Jump to Navigation

We've moved! The new address is http://www.henriettes-herb.com - update your links and bookmarks!

Oleum Santali. U. S., Br. Oil of Santal.

Ol. Santal. [Oil of Sandalwood, Santalwood Oil]

Related entry: Sandalwood

"A. volatile oil distilled from the wood of Santalum album Linné (Fam. Santalaceae), yielding not less than 90 per cent. of alcohols, calculated as santalol [C15H26O = 222.21]. Preserve it in well-stoppered, amber-colored bottles, in a cool place, protected from light." U. S. "Oil of Sandal Wood is the oil distilled from the wood of Santalum album, Linn." Br.

Oleum Ligni Santali; Oleum Santali Flavi; Oil of Sandal Wood; Huile volatile (Essence) de Santal, Fr.; Oleum Santali, P. G.; Ostindisches Sandelholzöl, Santelöl, G; Esencia de sandalo, Sp.

Under the name of sandalwood various drugs of diverse origin and character find their way into commerce. Of these, the wood of the Pterocarpus santalinus is described in this book under its official name of Santalum Rubrum, or Red Saunders. Sandal wood bark, which is believed by H. Stieren to be obtained from some species of Myroxylon or Myrospermum, is described as occurring in irregular, more or less smooth or unevenly corrugated pieces, of a light, whitish-cinnamon color, with dark, hard epidermis, and of an agreeable, custard-like odor, and an aromatic, slightly acrid, balsamic, bitterish taste. From it Stieren obtained over fifteen per cent. of a clear substance resembling Peruvian balsam. This bark is used for burning in churches as a substitute for frankincense, and bears no relation to sandalwood proper. (P. J., xv, 680.) A sandal wood is yielded by the Fusanus spicatus (S. Cygnorum) and F. acuminatus (S. acuminatum) of Australia, whence it is shipped in large quantities to China. An oil distilled from this wood, now coming into the European market, is said to be less odorous than the official product.

Other varieties of sandal wood are collected in the Hawaiian Islands from Santalum Freycinetianum Gaud., and S. pyrularium A. Gray;in the Fiji Islands from S. Yasi Seem.;in New Caledonia from S. austrocaledonicum Vieillb.;and in Queensland from Eremophila Mitchelli Benth. (Fam. Myoporaceae). For an account of the sandal wood oil industry of Western Australia, see C. D., 1898, 708. For elaborate microscopic descriptions of the sandal-woods, method of obtaining the oily etc., see various papers in the P. J., vol. xvi; also Bull. Pharm,., 1895, 55. West Australian sandalwood is derived, according to Parry (C. D., 1898, 11), from four species of Santalum, S. Cygnorum Miq. (Fusanus spicatus R. Br.), S. lanceolatum Schlecht (F. spicatus R. Br.), S. acuminatum A.DC. (F. acuminatus R. Br.), and S. persicarum F. Muell. (F. persicarius F. Muell.), Venezuelan sandal wood) the source of the so-called West Indian sandal wood of commerce, is, according to E. M. Holmes (P. J., lxii), obtained from the Schimmelia oleifera Holmes, now recognized as Amyris Balsamifera L. (Fam. Rubaceae). A tree-like shrub, Osyris tenuifolia Engl., belonging to the Santalaceae, and a native of East Africa, is said to yield a wood which is very similar to that of the genuine Indian sandal wood. (P. J., 60.)

The Santalum album, which yields the official oil, is a small tree twenty or thirty feet high, a native of the mountainous portions of India and of, various islands of the Eastern Archipelago, but cultivated in India for the sake of its oil. J. L. Pigot furnished an interesting account of sandalwood cultivation accompanied by a map. (Schimmel's Report, 1900.)

Oil of santal is distilled in the United States, Germany, England, and India, the ordinary method of steam distillation being applied after the wood has been reduced to small particles by chipping or grinding. According to the Indian Pharmacopoeia the yield of oil is about 2.5 per cent. Oil of santal is habitually adulterated, castor oil and other fixed oils being added, and on the continent of Europe by the volatile oil of cedar, which is obtained by distilling the chips left in the making of lead pencils. Chapoteaut (Bull. Soc. Chim., 37, p. 353) found two constituents, one of which he calls santalol, C15H26O, boiling at 310° C. (590° F.), and the other santalal, C15H24O, boiling at 300° C. (572° F'.). Both of these are decomposed by distilling over phosphoric anhydride, the one yielding C15H24, boiling point 260° C. (500° F.), and the other C15H22, boiling point 245° C. (473° F.). Sesquiterpenes are also believed to be present in oil of santal. A specimen of oil of santal from South Australia, examined by Schimmel & Co. (Schim. Rep., Oct., 1891), afforded a white crystalline principle, melting at 104° to 105° C. (219.2°-221° F.), which crystallized out in the oil. Parry (P. J., lv, p. 118) found that a portion of the oil was saponifiable, so he assumed the presence of esters of santalol.

In a number of specimens examined by Holmes (P. J., xvi, 821) the sp. gr. varied from 0.96 to 0.99. The sp. gr. of the oil of cedar wood, according to Ince, is 0.948. A large percentage of it may be added to the oil of santal without affecting its density sufficiently to be detected. Holmes states that the presence of more than 10 per cent. of the cedar oil can be recognized through the different solubilities of the oils in alcohol. (See P. J., xvi, 820.) R. A. Cripps, after a thorough examination of the oils in the London market (see P. J., 1892, 461), gives this test: "Two drops of the oil added to six drops of nitric acid, sp. gr. 1.5, on a white tile, should give a yellow to bright reddish-brown coloration, without any green, indigo, or violet tint at the edges during five minutes. For complete saponification in alcoholic solution, it requires not more than 1 per cent. of potassium hydrate." (See also A. J. P., 1893, 20; Schim. Rep., Oct., 1893; P. J., 1895, 118; West. Drug., 1897, 262.) West India oil can be distinguished from the genuine oil by its deviating the plane of polarization to the right instead of to the left. (Pharmacographia.) In two specimens of oil of santal, sp. gr. 0.9649 and 0.9573, F. H. Alcock found strong fluorescence. (P. J., 1886, 923.)

Oil of amyris is the name commercially applied to the "so-called" West Indian sandal-wood oil. This adulterant and substitute (which may be added in amounts up to 5 per cent. without fear of detection) has a sp. gr. of 0.955 to 0.965, an optical rotation of + 25° to + 30° and contains from 30 to 40 per cent. of alcohols capable of being estimated and calculated as santalol by the official method of assay. One of its principal characteristics in a state of purity is its insolubility in 70 per cent. alcohol. Vansoden (Ph. Ztg., 1900, 45, 878) reports the presence of a sesquiterpene alcohol named by him amyrol, and having the composition C15H26O.

Uses.—The oil of sandalwood is used largely as a perfume. In medicine its chief use is in gonorrheal urethritis, although it is sometimes employed in chronic bronchitis and cystitis. Its general antibacterial power is comparatively weak, but it has special relations towards certain micro-organisms; thus in the experiments of Jordan (B. M. J., Sept. 13, 1913) twenty minims of oil of sandal wood three times a day had practically no effect on the growth of B. coli in the urine, but markedly retarded the multiplication of staphylococci. It was first recommended in medicine by Thomas B. Henderson who, however, is said to have used the oil of S. myrtifolium.

Dose, five to twenty minims (0.6-1.3 mils), in emulsion, or in capsule, three or four times a day.


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



Main menu 2