Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat
Rakta Chandan (Hindi) is known by different names like Red Sandalwood in English and its botanical name being Pterocarpus santalinus. The red sandalwood tree is valued for its red hardwood, but the wood is non-aromatic.
Rakta Chandana: Anatomy And Distribution
The red sandalwood tree is a slow-growing deciduous tree and is endemic to the eastern ghats of South India. It can grow up to the height of 8 m. Red sandalwood has the ability to grow even on degraded soils but, it is not frost tolerant. The tree is mostly used as a source of timber and red dye. The overexploitation of the species had led the IUCN to declare the red sandalwood as an endangered species, but now it is listed as near threatened.
Uses And Properties
Rakta Chandana is considered as one of the most effective medicines for skin disorders. However, it has a number of uses:
The timber of the red sandalwood tree is extremely rare and expensive. It was majorly used by the Chinese Qing dynasty and was known as zitan. Furniture constructed out of the red sandalwood is not common as the tree has a slow growth rate. Its rarity is the reason that it is quite popular among smugglers.
Making Musical Instruments
Many of the musical instruments are made of wood and each instrument is made of one specific wood. Shamisen, a Japanese instrument is made of the red sandalwood. The Bridge is yet another musical instrument made of red sandalwood.
It is also used as a flavouring agent in alcoholic beverages.
Red sandalwood has a number of medicinal properties and is also revered by the ancient medicine systems like Ayurveda for its properties.
Red sandalwood is a storehouse of the following nutrients:
Its many medicinal properties include:
- Anti hyperglycaemic
- Anti haemorrhage
- Can cure dysentery
Ayurvedic Properties or Gunadharma of Rakta Chandan
- Physical property (Guna) – light and dry
- Taste (Rasa) – sweet and bitter
- Potency (Veerya) – shita or cool
- Conversion after digestion (Vipaka) – pungent after digestion
- Effect on doshas – balances Kapha and Pitta doshas
It can be beneficial in the treatment of:
- Acid reflux
- Cough and cold
- Blood impurity
- Nose bleeding
- Eye diseases
- Heavy menstruation
- Urinary tract disorders
Rakta Chandana Benefits
With rising pollution levels and improper eating habits where junk food consumption is on a rise, skin problems have become a very common issue. There is no time to take care of the skin which is often affected by the floating particulate matter or the poisonous gases released by vehicles. Rakta Chandan or Red Sandalwood comes to the rescue. It has such amazing properties that it can not only help in getting beautiful skin but also has medicinal properties which help in curing numerous skin-related disorders.
Provides Nourishment To The Skin And Gives A Radiant Complexion
With a decrease of nutritious food in our palette, the skin is unable to get the nutrition it should be getting. Poor skin nutrition also results because of poor functioning of the digestive system and poor nutrient absorption. Our skin also ends up losing its sheen, ending up looking dull and lifeless. Application or consumption of red sandalwood can work wonders and help in the restoration of young and wonderful skin.
Suggested Remedy: For improving the general skin nourishment, one must combine one to two teaspoons of red sandalwood powder to their regular oil and apply it regularly before bathing on their whole body.
For a radiating and glowing skin, one can make an amazing do it yourself red sandalwood mask. To make the mask, combine one tablespoon Rakta Chandana powder with half tablespoon turmeric powder and two tablespoon curd or fresh raw milk. One can also mix rosewater in this mixture. Apply this paste on your face and let it rest for a few minutes before washing it off.
Can Make Your Acne Disappear
Rakta Chandan is a very effective acne cure. It not only works externally but internally too giving a foolproof cure. When taken orally, rakta Chandan works as a blood purifier, thus supplying pure, clean and nutritious blood to the skin which helps in getting rid of acne. It is recommended to consume half a gram or of rakta Chandan in combination with a teaspoon of honey or water once or twice a day. This dosage should be continued for at least fifteen days for best results.
DIY Red Sandalwood face mask for acne
Rakta Chandan face mask can be easily prepared at home and it works effectively to remove acne or scars.
- Red sandalwood powder
- Neem powder
Mix the dry ingredients (red sandalwood and neem powder) in an equal proportion. Now mix the required amount of yoghurt in the dry ingredients to create a fine paste. Apply this paste on the affected areas and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before washing it off.
Treats Skin Pigmentation
Melanin is a pigment present in our skin and is responsible for giving the skin its colour. People with more of melanin have the skin of a darker shade whereas people with little melanin are too fair. However, the problem occurs when melanin production is not even along the skin. This means that at some places the skin might be dark due to too much melanin, whereas at some places it might be light due to less melanin. Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which dark patches develop in the skin.
Apart from this, scars and blemishes also make the skin tone irregular. And these conditions are not only serious because they spoil our look but also because they can lead to the occurrence of more serious conditions.
Suggested Remedy: Rakta Chandan proves to be an effective remedy to balance the skin tone and remove pigmentation. Make a paste of red sandalwood powder, few drops of almond oil and a few drops of coconut oil. Apply this paste on your skin regularly for best results.
Eczema is a skin condition in which patches of skin can become dry, rough and itchy. The skin at these places might even start cracking and peeling off. Mainly a rash occurs and blisters might even appear. Though the condition is not a rare one, yet there are different types of eczema, some of which might be perilous too. Also, it is to be noted that there is no cure for eczema but it can only be managed.
Suggested Remedy: Mix camphor with red sandalwood powder and add a few drops of water to make a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area regularly. It provides relief from redness, itchiness and inflammation.
Exfoliates The Skin
Exfoliation is a process in which dead cells accumulated on the skin surface are removed making way for new cells. Although the skin is exfoliated itself, yet some dead cells remain on the skin surface which makes the skin look rough and dull.
To make an exfoliating mask:
Mix one tablespoon of red sandalwood powder with two tablespoons of mashed ripe papaya. Rub your skin with this paste lightly and then wash off.
Very Good For Oily Skin
Though any kind of extreme skin type is difficult to manage, be it oily or dry; but still, oily skin brings about little more problems. It provides ground for microbes to flourish and might lead to acne breakouts especially in monsoon and summer seasons. Oily skin is the result of too much sebum production by the sebaceous glands. Sebum is created to make the skin hydrated but too much of sebum is also not good. Red sandalwood proves to be effective in case of people with oily skin as it helps in absorbing all the extra oil.
Suggested Remedy: All one needs to do to manage their oily skin is to create a paste of lemon juice and red sandalwood powder. Apply it on your skin whenever you feel too much oil.
Removal Of Tan
All of us love sunny days but too much of exposure in the sun can give us a tan which doesn’t leave. And it’s not just about the tan, there are many associated problems too which can occur due to harsh sun rays. There might be an itchy rash or even sunburn. Sunburn can be called the higher stage of a suntan as it causes blisters and peeling off of the skin. If affected by any of these, one must look forward to using Rakta Chandana for relief.
For removing skin tan – Mix equal amounts of red sandalwood powder and plain curd and apply regularly on the affected area.
For treating sunburn – Apply a mixture of tablespoons red sandalwood powder, 4 tablespoon cocoa oil and 2 tablespoon almond oil on the affected area. Let it rest for some time before you wash it off.
Say Goodbye To Premature Ageing
Premature ageing is becoming common due to our sedentary lifestyle and too much stress. One can make an easy red sandalwood facemask at home applying which will not only keep the ageing skin at bay but will also provide calmness.
Suggested Remedy: All one needs to do is to mix red sandalwood powder with half the amount of chamomile tea. Apply this facemask and let it rest for sometime before you wash it off.
A Good Massage Agent
A massage is one of the best methods to relax one’s body and mind. And there could be no better way than using a calming and soothing agent like red sandalwood in your massage oil preparation. In fact, many reflexology centre’s use it as one of the ingredients. But you can even do this at home by just mixing some red sandalwood powder with your regular massage oil. The oil not only provides relief from day to day stress but can also help in curing a number of skin conditions.
Cures Skin Rashes
Rakta Chandan’s anti-inflammatory properties can help in providing relief from many kinds of skin rashes. The easiest way would be to mix red sandalwood powder in any regular oil you use and keep applying on the affected area. Yet another method is to mix some camphor and water in red sandalwood powder and apply this paste regularly on the affected areas.
Red Sandalwood: Side Effects and Precautions
Rakta Chandan, if used in limited quantity, does not show any side effects. Pregnant and lactating women are recommended to obtain a medical prescription before using red sandalwood.
There is a need to take precaution as red sandalwood shows interaction with Lithium. It can lead to a buildup of Lithium in the body. Take proper medical advice before using this herb especially for internal uses.