Sandal Wood (Sansk. chandana), the aromatic wood of several species of santalum (Pers. sandul), especially S. album, of the East Indies. The genus gives its name to a small family of apetalous, exogenous plants, comprising herbs, shrubs, and trees, most of which are parasitic by their roots, at least when young. Besides the above named species of santalum, others, in the Hawaiian and Feejee islands and Australia, furnish sandal wood, some of which finds its way into commerce. The Indian sandal wood is a tree 20 to 30 ft. high, with a trunk 6 to 12 in. through; it is rather local, being found most abundantly in Mysore, where the trees are a monopoly of the East India company, and can only be felled by the proper officers, and in Madras they are also under government control. Where there is no restriction the trees soon become exterminated, but in the localities referred to the supply is kept up by new plantations. The trees reach their full size in 20 or 30 years; after they are felled and the branches removed, the trunks are allowed to remain on the ground for several months in order that the white ants may eat away the worthless sap wood; the trunk is cut into pieces 24 and 30 in. long, carefully trimmed, weighed, and assorted for shipment.
Sandal Wood (Santalum album).
The wood is very heavy, its density and aroma being greatest when it grows on dry and poor soil; the color is a pale brown, varying in different samples; it splits easily; has a persistent odor which is agreeable to most persons; its taste is strongly aromatic. The aroma of the wood depends upon a volatile oil, which is light yellow and thick, and begins to boil at 385° F.; a resin is also found in the wood. Sandal wood is mentioned in a Vedic work written as early as the 5th century B. C.; it was used in sacred buildings in India; the gates constructed for the temple of Somnath in Guzerat, and carried off on its destruction about 1025, are of carved sandal wood, and though over 1,000 years old are in good preservation. It was used in embalming princes. The great consumption of the wood is in China; in 1866 there were received at the various ports 5,197 tons. The oil is made at the localities where the trees grow; the roots are dug up for the purpose, and the chips and sawdust are also used; in 1872-'3, 10,348 lbs., valued at £8,374, were imported into Bombay, a large share of which was reŽxported. In the East the wood is used in religious ceremonies, and the wealthy Hindoos add sticks of it to the funeral pile to show their respect for the departed.
In India it is the best substitute for box wood for engravers' use; it is used largely by the Chinese for cabinet work, as its odor repels insects, for small boxes, and the framework of fans; they also burn it as incense in their temples. Within a few years the oil has come into use as a substitute for copaiba in the treatment of gonorrhoea. - Red Sandal Wood, or Saunders Wood, is furnished by pterocarpus santalinus, a tree of the leguminoseoe, and a native of various localities in southern India. It is 20 to 30 ft. high, and seldom over 4 ft. in girth; like the true sandal wood, it is controlled by government, and is now raised in plantations; it is found in commerce in irregular logs consisting of the heart wood of the lower part of the trunks and the larger roots; it is of a deep red color and takes a fine polish. The natives of India use it in their temples, and for turned work. It was formerly supposed to be medicinal, but is now used only for coloring; the compound spirit of lavender, popularly called red lavender, owes its color to this, as does Stoughton's bitters.
The coloring matter is santalic acid, or santaline, a resinoid, soluble in alcohol, ether, and alkaline solutions.