What is Palo Santo?
Palo Santo is an aromatic wood from the Bursera graveolens tree that has many properties. The aroma of this special wood is sweet and intense, with hints of citrus. For Palo Santo to be of quality, it must be harvested with a particular method.
As Jonathon Miller Weisberger, ethnobotanist and author of Rainforest Medicine: Preserving Indigenous Science and Biodiversity in the Upper Amazon explains, "Its maturity is 50 to 70 years. Once the tree dies of natural causes, it must be left for at least five to eight years for the oils to mature sufficiently for quality incense to be made."
Palo santo grows in South America, especially on the Pacific coast. The wood we import comes from fallen trees and complies with current regulations in Peru. Despite not being classified by CITES as an endangered species, Palo Santo is subject to strict controls by the National Forestry and Wildlife Service SERFOR, which are mandatory.
Palo Santo has traditionally been used by Native Americans (as well as white sage) in religious rituals. They still do so because they believe that the white smoke given off by burning Palo Santo drives away evil spirits and protects people.
Properties of Palo Santo
Over time, different properties have been discovered and attributed. These are the main ones:
- Repels mosquitoes Let's start with a very practical use: in Peru they use Palo Santo to scare away insects, especially mosquitoes. It seems that the scent that we like so much is not to their liking.
- Emitting good energy Like White Sage, the burning of Palo Santo also releases positive ions into the environment that neutralize negative ions, that is, it eliminates negative energies from the environment, leaving it clean and serene.
- Aroma When it burns, it emits its delicious characteristic aroma. That is why its use is spreading, as it conveys a sense of calm and well-being in the home.
- Contains antioxidants This wood contains 62.88% of a-terpineol and limonene, which is a component rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals with beneficial effects for the organism.
- Facilitates spiritual connection In all cultures, the smoke produced by the burning of certain substances has been considered to help elevate our prayers to the subtle world. For centuries, in traditional South American cultures, Palo Santo has been used as a vehicle for this deep spiritual connection. All of its properties create a favorable environment for introspection and that refines sensitivity. Therefore, the burning of Palo Santo is suitable for meditation or any other practice such as relaxation, mindfulness or yoga.
- Relieves tension and improves mood Palo Santo is a natural remedy for anxiety. The brain response to inhaling its fragrance is relaxation and this makes it a relief of nervous tension. The purified atmosphere it leaves and the elimination of bad energies makes our mood improve.
- Aphrodisiac Sexologists recommend the use of Palo Santo in the bedroom to achieve a more intimate and loving moment. The atmosphere it creates is enigmatic and favors the giving and receiving of love.
How is the Ritual carried out?
Many of the above mentioned properties are only obtained when we burn Palo Santo and perform the incense ritual. So... let's explain how to do it with a few simple steps.
First light the wood and then shake it so that the flame goes out and emits the smoke. This will begin to spread throughout the room, flooding it with its wonderful citrus and intense aroma. Move around with the Palo Santo, making the smoke reach every corner of the room. You can also smudge yourself or someone else by moving the lit stick from head to toe (without inhaling the smoke directly) and back down again. It is very important that while you do these movements you also visualize how the smoke carries away all the negative.
The Palo Santo is easily extinguished; if this happens, you can relight it as many times as you like until you feel you have finished the ritual. Once you have finished and are ready to continue with the day, ventilate the room.
Remember that intention is the basis of any incense: if your heart is pure and your desire noble, you will enhance its effects. Although the smoke of Palo Santo is powerful, we must accompany the ritual with a state of mind focused on achieving all that we seek.
Other uses of Palo Santo
If you have ever held a piece of Palo Santo in your hands, you will have noticed that its smell is really peculiar and powerful. For this reason, it is used in aromatherapy, an alternative practice that uses aromatic plants, flowers and essential oils among others to help heal, stimulate, revitalize... In its native land it is also used without burning as a protective object and decorative element. For example, jewelry made of Palo Santo, such as Mala bracelets.
Remember that Palo Santo is only one option and that the incense can also be made with bunches of plants such as California white sage, blue sage, yerba santa, rosemary... On our website you can find the Positive Energy Pack with all the necessary elements to do the ritual. It can be a wonderful way to introduce you to these new techniques and help your body and mind to be in tune and harmony.
If after reading this post about the properties of Palo Santo you still have questions about its use and benefits, do not hesitate to contact us. We hope that the content of this post has helped you and that you are encouraged to start the ritual of incense with Tierra Zen.