Palo Santo: The Benefits and Uses of "Holy Wood"

Palo santo or holy wood is used for spiritual and therapeutic purposes. What are its benefits? How is it used? Find out here!
Palo Santo: The Benefits and Uses of "Holy Wood"

Last update: 23 September, 2022

Palo santo or “sacred wood” is an element that has been used for energetic, relaxing, and medicinal purposes for centuries. Its scientific name is Bursera Graveolens, and it is an incense whose properties place it among the favorite aromas of those who seek to benefit from its effects.

Its aroma is unmistakable; sweet, strong, and with a hint of citrus that floods the space in which it’s found. In today’s article, we’re going to talk about this spiritual wood, its origins, its benefits, and its uses. How can you incorporate it into your routine? Let’s take a detailed look!

Palo santo: Where does it come from?

Native to the Americas, palo santo is found in countries such as Peru, Mexico, and Costa Rica, among others. According to ancient Inca legends, it was used in rituals to connect spiritually with ancestors. It was also believed to attract good luck and ward off negative energies, a belief that’s even still around today.

On the other hand, the use of palo santo was also associated with eternal marriage in sacred ceremonies. In one way or another, its aroma and smoke have positive connotations that have been passed down from generation to generation.

palo santo
Palo santo is often used to ward off bad energies in the home.

What are the benefits of palo santo?

Popular literature associates the use of palo santo with a variety of positive effects. In particular, it’s often used to purify environments and transmute energies. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

  • Palo santo can help to repel negative energies. It often happens that sometimes we sense a dense environment around us that’s full of “bad vibes,” and we just want to find a way to clear it up. In this case, palo santo allegedly cleans the environment and attracts positive energies.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, palo santo produces an oil that has been proven to reduce inflammation, among other therapeutic properties.
  • It relieves nervous tension. Following in line with the previous point, this wood has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
  • Palo santo is ideal for meditation. Due to the aforementioned properties, this wood is widely used in meditation, yoga, and reiki sessions, as it helps to relax the mind. Likewise, its aroma is a favorite when it comes to aromatherapy.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: Feng Shui and Aromatherapy to Balance the Energy of Your Home

Palo santo: Different ways to use it

This wood can be used in many different ways. Often, it’s burned, or its essential oil is used. However, there are also those who use it in infusions.

How to burn palo santo

First of all, it’s worth clarifying that palo santo is often available in health food stores and comes in the form of chips or small pieces. Since it’s a resistant type of wood, it will usually take a moment to ignite.

  • Take one of the pieces from the tip, light it on the other and twirl it until an ember is formed. After about 30 seconds, extinguish the flame and place it in a suitable container.
  • Don’t get too close to smell its aroma because you might not only burn yourself, but the smoke can irritate your respiratory tract. Be patient. In a matter of seconds, its perfume will have flooded the whole room.

Regarding the smoke, it should be white or gray. If you notice that it’s black, this may mean that the tree was cut too early to begin its commercialization.

If what you’re looking for is a way to purify the environment, then you should take the container containing the palo santo to all areas of the house. Ideally, the windows should remain closed so that the smoke can penetrate into every corner of the house, thus eliminating bad energy.

However, be careful not to stay in any room full of smoke (not even of palo santo) because this is harmful to your health. After a while, you should ventilate the rooms.

Like this article? You may also like to read: 10 Objects That Attract Bad Energy According to Feng Shui

Palo santo potpourri

In this case, we suggest you look for the shavings of this wood to make potpourri. You can put them in tulle bags to let their aroma escape. They should not be burned and are simply placed in closets and other spaces in the house to provide a nice aroma.

Essential oil

The oil from this wood retains all its citrus aroma with a touch of sweetness. It’s sometimes applied for massages and to help the relaxation process. If this is your intention, you should just make sure that the oil that you purchase is suitable for direct application on the skin.

Often, it needs to be mixed with another conductive oil such as jojoba or almond oil. In this case, consult the store that distributes it.

Another use of this oil is in diffusers. Just place a few drops in the diffuser and add water.

palo santo: how to use it
Palo santo essential oil is often used in massage and aromatherapy sessions.

Palo santo: The sacred wood

In short, palo santo is a wood valued for its energetic and aromatic power. It plays a little with the folklore of many different traditions. In any case, it gives off a pleasant scent that’s also great for relaxation. So, are you going to give it a try?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Yautibug Naula, W. A., & Zambrano Sánchez, K. L. (2019). Extración de aceite esencial del árbol de palo santo (Bursera Graveolens) y su aplicación culinaria(Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad de Guayaquil. Facultad de Ingeniería Química).
  • Acuña, O., & Torres, A. (2010). Aprovechamiento de las propiedades funcionales del jengibre (zingiber officinale) en la elaboración de condimento en polvo, infusión filtrante y aromatizante para quema directa.
  • Cañarte-Vélez, C. R., & Ponce-Párraga, K. Y. (2021). Viabilidad técnica en la extracción de aceites esenciales en la hoja de palo santo (Bursera Graveolens). Dominio de las Ciencias7(1), 124-137.
  • Eugenio Hurtado, M. T. (2014). La producción del aceite e incienso del palo santo o (bursera graveolens) en el cantón Puerto López, provincia de Manabí(Doctoral dissertation, Universidad de Guayaquil Facultad de Ciencias Económicas).
  • Vélez, C. R. C., & Párraga, K. Y. P. (2021). Viabilidad técnica en la extracción de aceites esenciales en la hoja de palo santo (Bursera Graveolens). Dominio de las Ciencias7(1), 26.
  • Escobar Cardona, O., & Rodríguez Guzmán, J. R. (1993). Las maderas en Colombia. 32. Caoba. Palo santo.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.