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Palo Santo.... What Is It?

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Palo Santo, also known as "holy wood" in Spanish, is a type of tree native to South America, particularly found in countries like Peru, Ecuador, and parts of Central America. It belongs to the Burseraceae family, which also includes frankincense and myrrh. Palo Santo is renowned for its aromatic and spiritual properties, and it has been used for centuries in various indigenous and shamanic traditions.

Here are some key aspects of Palo Santo:

  1. Aromatic Qualities: Palo Santo wood is prized for its sweet, woody fragrance when burned. The scent is often described as calming, grounding, and spiritually uplifting. It's used in incense, smudging, and as an essential oil for its aromatic qualities.

  2. Spiritual and Ritual Use: Palo Santo is traditionally used in spiritual and healing practices. It is believed to have cleansing and purifying properties that can help clear negative energies, promote relaxation, and enhance meditation and mindfulness.

  3. Smudging: Similar to white sage, Palo Santo is often used for smudging rituals. To smudge with Palo Santo, a stick or small piece of the wood is lit, and the flame is then blown out, allowing the wood to smolder and release its fragrant smoke. This smoke is wafted around a space or over a person to cleanse and purify.

  4. Holistic Healing: Some people use Palo Santo as an essential oil or in aromatherapy for its potential physical and emotional health benefits. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, making it useful for various holistic healing practices.

  5. Sustainability: Palo Santo has faced sustainability concerns due to overharvesting. However, many efforts have been made to promote sustainable harvesting practices and protect the tree's population.

It's important to source Palo Santo from reputable suppliers who prioritize ethical and sustainable practices to ensure the conservation of this valuable resource. Additionally, while Palo Santo is generally safe to use, it's essential to be respectful of its cultural and spiritual significance when incorporating it into your own practices.

Some Incredible claims (although not medically or scientifically proven) Include

1. Spiritual purifying and energy cleansing.

For centuries the indigenous people of the Andes have been using palo santo for spiritual purification and energy cleansing. When the wood is burned it’s believed to clear negative energy and restore tranquility and calm.

2. Inspiring creativity and bringing love and good fortune.

Burn palo santo sticks for ritual smudging that will welcome creativity, love, and good fortune. The wood can help brighten energy and promote feelings of positivity. The scent is also shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

3. Bringing a deeper connection to meditation.

If meditation is the yin, palo santo is the yang. The uplifting scent is the perfect partner for your meditation practice. Raise your vibration, and discover peace and groundedness as you sink into a deeper connection to the Earth and your inner consciousness.

4. Physical healing.

In South America, Palo santo is used to treat a wide variety of physical ailments including colds, flu, anxiety, depression, asthma, bronchitis, headaches, and emotional trauma. 

5. Energetic protection and the removal of negativity.

When used for smudging or burning, palo santo can eliminate negative energy, creating a calmer, more tranquil space. Set an intention about what you want to clear out of your space, then move from corner to corner, removing any bad energy, uplifting your spirit, and filling your home with good fortune.

My own view is that it has a great aroma and is a great alternative to burning incense or oils.

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