Pterocarpus Santalinus



Pterocarpus Santalinus at a glance

  • Type of tree found native to south India
  • Used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine
  • Extract has antioxidant and soothing properties
  • Oil has volatile fragrance components
  • Also known as red sandalwood

Pterocarpus Santalinus description

_Pterocarpus santalinus_, commonly known as red sandalwood, is a type of tree found in the Eastern Ghats Mountain range of south India. Various parts of the tree have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries (both ingested and applied topically). As with many plant extracts, different parts of _Pterocarpus santalinus_ yield different responses when applied to skin. Research finds that in addition to its natural antioxidant properties, the extract from this tree contains skin-beneficial ingredients such as calming bisabolol and moisturizing squalene. Studies have determined that the extract can help improve the appearance and feel of irritated skin. That said, the oil extracted from _Pterocarpus santalinus_ is comprised of volatile fragrance terpenes that can cause skin irritation. One study also found that a traditional bark paste made with water or honey used to treat acne resulted in itchy, red skin and mild swelling. Therefore, this is another case where it’s important to check a product’s ingredient list to see what part of the plant is used to see what benefits – or potential issues – it might have.

Pterocarpus Santalinus references

  • Journal of Ethnopharmacology, August 2021 and October 2021, ePublication
  • Journal of King Saud University – Science, March 2020, pages 1712-1717
  • Planta Medica, May 2019, pages 599-607

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.