The Power of Palo Santo
Palo Santo translates as “holy wood” from Spanish and holds a very special place in the cultures of the indigenous people of South America where it grows. This tree is said to be mystical and, in the Andes, sticks of this precious wood are burned to cleanse a space and remove negative energy and spirits. It is used much in the same way as sage is used by the native Americans as part of the smudging ceremony.
How is Palo Santo used?
The most traditional way is to burn the sticks of Palo Santo wood. The high resin content means that it releases a lovely fragrance with notes of pine, mint and lemon, as well as the smoke, which is believed to be cleansing and purifying.
However, people also extract the sweet-smelling resin and make Palo Santo oil from the wood and fruit. These can then be used for aromatherapy, in lotions, to make incense or infuse anything from candles to soaps with a lovely scent.
Palo Santo in health and wellbeing
Palo Santo was used in traditional healing practices in South America, to help with colds, flu, asthma, headaches and inflammation. It is also said to be a real stress buster and many people with anxiety have noted it’s relaxing properties.
According to Healthline’s article on the benefits of Palo Santo, the limonene found in Palo Santo has been shown to have insecticide properties and analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. During research with rats in 2014, ingesting limonene reduced the signs of stress in the animal subjects. Although more studies are required, many people do find benefits in relaxation, pain management and to get rid of those annoying mozzies during summer months.
Not only that, but it is also said to enhance creativity, so if you have writer’s block or are struggling with finishing a piece of art, or creative project, Palo Santo could be worth a try!
How do you burn Palo Santo wood?
The most traditional form of Palo Santo are small sticks of wood which you burn. However, you do need to know how to burn it safely and take care with it, as it’s not as easy to control as an incense stick. Here are our top tips to burning it –
- Use a candle or steady open flame to light the stick, as it will take longer to light than incense. Be patient and rotate the stick back and forth slowly in order to make sure it is evenly lit and has a glowing ember at the end and a small flame.
- Leave the flame burning for around 30 seconds and then blow it out to leave it smoking. If you need to get more smoke, try gently blowing on it to keep it burning.
- If you’re using it for a smudging or purifying ritual, guide the wood over particular areas you wish to reach. If you’re using it as part of a meditation, you can leave it burning in a metal or fireproof container, with something that will catch the ash that will fall as it burns.
Important – when you’ve finished with your Palo Santo, make sure you put it out properly and leave it in a fireproof dish. Sprinkle it with some sand or ashes to help put it out quickly and make sure you do not leave it unattended if it is smouldering. You can find step-by-step instructions on wikiHow.
Why burn Palo Santo incense?
Number 1 reason? It smells wonderful and infuses your home or workplace with a lovely aroma which drives away unpleasant odours from cooking or pets.
The incense, rather than the sticks, give off a stronger aroma and less dense smoke and is a very easy way to unlock the wonderful fragrance. They are also easier to burn, using a normal incense burner, rather than having to use the sticks themselves.
Many of our customers also burn Palo Santo incense as part of their meditation practice, to create a calming energy in the room and aid relaxation. The incense sticks are very convenient to use in your meditation space, studio or wellness practice.
What kinds of Palo Santo do we sell?
We source Palo Santo wood from the tropical forests of Peru, taking care to use wood which is harvested under supervision from the indigenous people to protect the source of this very special wood. They are sold by weight, from 150 grams up to 1kg packs.
We also sell the very convenient Palo Santo incense sticks in 15g packs. These are an excellent way to bring the benefits and beautiful scent of Palo Santo into your home.