Sandalwood oil is an aromatic liquid used in perfume making for over centuries. Derived from the Santalum album plant, sandalwood, a coolant, has been used extensively in naturopathic and Ayurvedic medicine for skin and gastric complaints. Recent tests made by German researchers show that the oil could have a revolutionary new purpose – hair growth. And that’s because they believe hair follicles can ‘smell’ the aromatic scent of the oil.
Researchers believe that hair follicles are thought to contain ‘smell receptors’ that react to the aroma. This can stimulate the hair follicles and trigger the proteins in the hair to multiply. 8 Superfoods That Will Make Your Hair Stronger, Longer and Healthier.
As bizarre as the theory may sound, there are other organs that are capable of registering smell apart from the nose. Our ability to smell is an interaction between odorants and olfactory receptors in our body. And turns out, a lot of other body parts can sense smell such as the gut, the follicles and even sperm. How Fenugreek Seeds Can Prevent Hair Loss, Dandruff And Promote Thick Hair Growth.
The study titled "Olfactory receptor OR2AT4 regulates human hair growth" was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Applying the oil on the hair follicles can trigger the production of keratin, which is the building block of nails, skin and hair. The smell receptors on the follicles OR2AT4 respond to the scent of sandalwood.
As part of the study, they exposed the human scalp to artificial sandalwood-like odour called Sandalore, which is often added to cosmetics and perfumes. In just six days, the tissues that were treated with Sandalore started producing keratin. Scientists believe that this is because the oil blocks the genes that cause keratin cell death or apoptosis. The aromatic oil stimulates growth factors, necessary for cell multiplication.
Strangely, when the scientist exposed the hair follicles to the scent Phenirat, which has a rose-like smell, the hair growth stopped. That’s because unlike Sandalore, Phenirat is an OR2AT4 blocker.
Previous studies have already validated the healing effect sandalwood has on the skin. With the new study, researchers are excited about the prospects of using sandalwood for regrowing hair. Wearable LED Device Could Help Regrow Hair.
It’s strange to think that we may have smell receptors in body parts other than our nose. But scientists believe that it is an evolutionary trait that we once had and has been lost over time. The findings by some researchers earlier suggest that these receptors help in “smelling” and “tasting” things inside, which may have a health reason.