Sandalwood oil, rich in sesquiterpenoid alcohols, has been used in traditional medicinal systems as a relaxant and coolant. Besides, sandalwood oil is used as an ingredient in numerous skin fairness enhancing cosmetics. However, there is no available information on biological activities that relate to the above applications. Hence, the anti-tyrosinase and anti-cholinesterase potentials of sandalwood oil were probed by both TLC-bioautographic and colorimetric methods. Results obtained from colorimetric assays indicated that sandalwood oil is a potent inhibitor of tyrosinase (IC50 = 171 microg mL(-1)) and cholinesterases (IC50 = 4.8-58 microg mL(-1)), in comparison with the positive controls used in the assays, kojic acid and physostigmine, respectively. The TLC-bioautographic assays indicated that alpha-santalol, the major constituent of the oil, is a strong inhibitor of both tyrosinase and cholinesterase. These in vitro results indicate that there is a great potential of this essential oil for use in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, as well as in skin-care.