Known as the ‘king of woods’, this precious species has a long and sacred history. For thousands of years, it has been used as a traditional medicine or to calm the mind with its distinctly woody scent. Even Cleopatra knew of its antioxidant and moisturising properties, using sandalwood as a fragrance and an ingredient in her cosmetics.
Kings and ancient cultures prized sandalwood, along with gold and jade, for its ability to elevate mere mortals to godly status. In ancient Egypt, sandalwood oil was used in burning rituals to venerate their gods, while Hindu priests made an Indian sandalwood paste to decorate the icons of deities.
It is estimated that around 90% of sandalwood is sourced from illegally harvested means. At Quintis, our sandalwood is ethically grown and traceable throughout the product's lifecycle.
In 1792, the Sultan of Mysore declared Santalum album trees to be crown property. No commoner could grow sandalwood tree themselves, a ban that would remain in place until 2002. Today, whilst individuals can grow the trees, it is still illegal to cut and harvest the wood from a sandalwood tree unless permission has been granted by the Indian government.
Global supply has dwindled whilst market demand has continued to grow, creating a surge in pricing and an illegal black-market industry. It is estimated that 90% of Indian sandalwood in the marketplace is sourced from illegally harvested wood in India and Indonesia, with much of it obtained from lower quality immature trees. Adulteration is rife with unscrupulous traders combining sandalwood products with other wood types and secretly passing it off as authentic Indian sandalwood.
Poaching and over-harvesting now threaten the survival of a species. Indian Sandalwood is on the verge of extinction, placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. We are proud to have pioneered the establishment of Indian sandalwood plantations to secure this precious species’ future.