Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens), also known as "Holy Wood," is a sacred tree native to Central and South America that has been used for centuries by indigenous communities for its spiritual and medicinal properties. Like white sage, it's been used in spiritual rituals, perfumes, and aromatherapy. But what exactly is this mystical tree, and why is it so special?
The History of Palo Santo
First, let's talk history. The indigenous people of South America have been using Palo Santo for centuries in spiritual ceremonies and medicinal practices. They believed the tree had the power to cleanse negative energy, repel evil spirits, and attract positive energy. The tree is part of the citrus family and has a unique and refreshing scent, and releases a fragrant smoke when burnt.
The history of Palo Santo can be traced back to the Inca Empire, where the tree was considered sacred and was used in spiritual ceremonies. The Incas believed that the tree could cleanse negative energy and attract positive energy, and they would burn the wood during ceremonies to purify and sanctify the space.
Indigenous people of South America also used Palo Santo for medicinal purposes. The tree's essential oil is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and can treat headaches, colds, and flu. The smoke of burning Palo Santo is also said to have a calming effect, making it a popular choice for use in traditional medicine.
As the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in South America, they discovered the Palo Santo tree and its benefits and started to export it to Europe, where it quickly gained popularity among the wealthy elite as a luxury incense. They also spread the tree to other parts of the world, such as Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
In modern times, the tree and its essential oil are still widely used for spiritual and medicinal purposes. The tree is now protected by the government in some countries to ensure sustainable harvesting practices, and it can only be harvested from fallen branches or trees that have died naturally.
The benefits of Palo Santo
What are the benefits of this "Holy Wood"?
Well, for starters, Palo Santo has a deeply calming and grounding effect. It's said to help with mental clarity and can be a natural support for alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression, which may be linked to the phytochemical compound limonene. Limonene also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain why Palo Santo was traditionally used for pain relief.  
In addition to its spiritual and medicinal benefits, Palo Santo is also widely used in perfumes and aromatherapy due to its unique and refreshing scent. The essential oil of Palo Santo is said to have an uplifting effect on the mind and body, making it a popular choice for use in perfumes and aromatherapy blends.
One of the unique things about Palo Santo wood is that it can only be harvested from fallen branches or trees that have died naturally. This means that it is a sustainable and eco-friendly option, unlike other types of incense that are harvested from live trees.
How to use palo santo
So, how do you use Palo Santo? It's pretty simple - let's take a look at the burning instructions:
Light a palo santo stick, let it burn for about 30 seconds, then blow it out.
- The burning stick will continue to smolder, releasing a fragrant smoke.
You can then use it to cleanse your space or yourself by wafting the smoke around. This practice is also known as “smudging.”
- You can also use it during meditation or yoga to help set the mood and deepen your practice.
Another way to use this holy wood is to add a few drops of palo santo essential oil to a diffuser to enjoy its natural benefits throughout the day.
- You can also add a few drops to a carrier oil and use it as a massage oil for a relaxing, cleansing, and grounding experience.
Palo Santo is also great for creating a relaxing atmosphere in your home. It's perfect for burning before bedtime to help you relax and get a good night's sleep. It's also wonderful for burning while you're working or studying to support your concentration and focus. It can also be used in rituals or ceremonies to purify and cleanse the energy of a space in the place of white sage or other smudge sticks.
Where can I find Palo Santo?
Here are a few places you may be able to purchase Palo Santo:
Online retailers: you can find many websites that sell palo santo sticks, oils, and incense online.
Health food stores: Some natural health food stores carry palo santo products.
- New age or spiritual shops: Many stores that specialize in spiritual or new age items carry palo santo products.
In conclusion, Palo Santo is not just simply another tree but rather a powerful spiritual tool that has been used for centuries. It's said to have a calming and grounding effect, helping to promote feelings of relaxation and inner peace. So, next time you're looking for a way to set the mood or cleanse your space, give Palo Santo a try. It's also a sustainable and eco-friendly option, and it can be used in many different ways, from burning it as incense to adding it to a diffuser or even as a massage oil.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.