Surprising Industries that Love Sandalwood

Sandalwood is an incredible resource. It can be used in a myriad of different ways, lending itself to a surprisingly diverse range of industries in the process. Whether that’s through its wood being used to create intricately carved furniture, the sawdust being ground to a fine powder for skincare products, the fruits being toasted and sold to the food industry, or the flowers having the oil extracted to create relaxing massage oil, the sandalwood plant can be use from root to leaf tip.

These are some of the industries that love sandalwood the most.

The Poker Industry

Sandalwood is a popular ingredient in massage oils.
Sandalwood is a popular ingredient in massage oils.

In events where the tension is high and competitors need to be focused for hours, such as in sports like chess and poker, relaxing a bit can literally change the game.

At the World Series of Poker, there are some of the most famous names from the top of the leaderboard, each playing for a chance to win millions. When the stakes are so high it’s natural for a bit of tension to build, particularly in the shoulders. It’s for this reason that you’ll find no less than 400 massage therapists, making their way around the tables at the World Series. They offer a welcome break from the tension of the game.

Although some can rely on just their hands to relax players, a handful of the real professionals require a little more help to calm down. The soothing and warming qualities of sandalwood oil are able to provide just this, making it a favourite amongst massage therapists, particularly for professional poker players.

Witches and Wizards

Although we tend to think of witchcraft and wizardry as the stuff of tales, there is actually a thriving industry built around these practices. Many people believe that sandalwood has magical properties, which make it very popular in these circles.

Depending on the branch of magic, sandalwood can be used for healing, purification, consecration, or just for its scent. The smell of sandalwood is believed to help prevent the brain from wandering during meditation and is therefore frequently burned as incense. Some people believe that if you write your wish onto a piece of sandalwood and allow it to burn, your intention will be carried to the skies on the smoke and your wish will be granted.

Whichever reason a magical practitioner chooses to use sandalwood, there’s certainly a whole host of different applications for this incredible plant.

The Restaurant Industry

We humans mostly grow plants for food, so it’s unusual that it’s taken us so long to realise how delicious the fruits of the sandalwood tree are. In Western Australia many sandalwood trees are grown, and an enterprising couple discovered that the nut the tree bears is a real delicacy.

Connie and Marty Winch-Buist grow a large number of trees, they harvest the nuts, roast them, and sell them to restaurants. Interestingly, many sandalwood plantations don’t do this, simply because it’s a secret of the aboriginal people how delicious these nuts are.

Although the sandalwood tree grows well in Australia, as it does not require much water and is very resistant to pests, it still takes a long time to reach maturity. The main benefit for the Winch-Buists is that instead of having to wait until a tree matures to be able to harvest its wood and roots, they can now achieve a stable income each year through the harvest of the nuts. The texture of the nut is distinctly different to most nuts, but the flavour is reminiscent of macadamia – a hugely expensive nut.

Although the Winch-Buists’ client base is currently small, one chef that they sell to is truly enamored with the product and thinks it could go far. He suggests that home cooks can break down the nuts into a crumb with a mixture of herbs and use it to coat fish. Vegetarians could instead roast the nuts and crumble them over grilled asparagus, delicious.