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Raktachandan Red Sandalwood Uses, Research, Side Effects

Raktachandan – Pterocarpus santalinus is used in Ayurveda for the treatment of eye disorders, sexual disorders, Pitta disorders such as nasal bleeding, menorrhagia etc. 
Botanical name- Pterocapus santalinus Linn. f
Family- Fabaceae

Pterocarpus santalinus

Properties, part used, dosage

Raktachandana medicinal Properties
Rakta Chandan is quite similar to sandalwood in its qualities.
Guna (qualities) – Guru – heavy to digest, Rooksha – Dryness
Rasa (taste) – Tikta – bitter, Madhura – sweet
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Sita – cold potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha.
Prabhava – Special effect –
Chakshushya – improves vision, good for eyes, useful in eye disorders
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor

Raktachandan Lobular red sandalwood prayer beads bracelets

Part used- heart wood
Dosage-Powder 3-6 g, in divided doses per day.
Kashaya (Decoction) – 50- 100ml
Taila (oil) – 2- 25 drops

Rakta Chandan Uses and benefits:
Sheetala – coolant
Rooksha – dry
Tiktabha – slightly bitter
Hladana – satiating, cooling, nourishing
Rakshoghna – Useful against psychological imbalances and disorders

White Vs Red Sandalwood

As per Sharangdhara Samhita, if you are preparing herbal powder for oral intake, or fermented infusion (Asava), or herbal ghees or herbal oils, white variety is to be used by default. 

Whereas if you are preparing cream for external application or herbal decoction for oral intake, then red variety is the default choice. 

This is probably based on the phyto-chemical affinity of the two types to different mediums — water, fat and alcohol.

Sanskrit verse

Lal chandan uses


Indicated in –
Shrama – tiredness, fatigue
Shosha – emaciated person
Visha – Toxic conditions, poisoning
Kapha disorders
Trushna – excessive thirst
Pittasra – Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Chardi – vomiting
Jwara – fever – Its paste made with water can be applied on forehead and body to reduce the temperature. Its decoction (herbal tea) is also beneficial.
Bhuta – psychiatric disorders
Kasa – cough, cold
Bhranti – dizziness, vertigo, schizophrenia
Jantu – intestinal parasite infection

Red sandalwood for acne:
Oral intake of half a gram once or twice a day with honey or water, for 15 days is useful in treating acne due to Rakta Dosha – blood vitiation.
In cases of acne with pus, red sandalwood powder is mixed with ghee or honey to make a paste and is applied over acne / acne scars for 1 week time.  

External application, use in pregnancy

External application – Its heartwood powder is made into paste with water and applied over face as face pack for 5 – 10 minutes, for glowing skin and to heal acne.

Does it leave red tinge on face, when the powder is made to paste and applied externally?
Yes, it may leave slight red tinge on face. If it is bothering you, then make a very dilute paste with it, just 3 pinches of powder mixed with 2 teaspoons of water and apply in the evening.
Leave it on face for 10 minutes, wash off with water and soap.

Raktachandana usage during pregnancy:
A cup of milk is added with a pinch (1 gram) of red sandalwood powder and is administered to pregnant mother for a period of 2 – 4 weeks time. Because it balances Pitta dosha and checks bleeding, this remedy is used in cases of threatened abortion and unexplained bleeding during pregnancy. But in traditional practice, its usage is limited to just 2 – 4 weeks only, during pregnancy.

Traditional substitutes

Traditional substitutes for red sandalwood:
As per Bhavaprakasha, Camphor is the substitute when sandalwood is not available. When both Sandalwood and camphor are unavailable, red sandalwood can be used as substitute.
Read more – White sandalwood qualities and usage
Usheera – Vetiveria zizanioides is the substitute when red sandalwood is not available.

Default usage in Ayurveda medicines:
If in a verse, sandalwood is mentioned, if the verse is explaining about formula of a Churna (herbal powder), Leha (linctus, herbal jam), Asava (fermented medicines) or Sneha (medicated oil or ghee), then white sandalwood is used.

If in a verse, sandalwood is mentioned, if the verse is explaining about formula of a Kashaya (herbal tea, herbal decoction) or Lepa (paste / cream for external application), then red sandalwood (rakthachandanam) is used by default.

Spiritual significance

In Spiritual and religious practice:
In coastal Karnataka, its powder is mixed with water and used in the religious practice.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Classical categorization

Sushruta- Patoladi, sarivadi, Priyangvadi
Vagbhata- Patoladi
kaiyadeva Nighantu – Oshadhi Varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu, Raja Nighantu – Chandanadi Varga
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Karpooradi Varga

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanskrit synonyms of Red sandal:
Raktachandan, Raktasaara, Raktanga – red colored wood
Ranjana – used in coloring of cloths
Harichandan – used in religious practices
Tamra Sara, Tamradru – coppery red wood
Kshudra Chandana – similar to white sandalwood in medicinal properties, but is slightly inferior.
Tilaparna, Raktasara,
Pravalaphala – Fruits resembles Pravala (coral)


Grows in South Indian states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andrapradesh, upto an Elevation of 3000 ft altitude.


Small tree grows upto 25 ft.
Heartwood is dark purple in colour, and is very hard.
Leaves – Compound with 3 – 5 leaflets Pale beneath and clothed with fine hairs.
Inflorescence – Few flowered axillary or terminal raceme
Fruit – Pod with short stalk.

Ayurveda medicines

Ayurveda medicines with Raktachandana as ingredient:
(click on the medicine names to know more about them)
Asanadi Kashayam
used in the treatment of diabetes, skin diseases and obesity etc.
Drakshovin Special tonic – It is a proprietary Ayurveda medicine, manufactured by Shree Dhootapapeshwar Limited, Mumbai, India. It is used in treatment of anaemia, indigestion, fatigue etc.
Guduchyadi Kashayam – Used in the treatment of fever with burning sensation, vomiting etc.
Raktansoo Tablets – It is a proprietary Ayurveda medicine, manufactured by Ajmera Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. Indore. It is used in the treatment of skin detoxification.
Tarunarka Rasa – It is used in the treatment of acute and chronic fever.
Chandanadi Lauh – mainly used in the treatment of chronic fever. This medicine is more commonly used in North Indian Ayurveda practice.

Research, side effects

Physio-chemical analysis

Pterocarpus santalinus side effects:
It is not recommended in amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea.

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
English name- red sandal wood, red sanders
Hindi name- Lalchandan, Rakt Chandan, lal chandan, Ragat Chandan,Rukhto Chandan, Undum
Telugu name- Erra chananam, Perra Chandanamu, Agaru gandhamu, Errachandanam, Rakta ghandham
Gujarati name – Ratanjali, Lal Chandan
Malayalam name- Tilapaparni, Patrangam, Raktachandanam
Kannada name- Rakta Chandana, Honne
Tamil name – Shivappu, Atti, Chensandanam, Semmaram, Sivaffu Chandanam
Arabian name – Sandal Ahamar
Parsi name – Sandal Surh
Bengali name – Rakta Chandan;
Marathi name – Tambada Chandan,  Raktachandan;

Chemical composition

Raktachandan – red sanders chemical composition-
Pterocarpol, Santalin A,B pterocarptriol, Pterocarpodiolone, Lupenediol, Pterostilbene, Homopterocarpin

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