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Friday, August 20, 2010

SANDAL, CHANDAL, SANDAL WOOD TREE HISTORY and USES

THE SANDALWOOD TREE, SANDAL, CHANDAN OR CHANDAL


The sandalwood tree is probably native to Indonesia and/or the Indian subcontinent, although there is some evidence to suggest that it was introduced to India some 2000 years ago. It is mostly valued for its fragrance and resistance to insects although it is also used in religious ceremonies and in traditional medicine. In 1792 the Sultan of Mysore decreed that the Sandalwood tree was a royal tree, and as that decree still stands, all sandalwood trees in India and Pakistan technically belong to the government, whether they are on private property or not. Interestingly the trees are never felled but uprooted during the rainy season, so as to get the precious oil out of the roots as well as other parts of the tree.

Hindus have been using a paste made from the sandalwood tree for more than 4000 years, to make the tilak mark on the foreheads between the eyes, where the Third Eye is said to be located. It is mostly used by devotees of the gods Shiva and Vishnu and protects the spot where Hindus believe power resides, as it cools the spot and the smell when combined with that of smoked sandalwood, clears the mind so that meditation can begin. In religious ceremonies the paste from the tree and the ash, represent one of the four elements, earth.

The wood from the sandalwood tree (Santalum album) is burnt at funeral ceremonies to help the departed soul on its ascent to paradise and to give comfort to the grieving mourners.

The sandalwood tree and its spicy, pungent fragrance can ward off evil spirits, but it also attracts snakes. It is a symbol of indescribable sweetness which remains unchanged in spite of danger. In pictures in Hindu legends, it is usually depicted with its trunk completely covered by writhing serpents.

You have probably come cross joss sticks made from the sawdust of the sandalwood tree, or perfumes with a sandalwood base. People waft incense which comes from the sandalwood tree around their homes to keep evil spirits out.

It is used in traditional medicine for many purposes. Its paste, when applied to the forehead will reduce a fever, and it may be mixed with rose water to quench your thirst. An infusion of sandalwood powder mixed with rose water is said to be good for headaches, scorpion stings dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, prickly heat, warts and even some skin cancers. Clinical trials are currently being undertaken to see how effective it actually is.

Sandalwood powder mixed with honey, sugar and rice-water is used to aid digestion and treat some digestive disorders. The powdered wood has been used to treat snake bites, and an infusion of sandalwood is used as a mouthwash and a deodorant. Oil from the sandalwood tree can relieve itching and inflammation of the skin.

So far, medical research has shown that the sandalwood tree has antibacterial qualities. It has soothing effects on people who are distressed and /or mentally disturbed and is used to calm them in stressful situations, so if you’re feeling stressed. Or depressed, try lighting a sandalwood candle and see if you feel the benefits of its soothing qualities.

People don’t cook with sandalwood, but there is a concentrated sandal drink- much tastier than orange squash!


















6 comments:

  1. good and systematic information

    ReplyDelete
  2. it is also used in religious ceremonies and in traditional medicine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. it is also used in religious ceremonies and in traditional medicine.

    ReplyDelete
  4. very helpful! Thank you

    ReplyDelete

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