Red sanders, red saunders, red sandalwood, Rakt Chandan, and saunderswood, is a species of Pterocarpus endemic to the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India. This tree is valued for the rich red colour of its wood. The wood is traditionally considered not aromatic. However, in recent years there has been a marked uptick in the use of red sandalwood as a component of incense, especially in the west. The tree is not to be confused with the aromatic sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
Red sanders, belongs to the family Fabaceae. It is endemic to India and considered globally endangered, with illegal harvest being a key threat. The plant is renowned for its characteristic timber of exquisite color, beauty, and superlative technical qualities. The red wood yields a natural dye santalin, which is used in coloring pharmaceutical preparations and foodstuffs.
Red Sander is a light-demanding small tree, growing to 8 metres (26 ft) tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 metres (16 ft) tall in three years, even on degraded soils. It is not frost tolerant, being killed by temperatures of −1 °C.
The leaves are alternate, 3–9 cm long, trifoliate with three leaflets.
The flowers are produced in short racemes. The fruit is a pod 6–9 cm long containing one or two seeds.
In the traditional system of medicine, the decoction prepared from the heartwood is attributed various medicinal properties. It has been used in inducing vomiting and treating eye diseases, mental aberrations, and ulcers.
Red Sander is used in traditional herbal medicine as an antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, tonic, hemorrhage, dysentery, aphrodisiac, anti-hyperglycaemic and diaphoretic.