Planta Med 2006; 72(9): 792-800
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-941544
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

East Indian Sandalwood and α-Santalol Odor Increase Physiological and Self-Rated Arousal in Humans

Eva Heuberger1 , 2 , Tapanee Hongratanaworakit3 , Gerhard Buchbauer1
  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Diagnostics, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • 2Smell and Taste Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
  • 3Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Srinakharinwirot University, Nakorn-nayok, Thailand
Further Information

Publication History

Received: January 20, 2006

Accepted: April 25, 2006

Publication Date:
19 June 2006 (online)


In Ayurvedic medicine, East Indian Sandalwood is an important remedy for the treatment of both somatic and mental disorders. In this investigation, the effects of inhalation of East Indian Sandalwood essential oil and its main compound, α-santalol, on human physiological parameters (blood oxygen saturation, respiration rate, eye-blink rate, pulse rate, skin conductance, skin temperature, surface electromyogram, and blood pressure) and self-ratings of arousal (alertness, attentiveness, calmness, mood, relaxation and vigor) were studied in healthy volunteers. Compared to either an odorless placebo or α-santalol, Sandalwood oil elevated pulse rate, skin conductance level, and systolic blood pressure. α-Santalol, however, elicited higher ratings of attentiveness and mood than did Sandalwood oil or the placebo. Correlation analyses revealed that these effects are mainly due to perceived odor quality. The results suggest a relation between differences in perceived odor quality and differences in arousal level.


Dr. Eva Heuberger

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Diagnostics

University of Vienna

Althanstr. 14

1090 Vienna


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