Sacred Palo Santo and What You Need to Know

Ever received a random stick of wood from Mandy here at Potency in your order? If so, you were gifted Palo Santo! Have you heard of it? If not, that’s okay because we are going to learn all about it in this article. We’ll take a look at what Palo Santo is, where it originated, what it’s used for, and the people who use it. These days, people are beginning to realize there is more to life than social media and television.

They are awakening to realize that there isn’t a magic pill for everything. More people are getting back to their roots and becoming more homed into natural practices that have been around for thousands of years. Meditation, forest bathing, and spiritual and metaphysical practices like the smudging of Sage and Palo Santo are being embraced by more people every day. You don’t have to take a class to learn to use these things to your advantage.

All you have to do is take the time to read what and how to get started. Smudging with Palo Santo is a way many people help clear the room and their souls of negative energy. After reading this article, you will have all the knowledge and information on Palo Santo that you need to embrace this traditional remedy. A remedy used for everything from stress, pain, and inflammation to the attraction of positive energy and clearing of negative energy in rooms and people. Let’s dive into Palo Santo.

What is Palo Santo?

Bursera graveolens, or Palos Santo in Spanish, is a species of wild tree native to an area stretching from the Yucatan Peninsula, reaching Peru and Venezuela. The Palo Santo tree is found throughout the forests of the Galápagos Islands, Honduras, Peru, El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia.

Dried sticks of Palo Santos wood are often burned for the many therapeutic attributes the aroma of its smoke provokes. Palo Santo is said to have a sweet, subtle, woody smell with notes of citrus, licorice, and mint.

There is some speculation around Palo Santo, where it is believed to be an endangered tree. Currently, this is not the case. However, a similar species people also call Palo Santo that’s actual name is bulnesia sarmientoi, and it is part of the threatened species list according to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

The Palo Santo wood used for smudging by various cultures, religions, and spiritual practitioners is harvested out of tropical dry forests found across the continent of South America. Unethical harvesting could pose a future danger to dry tropical forests that are already considered under threat. Forests that are home to the Palo Santos tree.

Palo Santo: The Sacred Wood

Palo Santo translates into “holy wood” in Spanish and is considered sacred by many cultures. It has a history dating back to the 15th century when shamans in the Inca empire used Palo Santo wood in their ceremonial rituals. This sacred wood is also part of the same family as frankincense and myrrh, two of the three spices brought to baby Jesus by the Wisemen. 

The therapeutic benefits of Palo Santo have been embraced by indigenous healers across South America and other places for centuries to help clear negative energy, promote purification, and attract positive energy. Not just anyone can collect this wood. A special license is required in order to harvest Palo Santo. The trees are not fallen. Instead, the wood that has already fallen from the tree is collected to be turned into essential oil and used as smudge sticks.

By lighting the sticks on fire, allowing them to burn for approximately 30 seconds, then blowing them out, the wood produces a unique, pleasing, and uplifting aroma. The therapeutic effects of Palo Santo range from antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties to supporting healthy skin.

Benefits of Palo Santo

Palo santo is known for its many spiritual and mental properties. In the Andes, palo santo is used for energy cleansing and spiritual purification. Burning palo santo sticks is known to promote feelings of positivity, while the aromatic properties of palo santo have been proven to reduce anxiety and stress as well as to enhance concentration and clarity of thought.

Smudging or burning of palo santo is also thought to welcome love, good fortune, and creativity in your life and space. Palo santo is widely embraced during meditation practices as it can help you stay grounded while raising your vibration, elevating your energy, and helping you create a deeper connection with your inner consciousness as well as Mother Earth.

The oil of palo santo is often utilized for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. A tea made from simmering the wood in hot water has also been shown to naturally support your digestive system. Palo santo tea and the oil of palo santo are also embraced for ailments such as asthma, headaches, emotional trauma, colds, flu, anxiety, and depression, among others.

The burning of palo santo has also been shown to fight off those pesky mosquitos naturally!

Responsibly Embracing Palo Santo

It is important to know where your Palo Santo sticks or essential oil come from and how it was harvested. Unethical harvesting could potentially put an end to this widely utilized spiritual tree. Make sure to find out information about where and how Palo Santo is collected before purchasing it.

By only purchasing authentic Palo Santo from licensed retailers, you help do your part to ensure the future of the sacred Palo Santo tree. Besides, smudging with Palo Santo or using the essential oil of Palo Santo that is illegally collected brings bad vibes and goes against the spiritual practice of cleansing and purification.

Palo Santo isn’t a cure for any one thing in particular. It is part of a routine embraced by those looking for a healthier lifestyle that involves smart life choices. Meditation, natural herbs, and practices like smudging with Palo Santo are starting to once again grow in popularity. All that is left for you to do now is purchase some responsibly sourced Palo Santo sticks to begin smudging your way to purification and attracting positive energy.

If you receive palo santo as a gift from Mandy, you can rest assured that it was resourced responsibly by a licensed retailer with deep roots in the practice and care of this sacred plant.

How to Use Palo Santos Sticks or Essential Oil?

Palo Santo essential oil can be used in a diffuser to enjoy its aromatic properties. A few drops of Palo Santo essential oil can also be applied to a shower. Some also find that inhaling the aroma of Palo Santo while in the shower helps to boost the immune system and offers soothing benefits to the respiratory system.

The most popular way to use Palo Santo wood is by smudging it. Palo Santo sticks are smudged by lighting one end on fire, blowing it out, and defining the purpose of the smudging with one word (clarity, peace, etc.), allowing the fragrant smoke from the Palo Santo wood to fill the air around you.

Always place burning Palo Santo wood in a heat-proof container such as an ashtray, clay dish, or metal bowl. Never leave burning Palo Santo wood unattended. Make sure to fully extinguish your Palo Santo when you are finished smudging.

What are you waiting for? Get out there today and start smudging your way to happiness with Palo Santo! To learn more about the process of smudging, or about another of our favorite sacred plants, check out the blog Holy Smudge Smoke- All You Need to Know About Sage!