You might have heard of Palo Santo before, and maybe even used this very fragrant wood to cleanse your space. But do you know what Palo Santo really is and why it has been revered by Amazonian peoples for centuries?
Here's a bit of history and some useful information that will start you on a long and happy relationship with this versatile wood.
Palo Santo has a long spiritual history. References to this tree date back to the Incan era, when it was used in rituals and ceremonies throughout Amazonia.
A mystical tree, Palo Santo grows wild in the tropical dry forests of Ecuador, Peru and the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It does not look particularly beautiful or impressive but what it offers is very rare, unusual and magical. Spanish monks who discovered the tree centuries ago, named it “palo santo” - “holy wood” or “the wood of the saints.”
Healers and shamans of South America believe that Palo Santo has a strong spirit that has to be treated with respect. The spirit continues to live in the wood long after the tree has fallen, and when treated properly, will assist in restoring your physical and energetic wellbeing. This is one of the reasons that properly harvested Palo Santo trees are never cut down, and the wood and essential oils can only be extracted no earlier than 3 years after the natural death of the tree.
After years on the forest floor the wood develops rich and fragrant essential oil as well as many amazing properties – the power to purify, attract positive energy, clear negative energy and bring physical and spiritual healing.
Throughout Amazonia, shamans have been using Palo Santo in medicinal practices to help with relieving symptoms of common colds and flu, asthma, headaches, stress, anxiety, emotional pain and various other diseases.
In Ecuador and Peru Palo Santo has been traditionally used as a natural repellent against mosquitoes and other flying insects.
A BIT OF SCIENCE
As it turns out, the modern science can now explain what mystics have known for centuries.
An analysis of steam-distilled palo santo oil showed that the major active ingredients in this oil are limonene and α-terpineol terpenes. In case you don’t know, terpenes are naturally occurring bioactive compounds that exist in plants and produce a strong odor, and are extracted for use in essential oils and perfumes.
Palo Santo has a very high concentration of both limonene and α-terpineol terpenes, which give it a distinctive smell of citrus, pine and mint. Scientific studies show that these two terpenes are strong anti-inflammatory compounds that regulate the immune system and act as antioxidants effective for fighting free radicals, relieving stress and reducing headaches and other pains.
When the unique fragrance of Palo Santo scent stimulates the brain, the body turns on its relaxation response, blood circulation increases, and we experience feelings of mental and emotional clarity, peace and tranquility plus many other beneficial effects.
According to shamanic lore, when the smoke from Palo Santo wood enters our personal energy field (the space around us) the tree spirit in this wood clears away negative thoughts, unfortunate situations, wards off evil spirits, and helps to re-establish peace and balance.
Burning a Palo Santo stick for a minute or two will creates a pleasant, soothing fresh smoke that will clear your space of negative energy. To amplify the effect, put a positive intention into the smoke before cleansing yourself, or space around you.
Use Palo Santo's uplifting scent to raise your vibration before meditation – by keeping energies grounded and pure - will make it easier to reach a deeper connection to your inner self, while increasing concentration and strengthening the bond with the earth.
There is a lot of confusion about Palo Santo wood being an endangered species. Here is a short explanation as to why. There are actually 2 different species generally referred to as Palo Santo: Bulnesia sarmientoi and Bursera graveolens. The former, a wild slowly growing native tree that can be found mostly in Argentina, Boliva, and Paraguay, has been declared endangered species in 2018.
Bursera graveolens is NOT in this category. Modern ŌM sells only oils and woods obtained from B. graveolens.
We respect the sacredness of Palo Santo and the environment. Our Palo Santo essential oil and smudging sticks are responsibly sourced in Peru and Ecuador from ethical vendors we trust. They respect the spirit of the tree and adhere to practices of sustainable harvesting only from trees that are naturally fallen.
PALO SANTO ESSENTIAL OILS BLEND
Modern ŌM's Palo Santo based oil blend is designed to inspire creativity, positivity and well-being... and to use in mindful rituals. It helps to deepen your connection to Source, to protect from negativity, and to make the space around you "light" and peaceful.
We're pleased many people find Freedom No8 to be an irresistible scent. It's externally energizing, internally calming, and it leaves you with a joyful feeling that all is well in the world.
Thank you for reading! Write us here if you have questions about Freedom No8.