Health benefits of Red Sandalwood

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Red Sandalwood Quick Facts
Name: Red Sandalwood
Scientific Name: Pterocarpus santalinus
Origin Southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India
Shapes Pods are unequally orbicular, flat about 5 cm long and 4.5 cm wide
Taste Bitter, Sweet, Pungent
Health benefits Skin pigmentation, Eczema, Burns, Antiseptic benefits, Anti-Bacterial Properties, Good for Diabetes, Gastro-protective Properties, Wound Healing Properties, Hypolipidemic and Hepato-protective Properties, Acne and Scar Removal, Sunburn Relief, Insect Defender, Anti-Aging
Pterocarpus santalinus, with the common names red sanders, red sandalwood, Rakt Chandan, and saunderswood, belonging to Fabaceae family and genus Pterocarpus endemic to the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India. This tree is valued for the rich red color of its wood. The wood is not aromatic. Red sandalwood should not be confused with our regular sandalwood which is very aromatic, red sandalwood bark does not have any smell and unlike sandalwood, the bark is red in color. Red sanders, Red sanderswood, Red saunders, Red sandalwood, Ruby wood, Red Sandas, Sandalwood, Almug, Saunderswood and Agaru are some of the popular common names of the plant.

The tree grows very fast when young but it slows down when it reaches 5 meters, because of its slow growth it is becoming rare. Red sandalwood has cooling properties just like regular sandalwood and usually heartwood of the tree is used for medicinal purposes. Red sandalwood is also used for religious ceremonious and also as a colorant.

Plant Description

Red Sandalwood is a light-demanding small to medium-sized deciduous tree that grows about 8 meters (26 ft.) tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 meters (16 ft.) tall in three years, even on degraded soils. It is not frost tolerant, being killed by temperatures of −1 °C. The plant is found growing in dry, deciduous forests in hilly and often rocky ground, slopes, low ridges and spurs and on quite steep hillsides. Well-drained red soils with graveled loam are suitable for the cultivation. Bark is blackish brown, 1-1.5 cm thick and deeply cleft into rectangular plates by deep vertical and horizontal cracks and exudes a deep red juice when cut. Blaze is pale yellow with numerous pink streaks exuding copious red sticky thick gum.

Red Sandalwood Facts

Name Red Sandalwood
Scientific Name Pterocarpus santalinus
Native Southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India
Common Names Red sanders, Red sanderswood, Red saunders, Red sandalwood, Ruby wood, Red Sandas, Sandalwood, Almug, Saunderswood, Agaru, red sanderswood
Name in Other Languages Arabic:  Sandale ahmar, sandale-ahmar, sandaleahmar, undum sandulhamra,
Armenian: Karmir sandal (կարմիր սանդալ)
Bengali:  Lalchandan, Raktachandan
Burmese:  Nasani,  Sandaku
Chinese: Zitan, hai hong dou
Danish:  Rød sandelved, Sandeltræ
Dutch:  Rood sandelhout, Sandelboom
English:  Red sanders,  Red sanderswood,  Red saunders,  Red sandalwood, Ruby wood, Red Sandas, Sandalwood, Almug, Saunderswood, Agaru, red sanderswood
Finnish: Intianveripihkapuu, Satelipuu
French:  Santal rouge, Bois de Santal Rouge
German:  Caliaturholz, Rotes Sandelholz, Rothes Sandelholz, Rothes Santelholz
Gujarati:  Ratanjali, Lal Chandan
Hindi:  Lalchandan, Ragat Chandan, Rukhto Chandan, Undum, rakta-chandana (रक्त चंदन),
Italian:  Sandalo rosso
Japanese: Koki (コウキ)
Kannada:  Agaru, raktacandana (ರಕ್ತಚಂದನ), benne, honne, kempu gandha, kempu-gandha-chekke, kempugandha, kempugandha chakke, patranga, rakta-chandana, raktachendana, raktashandana
Malayalam: Raktacandanam (രക്തചന്ദനം), cencandanam, chan-chandanam, ooruttahchandanam, patrangam, rakta-channanam, , raktachandanam, raktashandanam, senshendanam, tilaparnni, tilparnni, uruttachandanam, uruttucandanam, uruttushandanam
Marathi: Raktachandan (रक्तचंदन), rathaanjili, tambadachandana, thambada chandana
Nepali:  Rakta candan (रक्तचन्दन)
Parsi: Sandal surh
Persian: Buckum, dul-surkh, dulsurkh, sandale-surkh, sandalesurkh, sandulsurkh, sun, undum
Polish: Pterokarpus sandałowy
Portuguese:  Sandalo vermelho, Sanalho Vermelho
Russian: Sandalovoye derevo (Сандаловое дерево)
Sanskrit:  Agaru-gandhakashtaha, agarugandha, andana, arka, asukla candana, bhaskarpriya, candana, chandana, harichandana, hima, kshudrachandana, kucandana, kuchrasara, kumoda, kushikam, lohita, lohitacandana, lohitachandana, malayaja, patranga, pattanga, pravalphala, rajanakuchandana, raktabija, raktacandana, raktacandanah, raktacandanam, raktachandana, raktakta, raktanga, raktasara, raktavrksa, ranjana, tamrabhra, tamravriksha, tilapari, tilaparni
Spanish:   Sándalo rojo, Leno de Sandalo Rojo
Swedish: Rött sandelträd
Tagalog:  Naga, Narra
Tajik: Baqam (Бақам)
Tamil: Ceñcantaṉam (செஞ்சந்தனம்), akilankattai, anukam, anukam, anukkapitam, anukkapitamaram, arakkam, aricantanam, ariccantanam, arikantam, atti, calavimpam, calliyam, calyam, cantanavenkai, cantani, cemmaram, cencandanam, cencantam, cencantanakkatti, cencantanam, cenkantam, cenkunkumam, chenchandanam, cikappu cantanam, cikappuccantanam, citacaram, civantacantam, civappuccantanam, civappuccenturam, curonitavirutti, curonitaviruttimaram, cuttiracantanam, iracitam, irancanam, irattacantanam, kapi, kucantanam, kulavari, kulaviri, kulavukacam, kulavuri, kusandanam, locitam, makakantam, malcantanam, malcantanamaram, mantaram, maturam, nallacantanam, nattuccantanam, nittittam, pattankam, pattirankam, pattirankam, picanam, picanam, pidagattam, pulliri, rattacantanam, salliyam, sandanam, sandanavengai, segapoo shandanum, semmaram, sensandanakkattai, shen-chandanam, shen-shandanam, sivappuccandanam, sivapu chandanam, tamirakam1, tanmalokitam, tanpalokitam, teyvakala, teyvakalamaram, vatappatiram, vattiyam
Telegu:  errachandanam (ఎర్రచందనం), agarugandhamu, candanam, chandam, chandanam, chandanamu, erra-gandamu, erra-gandhapu-chekka, erracandamanu, errachandamu, erragandhapu, ettachandamu, kuchandanam, kuchandanamu, kunchandanamu, rakta-chandanam, rakta-gandham, raktacandanamu, raktachandanam, raktachandanamu, raktagandham, raktagandhamu, raktha chandanamu, raktha-chandanamu, rakthagandhamu, shandam, shandanamu, sundhanam, tsandanam, yerra-chandanamu, yerrachandanam, yerragandhamu
Tibetan: dmar, tsa nda na dmar po, tsan dan damar po, tsan dan dmar po
Thai: Cạnthn̒dæng (จันทน์แดง)
Urdu: Burada sandal safaid, burada sandal surkh, sandal surkh
Plant Growth Habit Light-demanding small to medium-sized deciduous tree
Growing Climates Dry, deciduous forests in hilly and often rocky ground, slopes, low ridges and spurs, on quite steep hillsides
Soil Well-drained red soils with graveled loam are suitable for the cultivation
Plant Size 8 meters (26 ft.) tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter
Bark Blackish brown, 1-1.5cm thick and deeply cleft into rectangular plates by deep vertical and horizontal cracks and exude a deep red juice when cut
Blaze Pale yellow with  numerous pink streaks exuding copious  red sticky thick gum
Leaf 3 foliated, 10-18 cm long and rachis swollen at base. Generally, there are 3 leaflets, broadly egg-shaped or orbicular. Base is round or slightly heart-shaped.  Apex is also rounded or deeply notched.  Margin is entire, leathery, shiny, hairless and distinctly stalked
Flowering season February to April
Flower Bisexual, stalked in auxiliary simple or sparingly branched  racemes,  yellow,  about  2cm  long,  fragrant
Fruit Shape & Size Pods  are  unequally  orbicular,  flat about 5 cm long and 4.5 cm wide including the wing, and gradually narrow into a short tip about 1 cm long containing one or two seeds
Seed 1 or rarely 2, more or less kidney shaped, 1-1.5cm long, smooth, reddish brown
Propagation By Seed
Taste Bitter, Sweet, Pungent
Plant Parts Used Heart Wood, Bark, Leaf
Season February–March
Health Benefits
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Eczema
  • Burns
  • Antiseptic benefits
  • Anti-Bacterial Properties
  • Good for Diabetes
  • Gastro-protective Properties
  • Wound Healing Properties
  • Hypolipidemic and Hepato-protective Properties
  • Acne and Scar Removal
  • Sunburn Relief
  • Insect Defender
  • Anti-Aging
Culinary Uses
  • Heartwood is ground to a powder and used as a red food colouring in a range of foods, but especially in commercial spice blends and sauces
  • It is not recommended in amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea.


Leaves are 3 foliated, 10-18 cm long and rachis swollen at base. Generally, there are 3 leaflets, broadly egg-shaped or orbicular. Base is round or slightly heart-shaped.  Apex is also rounded or deeply notched.  Margin is entire, leathery, shiny, hairless and distinctly stalked.

Flower & Fruit

Flower is bisexual, stalked in auxiliary simple or sparingly branched racemes, yellow, about 2 cm long, and fragrant. Flowering normally takes place from February to April. Fertile flowers are followed by pods  that are unequally orbicular, flat about 5 cm long and 4.5 cm wide including the wing, and gradually narrow into a short tip about 1 cm long containing one or two seeds. Seeds are more or less kidney shaped, 1-1.5 cm long, smooth and reddish brown colored.

Health benefits of Red sandalwood

Listed below are some of the well-known health benefits of using red sandalwood

1. Skin pigmentation

Red sandalwood extract is widely used in the cosmetic industry to reduce or lighten pigmentation marks or scars on the skin. You can simply make face packs at home which are as effective as the products available in market for pigmentation.

2. Eczema

Eczema is a skin disorder in which the patient suffers from skin inflammation. There is no cure for eczema; however it can be managed using herbal remedies. To get relief from itchiness and inflammation caused by eczema, mix camphor with red sandalwood powder and add a few drops of water to make a paste. This paste provides instant relief from burning and itchy skin.

3. Burns

Sandalwood has cooling properties and is used to provide relief in cases of burnt skin. To make an ointment for relief from burns, mix equal amounts of Indian madder also known as Manjistha, red sandalwood powder and add ghee to make a paste. Use this paste on the affected area for relief.

4. Antiseptic benefits

Red sandalwood is packed with antiseptic and healing properties and has been used as an antiseptic in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. To use it as an antiseptic, sprinkle red sandalwood powder on damaged skin.

5. Anti-Bacterial Properties

Red sandalwood has wonderful anti-bacterial properties that fight against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. It is proven to be effective against bacterial like Staphylococcus Aureus, Bacillus Subtilis, Escherichia Coli, etc. It is because of its anti-bacterial property that it is used extensively for skin care.

6. Good for Diabetes

Red sandalwood extract has anti-diabetic properties. The active components present in red sandalwood helps reduce elevated blood sugar levels significantly and you can read the study that proves it here. Traditionally tumblers were made of red sandalwood and water was consumed from it by diabetic patients.

7. Gastro-protective Properties

Gastric mucosal injury can be caused due to various reasons and some of the common reasons are stress, alcohol consumption, ageing, infection and certain medications. Gastric mucosal injury can lead to sever ulcers and consuming red sandalwood internally in the proper dosage greatly protects and prevents ulcers from forming.

8. Wound Healing Properties

Red sandalwood has amazing wound healing properties and is wonderful for treating small wounds and cuts. Washing minor scrapes and cuts with red sandalwood water will help in fast wound healing.

9. Hypolipidemic and Hepato-protective Properties

Red sandalwood has protective effect on our lungs and heart and therefore protects us from major diseases when taken internally. Along with the above uses, it also has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties.

10. Acne and Scar Removal

Red sandalwood powder uses its antimicrobial properties in fighting acne and scars that usually appear on the face, neck, chest, back and upper arms. Create a paste out of one tablespoon sandalwood powder, one tablespoon turmeric powder and a pinch of camphor with rosewater. Apply the paste directly on the affected parts. Leave the paste overnight and rinse well the morning after.

11. Sunburn Relief

Too much exposure to the sun can lead to itchy and painful patches on the back, arms, and face. To sooth and prevent further irritation, create a paste made from mixing 4 tablespoons sandalwood powder, 4 tablespoons cocoa oil and 2 tablespoons almond oil. Apply directly to the affected areas. Let the skin absorb the concoction for 15 to 30 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.

12. Insect Defender

Red sandalwood powder uses its healing powder in relieving insect bites. Simply mix the powder with turmeric and lavender oil to be used as a topical cream in treating swelling and itchiness of insect bites. Many holistic practitioners also make good use of this concoction to repel insects.

13. Anti-Aging

Crow’s feet, wrinkles, and sagging are the first signs of skin aging. Strengthen your skin by using a powerful combination of red sandalwood powder (4 teaspoons) and strong chamomile tea (2 teaspoons; steeped and cooled). These two elements possess potent antioxidants and detoxifiers leaving the skin renewed and moisturized. Some also standby the efficacy of combining red sandalwood powder, glycerin, and rosewater for daily use to counter early signs of aging.

Traditional uses and benefits of Red Sandalwood

  • Red Sandalwood is used in traditional herbal medicine as an antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, tonic, hemorrhage, dysentery, aphrodisiac, anti-hyperglycemic and diaphoretic.
  • Wood, used in the form of a powder or chips, is anti-inflammatory, astringent and tonic.
  • Paste of the wood is brewed as a tea in the treatment of chronic dysentery and is used to make a treatment for diabetes and as a boost for the immune system.
  • Wood paste is applied externally as a cooling application to boils, inflammatory diseases of the skin, swollen limbs, ophthalmia, sore eyes and headache.
  • Wood is an ingredient of many medicinal oils and pharmaceutical preparations in India.
  • It is also useful in vitiated conditions of pitta, burning sensation, vomiting, skin diseases, leprosy, ulcers, fistula, and hemorrhages.

Ayurvedic Health benefits of Red Sandalwood

  • Antiseptic: Sprinkle Red Sandalwood powder on the damaged Skin.
  • Boils: Grind Seeds of Red Sandalwood to make a powder. Sprinkle it on the Boils twice a day.
  • Inflammation: Sprinkle powdered seeds of Red Sandalwood on the inflamed areas.
  • Gout: Prepare a decoction of Red Sandalwood leaves. Drink once a day.
  • Rheumatism: Boil leaves of Red Sandalwood in a cup of water. Drink once a day.
  • Hair: Make an infusion of Red Sandalwood bark. Wash hair with it.
  • Wrinkles: Prepare a mixture of Red Sandalwood, Glycerin and Rose water. Apply it on your face for 20 minutes. Wash after it.
  • Burns: Take equal amount of powdered Indian madder, Red sandal wood, Chonemorpha Fragrans. Add adequate amount of Cow’s ghee. Boil for 15-20 Mins. Apply 3-4 times a day.
  • Acne: Take equal quantity of Saffron, Turmeric, Neem, Red Sandalwood, Basil and Fuller’s Earth. Mix them in Butter Milk or Milk. Apply on the affected part twice a day.
  • Acne: Take 1 teaspoon Neem, 1 teaspoon Red Sandalwood and 1 teaspoon Yogurt. Mix all ingredients. Apply on the face for 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water.
  • Acne: Take 1 teaspoon Powdered Indian Madder, 1 teaspoon Red Sandalwood, 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric and Snow Lotus 1 teaspoon. Mix all ingredients. Add water to make a paste. Apply on affected parts for 20 minutes. Wash with cold water.
  • Abscess: Take equal quantity of Indian Madder, Red Sandalwood and Snow Lotus. Grind them together. Add 1/4 teaspoon of Turmeric. Make a paste by adding water. Apply on the affected part until it dries. Wash with normal water.
  • Eczema: Take one teaspoon powder of each Indian Madder, Red Sandalwood and Snow Lotus. Add half teaspoon of Turmeric. Make a paste by adding water. Apply for 20 minutes and wash.

Red sandalwood for beautiful and glowing skin

  • Add few drops of coconut oil to red sandalwood powder and make a paste with it. This can be applied on dry areas for moisturizing them. Wash off after 10-15 minutes. Red sandalwood powder is known to provide nourishment to the skin cells.
  • Mix red sandalwood powder with lemon juice to prepare a mask for oily skin. Apply this paste all over your face and let it dry out. Once it does, wash it off with lukewarm water. It helps in regulating the secretion of sebum and makes the pores tight.
  • Acne and pimples happen to be common skin problems faced by most people. A rose water and red sandalwood face pack helps in the reduction of acne and acne scars and also the irritation caused by acne due to its cooling properties. You can even add a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of turmeric to the pack for better results.
  • A pack made with 1 tablespoon of red sandalwood and 2 tablespoons of mashed ripe papaya can help in exfoliation. This face pack helps you shed the dead skin and leaves your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
  • Use red sandalwood powder along with curd and milk to improve uneven skin tone. Mix 1 tablespoon of red sandalwood powder, half tablespoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoon of curd and milk each to make a face pack. Apply this all over and let it dry. Later wash it off with lukewarm water and enjoy radiant complexion.
  • It helps in removal of dark spots and reduces pigmentation. Prepare a simple pack with 2 tablespoons of red sandalwood and 2 tablespoon of milk and apply it every day.
  • A pack with cucumber juice or curd with red sandalwood powder helps in removing sun tan. Mix 2 tablespoon of curd or cucumber juice with an equal amount of red sandalwood powder and apply it on the affected area. Let it dry and then wash off. You will see instant results.
  • Prepare a mask with 2 teaspoons of almond oil, 4 teaspoons of coconut oil and 4 teaspoons of red sandalwood powder. Use this regularly for soft and glowing skin.

Top Red Sandalwood Powder Face Packs for Fair & Glowing Skin

Red Sandalwood & Rose Water for Dark Spots

Take equal quantities of neem powder and red sandalwood powder in a bowl. Add in enough rose water to form a paste and apply as a face pack. This face pack is very good for treating dark spots.

Red Sandalwood & Turmeric Face Pack For Acne & Acne Scars

Take 1 tbsp. of red sandalwood powder in a bowl. Add in 1/4 tsp. of kasthuri turmeric to it. Now add enough rosewater to form a paste and apply as a face pack. This is a wonderful face pack for treating acne and acne scars.

Red Sandalwood Cream for Face Fairness

Take 1 tbsp. of Aloe Vera gel and 1 tsp. of red sandalwood powder in a bowl, add in vitamin E capsule to form a paste and use it as a massage cream. This cream will help treat hyper pigmentation very effectively.

Red Sandalwood & Honey for Skin Pigmentation & Blemishes

Take 1 tsp. of red sandalwood powder in a bowl. Now add enough pure raw honey to form a paste and apply as a face pack. It can be a wonderful home remedy for clear glowing blemish free skin.

Red sandalwood & Multani Mitti Fairness Face Pack

For this face pack first take a small licorice root, pound and boil in 1/4 cup of water till the color of the water turns yellow and strain. For the face pack, take 2 tbsp. of multani mitti in a bowl. Add in 1.5 tsp. of red sandalwood powder to it and squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Finally add in enough licorice extract to get a spreadable paste and use it as a face pack.

Other facts

  • Deep red dye is used for coloring silk, cotton etc. and as caste sign.
  • It is also used to color foods and pharmaceutical preparations.
  • Extracted oil is used as a rejuvenating face cream.
  • An extract of the stem is used as a hair conditioner in commercial cosmetic productions.
  • An extract of the wood is used as an astringent and tonic in commercial cosmetic preparations.
  • Wood powder is used as a skin conditioner in commercial cosmetic preparations.
  • Wood and bark are sources of tannin.
  • Fiber is obtained from the inner bark.
  • Heartwood is orange-red when first cut, turning dark claret-red to almost black; the sapwood is white.
  • Wood is heavy and extremely hard. It can be used for carpentry and for fence posts.
  • Red, fragrant heartwood is used for furniture, in cabinet making etc.
  • It is much used for carving statues etc.
  • Buddhist community seems to prefer this wood for cremation.






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