What is Palo Santo wood? Palo Santo sacred wood (Bursera graveolens), literally means ‘holy stick’ in Spanish. It is harvested from an indigenous tree in arid areas of South America. The tree belongs to the same family as myrrh and frankincense, which are classified as Burseraceae. Palo Santo holy wood is used for a wide variety of purposes ranging from medicinal tea, incense and palo santo essential oil production, to home furniture and flooring.
The tree is easily distinguished by its bright green leaves only present in the rainy seasons and the whitish gray bark. The locals often use the wood in production of handicrafts, tea and incense sticks, mainly used for religious / spiritual, and health purposes. There are many benefits to the Palo Santo wood metaphysical properties. The spiritual significance of Palo Santo wood explains the reason why it is called `holy wood’.
Traditionally the sweet smelling aroma of the palo santo sacred wood is harnessed through the use of ‘smudging’ to drive away negative energies from one’s aura or home. It is believed that when the palo santo incense is lit it eliminates stagnant or negative energies and purifies the space, bringing uplifting positive energies, higher vibrations and good luck. The soothing aroma of the smoke is often used to give your house a sweet smelling aroma and feel. Some people harness the power of palo santo wood for homeopathic purposes. It has been attributed to have capability of assisting in healing of colds, arthritis and asthma among other diseases.
In the recent past, extraction of the essential oil from palosanto wood has become very popular. This oil is mainly used in manufacturing of various cosmetic and aromatherapy products.
Our Palo Santo wood is hand selected only from trees that have naturally fallen on the ground. No trees are destroyed in collection of the palo santo wood that we provide.
When using the wood as incense, the Palo Santo wood sticks are burnt on their own. Once the stick is on fire, it will burn independently for a minute or so then extinguish itself. The short burning period is adequate to produce smoke that will give your house a sweet smelling aroma. The slow burning nature of the wood makes it possible to use on several occasions. In some cases, the wood is often grounded into powder and used as a component of making incense mixtures. Palo Santo wood blends excellently with variety of other woods such as sandalwood, copal resins, benzoin and balsams among other kinds of woods.
The delicately sweet, warm and rosy-woodsy aroma of the wood makes it an appropriate ingredient for use in aromatherapy products and perfumes. The wood has also been utilized in culinary purposes as a food flavoring component.
For medicinal purposes, the wood is antiseptic, and is often used for treatment of inflammation, tension, convulsions, dermatitis, acne and wounds.
Many manufacturers in search of this South American hardwood are specifically interested by the essential oil extracted from it. Among the properties listed above, palo santo benefits also include: ability to enhance immunity, anti-bacterial properties, bone healing, pain suppression and relaxation of the mind. With the oil from the wood, you can be assured your mind will be at peace.
Palo Santo essential oil is also rich in limonene oil, a kind of monoterpene compound that has been discovered to have chemo-therapeutic effects and chemo-preventive effects against different kinds of cancers.
The wood is also used in homeopathic treatment for anxiety and panic attacks, as a respiratory treatment for asthma, cough and colds, for migraines, headaches and also in massage therapy to address pain and inflammation of joints and muscles.
Palo Santo Wood in History
Since ancient civilization, the wood is attributed to have magical association with luck. For astrological association, it is attributed to Aquarius, Gemini and Virgo. For planetary association, it is attributed to mercury.
For the past five decades, Palo Santo wood has been widely used in construction of floors, furniture and decks. Floors constructed from palo santo have a special visual appeal coupled by the stunning aroma released from the oils in the wood that remain with it for several years. The combination of smell and physical aesthetic effects from the wood makes it a better option to many clients.
The value of Palo Santo wood is also increased by the fact that it is rare and exotic. The wood is available in small quantities in different parts of the world thereby making it impossible to harvest it. Actually, the supply of the products is controlled by the local government.
Palo Santo oil was traditionally recognized by the natives of Latin America as a religious, spiritual oil. The tradition dates back to when the Incas utilized it as a means of eliminating evil spirits as well as purification and cleansing of bad energies. Palo Santo wood is also among the most popular variety South American ethno-botanical medicines. It is commonly used as incense to eliminate mosquitoes. In other applications, the wood can be cooked into a tea decoction and then consumed for infections, skin diseases and fevers. The shamans from Andes still utilize this holy wood in healing ceremonies today.
Significance of Palo Santo wood in the modern world.
There are several modern applications of the Palo Santo wood. It belongs to the frankincense family. The aroma produced by the tree can lift one into higher spiritual energies, just as in the use of frankincense.
There are also testimonies of several people who have applied the essential oil of Palo Santo wood successfully as anti-tumoral, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, bone healing and monoterpene compound. Analysis conducted on Palo Santo oil indicated that it contains vast reserves of limonene which is a kind of monoterpene compound that has been discovered to possess chemo-therapeutic and chemo-preventive effects.
Many of the products manufactured using Palo Santo oil have not been endorsed by the FDA to have ability to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure many of the conditions they are said to address. However in fact, many of the modern drugs made from palo santo oil address similar traditional conditions that palo santo is commonly used for by traditional healers in the past and current day.
The oil is widely used in manufacturing of several cosmetics products such as perfumes, lotions, creams and anti-aging products. These products are in high demand due to their reliability and limited supply.
To keep the trees safe from extinction, the government restricts rampant commercial exploitation and exportation of the wood. The harvesters are only allowed to harvest deadwood without instead of the tree itself. Exportation of the wood has to be authorized by the relevant government institution.
Palo Santo wood is believed by some people to have ability in getting rid of misfortunes, calamities and evil spits. This belief dates back to the Incas and it still remains today. Many modern-day shamans and healers routinely use Palo Santo to cleanse and purify one’s energy body or ‘aura’, as well as one’s home, car, or workspace, etc. A room that has been filled with the smoke from this wood is believed to be free from negative or stagnant energy, and left with a light, uplifting, peaceful ambiance and pleasant aroma.