CANDANA (Santalum album)
Candana is one of the best herbs useful for cosmetic purposes, as it is very cooling and soothing. It has been used in India since centuries and has its own place as a holy herb. The priests (Brahmins) anoint their forehead with candana paste at the time of worship and religious functions. In the ancient Indian scriptures, tere is repeated mention of lovers rubbing each other’s bodies with candana paste, to transmute sexual energy into higher centres. In Ayurvedic scriptures, the great sage Caraka has categorized candana as dahaprasamana – relieves burning sensation on theskin, angamarda prasamana – relieves bodyache, trsna nigrahana – relieves thirst, varnya improves complexion of the skin, kandughna – anti-pruritic and visaghna anti-toxin.. Aharsi Susruta has mentioned it as vimlapana – cleanses and alleviates oedema. Candana is also known to possess properties like jvaraghna – antipyretic, mutrakrcchraghna – anti – dysuria, rakta stambhaka- arrests bleeding and pitta rogaghna – alleviates diseases due to vitiation of pitta dosa.
Candana is indigenous to Mysore and neighbouring districts of southern part of India. It is a small tree, 20-30 feet high, with numerous, opposite, slender, drooping branches. The leaves are oval, ovate-oval or lanceolate, opposite, smooth on both sides. The flowers are brownish red, inodorous in terminal axillary cymes. The fruit, about the size of a pea and seeds solitary, hard and globose, The plant is cultivated widely in Mysore state, by the Government of India.
The botanical name of candana is Santalum album and it belongs to family Santalaceae. The heartwood contains a volatile oil 2.5-6% , a dark resin and tannic acid. Santalol is the principle constituent (90%) of the oil It is a mixture of two isomers known as santol and santol, which account for most of the odour of sandalwood oil. Seeds yield 55% of a dark red viscid fixed oil containing stearloic as its methyl ester from oil. Five new sesqueter pene bisabolanes-bisabolenols A,B,C,D and E are isolated from Chinese sandal wood oil.
Candana is bitter and sweet in taste , pungent in the post digestive and has cold potency. It alleviates kapha and pitta dosa, but aggravates the vata dosa. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is cool, astringent, and fragrant in properties and is useful in diseases like raktapitta, thirst, burning sensation, fever, vomiting and skin ailments.
Two varieties candana dvayam of candana viz. sveta candana (white) Santalum album and rakta candana (red) pterocarpus santalinus, are mentioned.. The third, yellow variety, is also cited (Kaiyadeva Nighantu). The white variety, which is fragrant, is commonly used as candana. The heartwood and its oil is used for medicinal purpose. It is useful both, internally as well externally. Headache due to vitiated pitta, is relieved with its application of paste on the forehead. The burning sensation of the skin is mitigated with its external and internal use. In various skin disorders like scabies, eczema. Erysipelas etc, the external application is useful. Candana is one of the best deodorants and also improves the skin complexion. It also relieves the itching, burning and redness of the skin. The medicated oil of candana is benevolent in ear infections. In acne vulgaris, it is effective as soothing and cooling. The wounds are dressed with candana paste by itself. In intense burning on the skin, the combination of candana and camphor (karpura) and khus (usira) works well as an external application. Candana oil by itself or with lemon juice is applied in scabies with great benefit.
Internally, Candan is used in vast range of diseases. It is an effective cholegogue and liver stimulant, hence used as an adjunct in jaundice. The bleeding per stools in dysentery, is curbed with its internal use. In acute gastritis, the combination of candana and amlaki (Phyllanthus emblica) is given along with honey. It ceases the irritation of gastric mucosa and burning sensation in the stomach, as it digests ama and pacifies pitta. Candana is salutary to alleviate the excessive thirst. If the thirst is associated with dehydration, the herbs like musta, usira and kamala are better to use. Candana oil is effective in chronic cough associated with haemoptysis and halitosis. The cold infusion of candana or a mild decoction is extremely beneficial in raktapitta. The mild decoction mitigates the fever due to vitiated pitta, associated with the symptoms like thirst, burning sensation, vomiting, delirium etc. The pulp of candana (kalka), with ghee, honey and sugar is beneficial to the heart . In eruptive fevers and various skin diseases, along with external application, the decoction of candana, guduci and sunthi of candana, musta and kiratatikta is very useful. In menorrhagia and leucorrhea, it is useful, as it heals and cleanses the cervical ulcers. The urinary ailments like burning micturition, haematuria, gonorrhea are effectively treated with the combination of candana and kankola (Piper cubeba). The medicated water, sadangodaka, prepared with six herbs viz. candana, musta, sunthi, usira, black roots of usira and parpata is a digestant and alleviates the fever and thirst.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Candanadi vati
- Candana curna
- Candanabalaksadi taila