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Sandalwood is a tree that grows in Asia. It has been used to ease swelling in skin problems, such as wounds and dermatitis. It has also been used to ease anxiety when applied or breathed in as an oil. Some people have used it to ease symptoms of urinary pain. The bark from these trees can be made into a cream or lotion. Sandalwood can also be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.


There are no advised doses for sandalwood.

What Research Shows

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge A1
  • Anxiety B1
  • Radiation-induced dermatitis C1, C2

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to use sandalwood on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. It may cause allergic skin reactions in some people.D1, D2 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

A1. Bhat TA, Begum W. Efficacy of Tamarindus indicus, Melia azadirach and Santalum album in syndromic management of abnormal vaginal discharge: A single-blind randomised controlled trial. J Complement Integr Med. 2017 Dec 19;15(2).

B. Anxiety

B1. Trambert R, Kowalski MO, et al. A randomized controlled trial provides evidence to support aromatherapy to minimize anxiety in women undergoing breast biopsy. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2017;14(5):394-402.

C. Radiation-Induced Dermatitis

C1. Rao S, Hegde SK, et al. Sandalwood Oil and Turmeric-Based Cream Prevents Ionizing Radiation-Induced Dermatitis in Breast Cancer Patients: Clinical Study. Medicines (Basel). 2017 Jun 24;4(3). pii: E43.

C2. Palatty PL, Azmidah A, et al. Topical application of a sandal wood oil and turmeric based cream prevents radiodermatitis in head and neck cancer patients undergoing external beam radiotherapy: a pilot study. Br J Radiol. 2014 Jun;87(1038):20130490.

D. Safety

D1. Burdock GA, Carabin IG. Safety assessment of sandalwood oil (Santalum album L.). Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Feb;46(2):421-32. Epub 2007 Sep 21.

D2. de Groot AC, Schmidt E. Essential Oils, Part IV: Contact Allergy. Dermatitis. 2016 Jul-Aug;27(4):170-175.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/30/2020