"A volatile oil distilled from the wood of Santalum album, Linné (Nat. Ord.—Santalaceae). Oil of santal should be kept in well-stoppered bottles, in a cool place, protected from the light"—(U. S. P.).
SYNONYMS: Oil of sandal-wood, Oleum ligni santali, Oleum santali flavi, East Indian oil of santal.
Botanical Source and History.—The White santal is indigenous to the Indian Peninsula, and to some of the islands of the Indian Archipelago, notably Sumba (Sandal-wood Island) and Timul. It grows in the mountainous districts in dry open places, and not in woods, a strip of country 250 miles long, north and northwest of the Nilgherry Hills, lying mainly in Mysore and Coimbatore, yielding the most valuable wood. By the provisions of a treaty made in 1770, with Hyder Ali, the cutting of the trees in Mysore is entirely under the control of the East India Company, whose officers see to the felling of the trees. In other places these restrictions have been removed (see Pharmacographia).
The Santalum album is a small tree growing to a height of 20 or 30 feet, the trunk measuring in girth from 18 to 35 inches. The leaves are opposite, smooth, glaucous on under surface, oval or lanceolate in shape, or rather varying between these two forms. Its numerous small flowers are without odor and of varying hues, and borne in a panicled cyme. The tree attains about a foot in diameter when from 20 to 30 years old, when they are in their prime. The tree is parasitic, and will attach itself to other plants by tuberous processes on its roots. In regard to the manner of collecting the wood, the authors of Pharmacographia give the following account: "A tree having been felled, the branches are lopped off, and the trunk allowed to lie on the ground for several months, during which time the white ants eat away the greater part of the inodorous sapwood. The trunk is then roughly trimmed, sawn into billets 2 to 2 1/2 feet long, and taken to the forest depots. There the wood is weighed, subjected to a second and more careful trimming, and classified according to quality. In some parts it is customary not to fell, but to dig the tree up; in others the root is dug up after the trunk has been cut down, the root affording valuable wood, which, with the chips and sawdust, are preserved for distillation, or for burning in the native temples. The sapwood and branches are worthless"—(Pharmacographia, p. 601).
SANTAL-WOOD (Lignum santali album, Santalum album, Lignum santali citrinum), Yellow or White sanders wood.—Whitish or brownish-yellow billets, from 3 to 9 inches thick, and 3 or 4 feet long, hard, heavy, of a bitterish, subacrid, aromatic taste, and an agreeable, rose-like odor (when rubbed or rasped). On transverse section the wood has a lustrous, waxy appearance, showing alternate light and dark, irregularly concentric circles, which are, however, sometimes not well marked. The medullary rays are delicate and the vessels very fine. The darker-colored wood is most highly valued (that from the root being the best quality), and the taste and odor vary according to the source of the wood. In the Chinese markets three grades are known: South Sea Island, Timor, and Malabar, the last far exceeding the others in price.
Preparation.—Santal oil is procured by distilling the wood with water or by means of steam. The most and best oil is obtained from the root-wood. According to Flückiger, 2.5 per cent are obtained in India, notwithstanding imperfect apparatus. The yield, according to Schimmel & Co., is 1.6 to 3 per cent for Macassar (Dutch Indian), and 3 to 5 per cent for East Indian. Speaking of its uses, Prof. Flückiger says: "It is employed as a perfume and for the fabrication of small articles of ornament. Among the natives of India it is largely consumed in the celebration of sepulchral rites, wealthy Hindus showing their respect for a departed relative by adding sticks of sandal-wood to the funereal pile. The powder of the wood, made into a paste with water, is used for making the caste mark, and also for medicinal purposes. The consumption of sandal-wood in China appears to be principally for the incense used in the temples"—(Pharmacographia, p. 603).
Description and Tests.—Oil of sandal-wood is described officially as "a pale yellowish or yellow, somewhat thickish liquid, having a peculiar, strongly aromatic odor, and a pungent, spicy taste. Specific gravity, 0.970 to 0.978 at 15° C. (59° F.). It deviates polarized light to the left, distinction from Australian (specific gravity, 0.953) and West Indian (specific gravity, 0.965) sandal-wood oils, which deviate polarized light to the right. Readily soluble in alcohol, the solution being slightly acid to litmus paper. If to 1 Cc. of the oil, at 20° C. (68° F.), there be added 10 Cc. of a mixture of 3 volumes of alcohol and 1 volume of water, a perfectly clear solution should be obtained (test for cedar-wood oil, castor oil, and other fatty oils, etc.)"—(U. S. P.). According to Schimmel & Co., the optical rotation remains rather constantly between the limits -17° to -20°. Oil of copaiba, as an adulterant, has the effect of diminishing the optical rotation to some extent. West Indian sandal-wood oil may also be recognized by being very little soluble in alcohol. True sandal-wood oil, however, when exposed to air and light, or by age, becomes less soluble in diluted alcohol than when fresh, which must be considered in applying the above pharmacopoeial test.
Chemical Composition.—The official oil is the East Indian Oil of Santal, and according to Chapoteaut (1882), and Chapman and Burgess (1896), contains some santalal (C15H24O), presumed to be an aldehyde boiling at 300° C. (572° F.), and from 93 to 98 per cent of santalol (C15H26O), an alcohol boiling at 310° C. (590° F.). Phosphoric anhydride converts the latter into the hydrocarbon santalene (C15H24), which boils at 260° C. (500° F.). When oil of sandal-wood is heated to 150° C. (302° F.) with acetic anhydride, the acetic ester of santalol (C15H25O.COCH3) is formed. Upon this reaction is based a method of valuation for oil of sandal-wood (see Gildemeister and Hoffmann, Die Aetherischen Oele, 1899, p. 446).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Oil of santal is an active substance of agreeable odor employed in the treatment of subacute and chronic affections of mucous tissues, particularly gonorrhoea after the active symptoms have been mitigated. Chronic bronchitis, with fetid expectoration, chronic mucous diarrhoea, chronic inflammation of the bladder and pyelitis are also said to be benefited by it. It occasionally disturbs the gastro-intestinal tract, and, like copaiba, which it was introduced to supersede, it will occasion cutaneous eruptions. The dose ranges from 5 to 20 drops, in capsules or emulsion.
Related Products.—I. OTHER SANTAL-WOODS. The following species furnish varieties of santal-wood. (For Pterocarpus santalinus, see Santalum Rubrum.)
Santalum freycinetianum, Gaudin..Sandwich or Hawaiian Isles.
Santalum pyrularium, A. Gray..Sandwich or Hawaiian Isles.
Santalum yasi, Seeman..Fiji Islands.
Santalum austro-caledonicum, Veiell..New Caledonia.
Fusanus spicatus, R. Brown (Santalum spicatum, A. De Candolle; S. cygnorum, Miquel), Fragrant sandal-wood.—Australia. Not very fragrant, and shipped to China and India for the production of oil.
Fusanus acuminatus, R. Brown (Santalum Preissianum, Miquel; Santalum acuminatum, A. De Candolle), Native peach.—Australia. Edible fruit and seed. The nuts yield a fatty oil which is used as an illuminant. The wood is pleasantly fragrant, takes a very fine polish, and is much used in cabinet work,
Fusanus persicarius, F. von Mueller (Santalum persicarium, F. von Mueller), Native sandalwood.—Australia. Yields a grade of sandal-wood.
Santalum lanceolatum, R. Brown (S. oblongatum, R. Brown).—Australia. Sandal-wood of the colonists. Yields an agreeable purple fruit. Wood firm, yellow, and close-grained. Useful in cabinet work.
Santalum obtusifolium, R. Brown (Santalum ovatum, R. Brown), Sandal-wood.—Australia. Yields a portion of Australian sandal-wood.
The source of JAPANESE SANDAL-WOOD is unknown. WEST INDIAN SANDAL-WOOD is derived from Amyris balsamifera, Linné, not belonging to Santalaceae (Schimmel & Co., 1899).
The wood furnishing the last-named oil is called Venezuela sandal-wood.
The Eremophila mitchelli, Bentham (Nat. Ord.—Myropinae), is known in Queensland as Sandal-wood, Bastard sandal-wood, and Rosewood. It is very fragrant, beautifully grained, brown, and used for veneers. It is not a true sandal-wood. The so-called sandal-wood bark bears no relation to the sandal-woods, and is thought to be derived from a species of Myrospermum, or Myroxylon. A fluid resembling Peru balsam may be obtained from it. The bark is used as an altar incense.
II. OTHER SANTAL OILS. (See Schimmel & Co., Report, Oct., 1893; also Power's Essential Oils.).
OIL OF SANTAL (South Australian).—From Santalum Preissianum, Miquel (Fusanus acuminatus, R. Brown). Color, cherry-red; congeals at ordinary temperature; specific gravity, 1.022; constituent, a crystallizable alcohol, melting at 101° to 103° C. (213.8° to 217.4° F.); yield, 5 per cent.
OIL OF SANTAL (African).—Botanical source unknown. From Madagascar. Color, ruby-red; specific gravity, 0.969; consistence, like the official santal oil; yield, 3 per cent.
OIL OF SANTAL (West Indian).—(For botanical source, see Related Woods.) Specific gravity, 0.963 to 0.967; optical rotation, about +26°; yield, 1.5 to 3. 5 per cent.
OIL OF SANTAL (West Australian from Swan River).—From Santalum cygnorum, Miquel (Fusanus spicatus, R. Brown). Specific gravity, 0.953; optical rotation, +5° 20'; odor, resinous, empyreumatic, and sharp; yield, 2 per cent; seems to contain 75 per cent santalol (E. J. Parry, 1898).
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.