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Biologist (London). 2000 Feb;47(1):31-4.
Sandalwood: the royal tree.
School of Environmental Biology, Mulga Research Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.
Sandalwood is the most valuable tree in the world. As with gold, platinum and diamonds, it owes its value to a demand based on ritual, fashion and scarcity. It is the stuff of mystery and intrigue, and fortunes can still be made from it.
The Legend of Tan-Gun
Legend has it that Hwan-ung, the son of Hwan-in (who was the God of All and the ruler of Heaven), yearned to live on Earth among the valleys and the mountains. His father sent him and 3,000 helpers to rule Earth and provide humans with great happiness.
Hwan-ung descended to Mount T'aebaeksan on the border between Manchuria and what is now North Korea. He named the place Shinshi, City of God. Along with his ministers of clouds, rain, and wind, he instituted laws and moral codes and taught the humans various arts, medicine, and agriculture.
A tiger and a bear living in a cave together prayed to become human. Upon hearing their prayers, Hwan-ung called them to him and gave them 20 cloves of garlic and a bunch of mugwort. He then ordered them to only eat this sacred food and remain out of the sunlight for 100 days. The tiger shortly gave up and left the cave. However, the bear remained true and after 21 days was transformed into a woman.
The bear-woman was very grateful and made offerings to Hwan-ung. However, lacking a companion she soon became sad and praved beneath a sandalwood tree to be blessed with a child. Hwan-ung, moved by her prayers, took her for his wife and soon she gave birth to a handsome son. They named him Tan-gun, meaning "Altar Prince" or sandalwood.
Tan-gun developed into a wise and powerful leader and in 2333 BC moved to P'yongyang and established the Choson ("Land of the Morning Calm") Kingdom. Finally, at the age of 1,908, he returned to T'aebaeksan where he became a mountain god.
Sandalwood Mala Beads
Sandalwood has an uninterrupted sacred 4,000 year history, being mentioned in ancient Sanskrit and Chinese manuscripts. The Sandalwood is a small, evergreen tree native to tropical Asia. It takes a tree 50 years before it will produce quality essential oil. The sacred oil is one of the main remedies in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. The antiseptic oil is soothing to throat conditions, skin irritations, stress, depression and nausea. Sandalwood is very calming and cooling, it soothes pitta dosha and helps one to overcome the senses. It is said to attract positive subtle vibrations, bring clear perception and can be used in worshiping any deity. These sandalwood beads are ethically and legally brought through Indian customs with the necessary approval from Wildlife for Sandalwood items