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Pacific Coast, Peru
Palo Santo, Bursera Graveolens, is an aromatic tree native to the Galapagos Islands and the dry forests of South America. In traveling along the coastline of South America’s Pacific coast from Northern Peru to Ecuador one is captured by the perfume of Palo Santo. The Palo Santo tree in Peru is protected by the national government and can only be harvested under strict conditions.
The name Palo Santo means "Holy Wood", and what a fitting name that is. The magic of Palo Santo is in the alchemical process that happens after the death of a limb or a tree. You see, in order for the Palo Santo to gain its magical and medicinal properties it must die, but not just any death – only a natural death of a wise old limb or tree. The Palo Santo trees live for 80 to 90 years. After this death the tree must remain in its natural habitat for 4 to 10 years to complete its metamorphosis. Only then do its sacred, medicinal and mystical properties come alive.
Palo Santo has been used for thousands of years in Peru and Ecuador by shamans and healers. Travel today through the Andes Mountains you still find shamans, curanderos, and healers using Palo Santo as part of their ceremonies and healing rituals, evidence that its use more alive than ever in their culture. Increasingly the healing properties of Palo Santo are finding its way into the rest of the world as one of the truly great resins of Mother Earth. It has capacities in both physical and metaphysical realms. Palo Santo has even caught the attention of western scientific researchers for it chemical properties which include limonene and monterpenes that are being studied for their anti cancer effects. It’s truly amazing that this “Holy Wood” can at once, through its healing scent and sacred smoke, provide energetic protection, remove bad energy, uplift the spirit and bring good luck as well as repel mosquitoes and treat a headache.