Sandalwood in the Face of Adversity
At Rocky Mountain Oils, our staff is full of passionate essential oil users. Courtney Burton is our Quality Control Manager and has been with us since 2014. Courtney moved to Utah from Missouri, and while she always loves going back home, she loves living among the mountains of Utah. As the QC Manager, Courtney has her hands in everything essential oil related from sourcing, to testing, to R&D. Something that Courtney helps RMO with is overseeing sourcing and making sure sources are environmentally stable and follow sustainable harvesting practices. Here is a great article from Courtney’s research.
Sourcing Sandalwood Sustainably
Sandalwood is such an incredible oil. It brings about feelings of warmth and calm with its earthy, woodsy scent. Even the color of this oil is beautiful with a golden hue. The history of Sandalwood is vast, as it has been used in spiritual and healing practices for thousands of years as well as for its woodworking potential. To many, it is even considered sacred. All of the amazing benefits that Sandalwood bring comes at a high price, however.
Did you know that it takes up to 15 years of growth before the Sandalwood tree can be considered ready to harvest for essential oil production? It takes even longer for the tree to come to full maturation at 60 years of growth. With such a long growth and maturation period, the beautiful Sandalwood tree has seen its fair share of unsustainable production. In the last 25 years, the wild harvesting of Sandalwood trees has decimated the number of trees standing in forests throughout India and many other areas of the world.
There are farms that are taking the actions necessary to ensure the survival of Sandalwood. For instance, one farm is planting 30% more trees than what is harvested for the production of essential oil. They are also using natural irrigation techniques by using fresh water from nearby water sources. This water is then also recycled from the distillation process to reduce the level of water usage. Even the energy used to distill the essential oil is from clean energy. Once the trees have been harvested, the remaining materials, such as the leaves and bark, are then spread onto the fields to act as a natural fertilizer to further the growth of the next generation of trees.
While all of these steps are time-consuming and expensive, they are crucial to ensuring the healthy population of the Sandalwood tree. If these types of actions can continue and spread across the globe, then Sandalwood will be around to enjoy for generations to come!
Article written by: Courtney Burton - Quality Control Manager