Many people have never heard of Palo Santo, so if you’re reading this, you may be scratching your head. No worries, I was in your same position until I discovered its amazing properties several years ago while traveling in Perú. Palo Santo (which is Spanish for: Holy Wood) is a special tree that only grows in parts of Central and South America. It is in the same family of trees that frankincense, myrrh and copal (aromatic resins) are harvested from. Historians claim this wood has been used in sacred ceremonies for thousands of years, and it is still being used to this day!
Palo Santo is processed and used in a variety of ways including: essential oil/hydrosol spray, incense, powder, shredded, or my favorite—large blocks of the raw wood directly from the tree. When I get a block, or stick, I typically ignite one end with a fire source and let it extinguish by itself and allow the fragrant smoke to slowly swirl and fill the space. The aroma is very grounding with spicy and woodsy notes. (I like to smudge—also known as cleansing—with Palo Santo at the end of a Reiki treatment to perform a final purification of the 7 major chakras and the energy around myself and the recipient.) It is said Palo Santo has a very powerful ability to cleanse low energy; scientists have also found it has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and traditions say it is used for lung and joint issues.
According to ancient stories passed through generations, shamans and healers see all life as sacred—including plants. Because of this, they would not cut down healthy Palo Santo trees. Rather, they waited until an entire tree died or had branches that fell off naturally. Once that happened, they would wait to harvest the wood for an additional 4-10 years to allow the wood to dry, and also ferment on the ground. (This is still being practiced today.) Scientists say Palo Santo trees can live up to 200 years old, so by the time you get your hands on some, you could quite possibly be holding a piece that is over 2 centuries old! Traditions also say the rarest, and most powerful, Palo Santo comes from a tree that was struck by lightning (and then fell), or where a branch falls and hangs in other nearby branches and dries for many years in the sun and air. I think that’s fascinating!
So my friends, I will leave you with that. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the history and applications of Palo Santo. In the meantime, I would love to get your feedback and also find out what mystical, metaphysical and spiritual questions you have. Thank you for taking time to learn with me, and know wherever you are on your journey, we are all divinely united and loved.