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.” — http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=10201

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 http://jeanne-blog.com/sandalwood-eo-profile/

Aromatic Plant Project Articles. http://www.aromaticplantproject.com/articles_archive/Australian_Essential_Oils.html
2. http://www.jeanne-blog.com/
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




9 thoughts on “Hawaiian & New Caledonia Sandalwood

  1. Thanks for this info it has given me another link to my heritage in Hawaii! The storys are great! The data is scientific research that I can use for my future formulas. Of course, excellence from the Grand Dame of Aroma Therapy!

  2. Thank you for your research I have some hawaiian sandalwood and I have not found much. I do use it mostly for the face massage. A good one for our male customers. More info on how and when you use it and what it blends well with would be great.

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