Sandalwood (called “Chandan” in Hindi): A brief background
Sandalwood has been used in India for thousands of years and the sandalwood from India is still considered the best in quality and most sought after around the world.
Sandalwood has the following uses:
The wood of the tree is used to make statues and various other decorative items, furniture and the wood is also made into a paste using sandalwood powder and this paste (as well as wood) is an integral part in various rituals and ceremonies. This paste is also applied on the forehead and various parts of the body.
Sandalwood oil, composed of two primary molecules, alpha – and beta – santalol (these molecules produce a strong fragrance), amongst other things, when used as an incense or fragrance promotes mental clarity. The oil creates a feeling of relaxation & peace, acts as a mild astringent, is anti-viral, antiseptic, antispasmodic, acts as a deodorant, is a disinfectant and an emollient.
Sandalwood oil is, thus, used in perfumery products, aromatherapy, religious rituals, gargling, vaporizers and burners etc.
With the increasing demand of sandalwood over the decades, the sandalwood reserves got considerably depleted in the govt. forest areas in India, especially in the state of Karnataka.
The situation changed for the better after a few State governments, from around the year 2002 onwards, started relaxing norms on the sale of sandalwood grown on private land. There is now a provision to cultivate sandalwood on private lands, with ownership and selling rights remaining with the owners of the land. it is advisable to refer to the guidelines of the particular state in consideration before planning to grow sandalwood trees in your land.
However, owners still cannot fell the trees or use them for personal purposes and/or sell it in the open market. They can only sell sandalwood to government institutions and the Forest Department after following the due procedure.