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(Sandalwood family)


400 species in 30 genera are found in tropical and temperate regions. Some are semi-parasitic on other plants.

[Summary yet to be added]

Santalum album L.

The heartwood from this tree cultivated in India furnishes East Indian sandalwood oil (Oil of Santal). The oil is sometimes adulterated with West Indian sandalwood oil derived from Amyris balsamifera. Australian sandalwood oil is derived from Eucarya of this family.

Oral administration of Oil of Sandalwood produced a morbilliform eruption (Skin Gallery 1963). The wood is said to be toxic (Doerr 1913, Großmann 1920, Hanslian and Kadlec 1966) perhaps because the oil taken internally can produce eruptions. Oil of Sandalwood can produce dermatitis in some persons especially if present in high proportions in perfume (Greenberg and Lester 1954). No clinical case reports of dermatitis from the wood were found (Hausen 1970, Woods and Calnan 1976). The oil has been found to irritate some animal skins experimentally (Opdyke 1974). The complexities of perfumery are demonstrated in a case of suspected photo allergy reported by Starke (1967). A male patient developed photodermatitis after using an after-shave lotion containing commercial sandalwood oil. The sample tested contained several essential oils and the findings were ambiguous.

Oil of Santal is reportedly irritant to the cornea (Duke-Elder & MacFaul 1972b).

Thesium hystrix A.W.Hill

The volatile oil of the resin is irritant (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962).


  • Doerr, R. (1913) Allergie und Anaphylaxie. In: Handbuch der Pathogenen Mikroorganismen. ed. Kolle, W. and Wassermann, 2nd edn. Vol. 2 (11) p. 954. Fischer, Jena, Berlin. Cited by Woods and Calnan (1976).
  • Greenberg LA, Lester D (1954) Handbook of Cosmetic Materials. New York: Interscience Publishers Inc
  • Großmann J (1920) Gesundheitsschädliche Holzarten. Der Holzkäufer 17(100,101,102,103): 529-530, 535-536, 540-541, 545-546
  • Hanslian L, Kadlec K (1966a) Dřevo z hlediska hygienického (VII). Biologicky silně agresívní dřeviny. [Wood from a health perspective (VII). Biologically very aggressive trees]. Drevo 21: 157-160
  • Hausen, B.M. (1970) Untersuchungen über Gesundheitsschädigende Hölzer. Thesis, University of Hamburg.
  • Opdyke DLJ (1974) Fragrance raw materials monographs. Sandalwood oil, East Indian. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology 12(Suppl): 989-990 [doi] [url]
  • Skin Gallery (1963) Skin 2: 327.
  • Starke JC (1967) Photoallergy to sandalwood oil. Archives of Dermatology 96(1): 62-63 [doi] [url] [pmid]
  • Watt JM, Breyer-Brandwijk MG (1962) The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa. Being an account of their medicinal and other uses, chemical composition, pharmacological effects and toxicology in man and animal, 2nd edn. Edinburgh: E & S Livingstone [doi] [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]
  • Woods B, Calnan CD (1976) Toxic woods. British Journal of Dermatology 95(Suppl 13): 1-97 [doi] [url] [url-2] [pmid]

Richard J. Schmidt

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