic quality, aroma assessment and therapeutic uses of Australian Sandalwood, Santalum spicatum.

Australian Sandalwood

By Jeanne Rose


West Australian Sandalwood Oil, Santalum spicatum, can be a good substitute for Indian Sandalwood. In this era, where we know that Sandalwood oil from India, Santalum album, is an endangered species; it may be time to switch to a new essential oil. West Australian Sandalwood has a similar woody odor, physically a similar effect to Indian Sandalwood oil and can be used in perfumery. It would also help the Australian economy.

For more information on Sandalwood in general, please see the previous blog post at


Organoleptic Qualities: It is colorless to pale yellow, clear, semi-viscous oil with a low intensity and a bitter taste. When used in perfumery it has a lovely woody tenacity that holds the perfume together for an extended time.

 Aroma Assessment: I have had the opportunity to smell Australian Sandalwood, S. spicatum from several sources as well as assessing the odor of S. album grown in Australia. These oils are the same with some slight differences. If you look at the Figure 2 you will note that this oil has a Predominant note of Wood with Subsidiary notes of Floral and sweet Hay and the Back notes include Green, Leather, Oily/Fatty, Honey, Amber, and Caramel. The unctuous scent is described as Oily/Fatty. This EO has a bit of a different scent than other S. spicatum.

Another oil I sampled, had a Predominant note of Wood, Subsidiary note of Floral while lacking the slightly sweetness of Hay, with Back notes that included a slight Citrus, Green again, Oily/Fatty and this time a slight Civet scent with Caramel.

Both are the same but slightly different. If you have an opportunity, try to smell several Sandalwoods from trustworthy sources (and all are not trustworthy) and then choose your favorite from these and for the purpose that you want. [p.s.. I only mention EO’s from a company that I personally trust].

Inhalation for emotional release might be a different EO than the one to use as a deodorant or a perfume ingredient. So try them and choose your favorite.

 Growth: Sandalwood trees are a hemi-parasite, entwining their roots with the roots of a host and deriving nourishment in this way. In Australia, S. spicatum main host is Acacia acuminata which will sustain the Sandalwood tree from 15-30 years. It grows in semi-arid areas but land clearing for agriculture and over cultivation, since the 1880s, has greatly reduced the range of the species.

The EO concentration and quality depends on the age of the tree and where on the tree the heartwood is collected. Heartwood percentage, oil concentration and oil quality were all lower further up the tree. Studies are being done continuously and often the concentration of santalol is lower in S. spicatum than other species but this is changing due to the collection of seeds from stands that have a higher percentage of santalol.

Commercial Australian sandalwood oil produced from Santalum spicatum (R. Br.) A. DC. roots were analyzed using GC and GC/MS. Seventy constituents were identified: four monoterpenes, 64 sesquiterpenes and two others were found to our knowledge for the first time in nature.4.

            Constituents of Santalum spicatum (R.Br.) A. BC. wood oil Article in Journal of Essential Oil Research 3(6):381-385 · November 1991. DOI: 10.1080/10412905.1991.9697970

            Abstract The chemical composition of the steam-distilled wood oil of Santalum spicatum was investigated by means of GC/MS. The major constituents of the entirely sesquiterpenoid oil were trans, trans-farnesol (31.6%), epi-α-bisabolol (anymol?) (10.7%), α-santalol (9.1%), Z-nuciferol (6.5%), cis-β-santalol (5.4%), cis-lanceol (3.9%) and epi-β-santalol (2.9%).5.

Commercial Uses:
The tree is grown as a source of essential oil, much of which is exported, the nuts which are a food crop and timber used to make furniture and boxes and in incense.

Therapeutic Uses:
The common name is fragrant Sandalwood Tree, Santalum spicatum. In a test of many essential oils, Australian Sandalwood Oil demonstrated the greatest degree of anti-microbial efficacy. The bacteriostatic effect of Australian Sandalwood Oil, in relation to Staphylococcus aureus, was 25 times greater than that of Tea Tree Oil and demonstrated the greatest degree of bacteriostatic activity against the yeast Candida albicans. European research confirms that Australian Sandalwood Oil kills bacteria, in vitro, against many gram-positive organisms, including Staphylococcus aureus, (and MRSA or ‘Golden Staph’) and many species of Streptococcus, in addition to the organisms that are responsible for acne, thrush, tinea, Athletes Foot and ringworm. The concentration of oil required to inhibit the growth of all bacteria (except Escherichia coli) was very low, confirming a significant bacteriostatic effect. So it is an excellent ingredient in all skin care formulas where it will also add a fine woody scent.

The organism that is apparent in human body odor, Corynebacterium xerosis is strongly inhibited by  Australian Sandalwood and thus would be useful in deodorant formulas. With all bacteria except the enterobacteria, Sandalwood oil demonstrated significantly greater antimicrobial efficacy than terpinene-4-ol, the main component of Tea tree oil.

I have experimented with this oil and found a simple and easy Deodorant formula. First, I add 5% Blue Cypress to the Sandalwood oil. This deepens the scent and gives it an invisible deeper woody odor. Then I add 95% neutral grape spirits to 5-8% of the essential oils. And don’t worry about the alcohol in the formula. You only use a short spray under each pit (less than a drop), this kills the odor causing bacteria.


In a 100 ml bottle with a spray top
190 drops of Sandalwood oil
10 drops of Blue Cypress
This is about 6 ml. total

Fill the bottle with 95% neutral grape spirits (do not use vodka unless it is 150°, do not use rubbing alcohol, use only real neutral grain or grape spirits (Everclear works also).
The essential oils are at 6% and may need to be increased up to 10% depending on the level of scent that you want. At 6%, this formula kills the human body odor, leaving little to no odor behind.

1.Aromatic Plant Project Articles.

Source to purchase oil:

Eden Botanicals

                                                                                  Sandalwood spicatum-EB-odor


Figure 2. Odor Assessment of S. spicatum ~ EB


Fig. 1.spicatumFigure 1

For more information on Sandalwood in general, please see the previous blog post at