Palo Santo (Spanish for 'Holy Wood' or 'Wood of the Saints") comes from the mystical tree that grows on the coast in South America. The distant relative to trees such as, Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal, it is enjoyed for many uses whether it be for healing, energy cleansing and/or creativity. Palo Santo is wildcrafted and ethically harvested with sustainable practices.

Even though you may stumble upon a Palo Santo tree while trekking in the RainForest, you wouldn't necessarily experience a 'jaw dropping' visual experience..but, nonetheless, who wouldn't love to see a Palo Santo tree in the flesh..or bark.

 

WHAT DOES A PALO SANTO TREE LOOK LIKE?

(photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Although this tree may not have the majestical look like say a Weeping Willow, Old Oak or Huge Maple, it's what's inside that is truly magical. The Palo Santo tree has a strong spirit and so many amazing benefits, but only long after its death, hence the term 'natural death' when associated with Palo Santo. The concentration of essential oils that give its wood an irresistible aroma and remarkable healing properties do not develop until after the tree fell on its own accord and it is given ample time to rest peacefully on the forest floor.

interesting fact: Those who harvest this wood discovered that not only are there male and female palo santo trees, but that they grow in groups of one male and eight females. The lone male outlives his female counterparts by a long shot. While female trees tend to live around 40-50 years, the male can live up to 200 years. Their wood also has distinct characteristics. Wood from female palo santo trees is yellow, solid and heavy, whereas that of the male is white, hollow, fragile and light. Shamans teach that these trees have a distinct spirit that lives in the wood long after the tree’s life has ended. It should be no surprise that shamans treat this tree as a living entity!

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF PALO SANTO?

1.) PURIFYING

One of the most stunning qualities of palo santo wood is its inherent ability to purify all that it comes in contact with on an energetic level. Wherever its smoke goes, it cleanses and purifies, so it can be used to purify a room, an entire home and especially people. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Shamanic wisdom explains that an attraction to the aroma of palo santo is a sign of emotional and spiritual purity. There are some, however, who feel a peculiar discomfort when in the presence of its aroma. If this happens to you, do not be discouraged! This is all part of its purifying effect and gradually you will also enjoy its natural fragrance as the wood’s cleansing and purification takes effect. Just try, try and try again, and you will soon find the palo santo aroma irresistible and enjoy a feeling that can only be described as being lighter (energetically, of course!).

 

2.) MOSQUITO REPELLANT

The wood from palo santo trees is also commonly burnt as incense and used to make a natural mosquito repellent (like citronella oil) because it possesses aromatic resins and volatile oils. Historically, palo santo wood chips or sticks were used as incense to keep off mosquitoes. If you can find wood chips, sticks or cones, burn one or two in an incense burner for about 20 or 25 minutes.

TIP: You can also use palo santo essential oil in the same way or combine it with water and spray it directly onto your skin or clothes.

 

3.) MEDICINALLY BENEFICIAL

(via Dr. Axe)

          A.) IMMUNE SYSTEM: As a rich supply of antioxidants and phytochemicals called terpenes, including      limonene and α-terpineol, concentrated palo santo oil is effective for fighting free radical damage (also called oxidative stress), relieving stomach aches, fighting stress, reducing pains due to arthritis and healing many other conditions. Particularly, it’s been gaining attention for being a natural cancer treatment for inflammatory diseases. An analysis of steam-distilled palo santo oil (using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) showed that the major active constituents include: limonene (89.33 percent), α-terpineol (11 percent), menthofuran (6.6 percent) and carvone (2 percent). Other beneficial compounds in smaller quantities include germacrene D, muurolene and pulegone.

         B.) DETOXIFYING: Palo santo helps support the immune system and turns off inflammatory responses from things like a poor diet, pollution, stress and illness. Try using several drops of pure palo santo oil as a detoxification agent by combining it with hot water (not boiling) and drinking it as an herbal tea. It’s great for calming the nervous system and to recover faster from illness, chronic fatigue syndrome or emotional pain.

         C.) RELAXANT: Considered an oil that’s grounding and centering, both palo santo and frankincense oils are used for emotional and spiritual support since they work like natural anxiety remedies. Once inhaled, palo santo travels directly through the olfactory system (which controls our sense of smell) of the brain, where it helps turn on the body’s relaxation responses and reduces panic, anxiety and insomnia.

TIP: You can apply several drops mixed with a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) to your head, neck, chest or spine to help you unwind and fall asleep more easily. You can also combine palo santo with lavender oil, bergamot oil or frankincense oil for additional relaxation benefits.

          D.) PAIN RELIEF: Known to combat migraines and even stress-related headaches or bad moods, palo santo helps to lower inflammation and increase blood flow that can help turn off perceived pain. For a natural headache remedy and instant relief, dilute a few drops in water and dissolve the vapors with a diffuser whenever a headache strikes. Or try rubbing some palo santo mixed with coconut oil or Jojoba Oil onto your temples and neck. As a great way to naturally lower pain from arthritis, injuries, chronic neck or back pain, and sore muscles, apply several drops with a carrier oil three times a day directly on the point of pain. For a natural remedy for muscle, bone and joint pain, try massaging the oil mixture into the skin until the oil is absorbed or sitting in a soaking bath with palo santo and Epsom salts.

4.) HOUSEHOLD CLEANER: Similar to clary sage and cedarwood essential oils, palo santo has a cleansing effect that can help reduce odors, bacteria and viruses within your home. Palo santo woodchip incense or essential oil can also be used to clean the air and surfaces in your home and prevent illnesses, contamination or even “bad energy.” Purify your kitchen, bathroom or appliances by diffusing the oil or running it through your household appliances.

HOW TO ENJOY PALO SANTO 

AROMATICALLY: You can use palo santo essential oil for aromatherapy by diffusing it within your home using a diffuser, or you can inhale it directly from the bottle. If you’d prefer to try using dried palo santo woodchips instead of oil, use a candle, match or lighter to ignite your sticks/cones and hold them at about a 45-degree angle pointing the tip down toward the flame. Allow it to burn for about 30 seconds to one minute, and then blow it out or add it to a non-flammable metal, glass or clay bowl to slowly diffuse throughout your home (keep in mind: Palo Santo sticks do not constantly burn until they burn out like incense sticks. You light them, allow them to burn and enjoy the smoke, similar to sage sticks, however they burn out quicker, but you can relight them over and over until the entire stick is completely burned)

TOPICALLY: Always be sure to dilute any essential oil with a carrier oil before applying onto skin, such as: Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Coconut, Olive. Dilute using a 1:1 ratio

TIP:some people react to citrus, frankincense and palo santo oils by experiencing skin irritation, so perform a patch test first to be safe and use caution when it comes to applying the oil to babies, children and pets.

DON'T FORGET

We love Palo Santo so much, not only as incense sticks, but we also add the wildcrafted essential oil to our Rosehip Facial Serum. This is a huge reason why before apply the serum to your clean damp skin, we advise to rub a few drops into your hands, close your eyes, bring your oiled hands to your face and take a deep relaxing inhale..then gently press into skin to lock in the moisture.

 

WHERE TO BUY PALO SANTO STICKS

You can usually find Palo Santo at hip stores that sell incense or organic markets. Here are a few faves of mine where I love to grab my Palo Santo sticks:

MERAKI NOMAD

AMOONA BOTANICALS

THE INCENSE BOX (a monthly subscription box that includes delicious hand dipped incense, essential oils, sage and two Palo Santo sticks)