Acotanc: The World of Sandalwood Products and Uses

The World of Sandalwood Products and Uses

Author: Caroline Hughes
Sales and Marketing Manager
Organization: Mount Romance Sandalwood
205 Loftus Street
Leederville WA 6007
Phone: +61 8-94442673 Fax: +61 8-94435222 Mobile: 0413 523680

Information about the sandalwood oil-based cosmetics produced by the Mount Romance Company.

I am the State Sales and Marketing Manager in Western Australia for a company called Mount Romance. They started with emu oil, and have it out on the world market now. They did an initiative with CALM and the WA government, that all the Australian variety of sandalwood that is grown will go through Westcorp. Westcorp will turn the wood into chips. The chips go on down to Albany where the oil is extracted. It is the oil that I will be talking about today.

I had a shower this afternoon. I shampooed my hair (listen carefully, there is a pun in this). I want someone to say, "What has all this got to do with sandalwood?" I shampooed my hair, I conditioned it, I put some body wash on with a sponge, etc. And then I got out of the shower and put some talc on and I also put some hand and body lotion on, and I put some toner on, and I put some day cream on as well, and I put some lipstick on. So, what has all this got to do with...? You are probably saying, "Goodness, gracious, sandalwood oil in all those products." That's just a few. I'm going to tell you the rest.

Sandalwood oil is a fixative, it is also high in germicidal properties. You are looking at about $110 for only 100 ml for the pure sandalwood oil. For east Indian sandalwood oil, it is probably double that.

No matter how good a product is, it is the end result that matters, actually getting the product out into the market and creating sales for it. That is where I come in. I am not a fantastic expert on the trees and growing and those sorts of things. What Mount Romance did was, firstly, the initiative through the WA government. This is going back about 5 years. Steve Birkbeck from this company researched sandalwood for 2 years before he went into it. All the technical things have been done. In the 60s they were actually injecting syphilis patients with sandalwood because of its very high germicidal, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

The oil smells beautiful. Talking of the marketing side of it, the packaging emphasises the three qualities of sensuality, vitality and spirituality, because those are all traditionally associated with sandalwood oil. If you burn sandalwood, it can help you relax. It is a very well-accepted product.

I have mentioned that sandalwood is found in a lot of perfumes around the world. It is used by the major, big name perfume manufactures. A lot of that is the Indian sandalwood. And yes, because of this 'gentleman' in India, a lot of damage has been done to the Indian sandalwood. It is in short supply. There are other things that contribute to creating short supply of sandalwood, like unrest in a country. The trees we are talking about in WA are about 12 years old. Oil is extracted from Indian sandalwood at about 15 years of age. It is from the heartwood that they get the oil. With this facility they have in Albany....Joyote was another Indian company that came to WA about 7 years age. They went to Albany and built a state-of-the-art cosmetic factory, the biggest in the southern hemisphere. The products were never marketed properly. It doesn't matter how good the product is if it is not marketed properly. About 3 year ago Mount Romance bought them out. Today, they have expanded their production facility so they are making perfumes. It is fantastic for the WA economy to be producing perfume. Everyone knows that perfumes come from France: not today! Now they come from Western Australia. If you go to Albany, you can visit the facility. It was featured on Landline a few months ago.

They are doing a lot of fragrances. The first one they did was one called Ophir with an emu oil and sandalwood base. Then they ventured on and did some others as well. They have a Dreamtime range.

I will read a bit regarding sandalwood: within the cosmetic industry, sandalwood oil is highly prized for its exotic and powerful yet calming fragrance, characteristic of the heartwood. The rich golden colour embodies the natural elements of sensuality, spirituality and vitality. Combining a delicate floral sweetness with a smoky, leathery texture which is further enhanced by the lingering and persistent wood character. Australian sandalwood oil also contains powerful antiseptic and mild astringent properties. The antimicrobial effects of sandalwood oil are attributed to its contents of farnacell (?). Mount Romance makes a deodorant that has farnacell in it. Farnacell is something that kills the odour that causes BO. This compound which is well-known and widely studied normally constitutes 5% of the volatile oil content of Santalum spicatum. Farnacell is a natural and selective antibacterial, effective at inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus. This is parasitic to man and frequently affects the skin, nails and hair. Clinical studies now demonstrate that antimicrobial properties of sandalwood oil, as shown in the studies below, dating back to 1979.

So, it is not something new. It has been around a long time but is just coming to the forefront today. There are some perfumery companies in Geneva that did these studies. One of the most active essential oils against Staphylococcus, the results tend to substantiate the long-held belief in the antiseptic properties of sandalwood oil. The author goes on to say, on the basis of the results obtained, one sees that sandalwood oil can be introduced into cosmetic creams, lotions, masques, deodorants, shampoos and bath oils for its antiseptic properties. Perhaps it is even interesting enough to be an active ingredient in the whole cosmetic line. Mount Romance now have 25 products in their range.

Sandalwood oil is renowned for its soothing qualities, and has been traditionally applied for a variety of skin ailments, such as flaky and itchy scalp and skin irritations. It assists in relieving itchiness as well as the bacteria that cause rash. It also is high in antiinflammatory properties. This has been attributed to its content of alpha-----? which is a major constituent of camomile oil. Documentation of the antiinflammatory effects of alpha---? dates from the 1960s and earlier, while a recent study on the effect of the compound on histamine release showed no effect. On the other hand, antiinflammatory effect of camomile oil is well-documented. The oil from Santalum spicatum normally contains 5% of alpha---? Australian sandalwood oil also has high levels of antimicrobial and antiinflammatory compounds. These properties add value as a valuable active component to cleansers, cleansing baths, tropical lotions and creams and also in the treatment of acne as well. From a very, very simple oil, the results are quite amazing.

It is also good for things like tinea. Kids are very prone to tinea as they go to pools with their bare feet. Take a little bit of pure oil and put that on your feet. Also, in nursing environments. If you ever go into hospital, take some sandalwood oil and put it into a little water spray bottle and spray it around your room. It might seem silly, but going into a hospital there are lots of germs you can catch.

Sandalwood is also a unisex product, it is for both men and women.

Mount Romance hopes to supply West Australian sandalwood oil to counteract the diminishing world supply. Sandalwood is grown in plantations in the Kimberley and the Goldfields. It is fairly well-regulated. The east Indian sandalwood oil has properties that are similar to the WA sandalwood.