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The deeply perfumed sandalwood hails from India, but it has found itself a firm favorite in aromatherapy, spiritual rituals, and even the beauty industry. In this guide we will explore the benefits of sandalwood incense and how to make the most of its beautiful, mystical scent.
What is Sandalwood Incense
Famous for being the wood that scented the ax that cuts it, this intense, deep and spiritual scent has been used for thousands of years. While different varieties of the wood can be found all over the world, it is especially common around India and southern Asia.
Many people will recognize the scent from their favorite perfumes, as it is popular with perfumiers for offering the deep, rich, woody scent which balances the lighter notes in a perfume.
Its name harks back to its ancient Sanskrit origin, which means ‘wood for burning incense,’ which demonstrates that its use has not varied much in its thousands of years of history.
Many Eastern religions use sandalwood in their spiritual practices as it is believed to balance and unblock chakras effectively. It is also used like sage in home cleansing practices, to banish negative energies and promote tranquility within the living space.
Benefits of Sandalwood Incense
Before we delve into the best ways to include sandalwood incense in your practices, let’s take a look at the benefits of doing so, and what the science says to back this up.
Reduces Anxiety and Blood Pressure
A study carried out by the University of Viennafound that using sandalwood incense can have significant and profound effects on the body’s stress responses. Their study saw lowered blood cortisol levels (a useful physiological indicator of stress for scientists), which has the knock on effect of lowering heart rate and reducing systolic blood pressure.
Small but regular use of sandalwood can help to reduce long-term stress, but it can also be used in response to acute and immediate feelings of stress or anxiety to help to reduce the physiological sensations associated with stress such as a racing heart and high blood pressure.
Encourages Quality Sleep
Sandalwood is believed to have a mildly sedative property, perfect for helping those with sleep issues such as insomnia. A study by a group of Japanese scientists showed a likely connection between the use of sandalwood aromatherapy and increased REM sleep.
Its stress-relieving properties also help to calm the mind, leading to peaceful and undisturbed sleep for its users.
Supports Healthy Skin
Sandalwood essential oils and incense have been used for decades by the beauty industry due to its effects on the skin. Research published in the Cosmetics Journal shows that sandalwood has significant anti-ageing properties for the skin, reducing the effects of stressors such as UV light and smoke.
Using sandalwood incense regularly around the home can help to keep skin healthy, and condition and brighten the skin.
How to Use Sandalwood Incense
Using sandalwood incense is straightforward, simply light a stick when you are meditating or spending time around the home. It is particularly effective for evening use to help to unwind after a stressful day and support a good night’s sleep.