7 Magical Benefits of Palo Santo

Kristen Lagos

Palo Santo, also known as the "holy wood", is a sacred tree found in South America. The Palo Santo tree has been used for centuries by indigenous people for its healing and spiritual properties.

In recent years, Palo Santo has gained popularity around the world for its unique scent and various benefits. In this article, we will explore 7 magical Palo Santo benefits and how this substance can enhance your life.

The Origins of Palo Santo

Palo Santo comes from the Bursera graveolens tree, which is native to countries such as Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil. It is a close relative of frankincense and myrrh, which are also known for their spiritual properties. The name "palo santo" translates to "holy wood" in Spanish, reflecting its important role in indigenous cultures.

What makes Palo Santo different from other types of wood or incense?

Palo Santo is unique because of its high concentration of d-limonene, a compound found in the essential oils of citrus fruits. This gives Palo Santo its distinctive scent, which is often described as sweet, woody, and slightly spicy.

How does the use of Palo Santo differ between indigenous cultures and modern practices?

In indigenous cultures, Palo Santo is considered a sacred plant and is used in rituals and ceremonies for purification, protection, and spiritual guidance. It is also believed to have medicinal properties and is used to treat various ailments.

In modern practices, Palo Santo is often burned as incense or else used in essential oil form for its calming and grounding effects.


Can anyone benefit from using Palo Santo, regardless of their spiritual beliefs?

Yes, Palo Santo can benefit anyone who uses it. Its calming and grounding properties can help relieve stress and anxiety, while its antiseptic properties make it useful for respiratory problems. The scent of Palo Santo is also said to enhance creativity and promote a sense of well-being.

Benefit #1: Purification and Cleansing

One of the most well-known benefits of burning Palo Santo sticks is its ability to purify and cleanse. Burning Palo Santo releases a fragrant smoke that can clear negative energy from a space or person. This practice has been used for centuries in shamanic rituals and ceremonies, but anyone can benefit from its cleansing properties.

Is there a preferred method for burning Palo Santo?

Traditionally, Palo Santo wood is burned as incense by lighting one end of the stick and letting it burn for a few seconds before blowing out the flame. The smoke can then be directed toward areas or individuals that need purification.

Are there any other ways to use Palo Santo for cleansing?

Yes, Palo Santo essential oil can also be used for cleansing by adding a few drops to a diffuser or mixing it with water in a spray bottle and spritzing it around your home.

Benefit #2: Stress Relief and Relaxation

The scent of Palo Santo has a calming effect on the mind and body. It has been used as an incense in meditation practices to promote relaxation and reduce stress. You can also use Palo Santo essential oil in a diffuser or add a few drops to your bath for an aromatic and therapeutic experience.

What are some other ways to incorporate Palo Santo into your self-care routine?

You can use Palo Santo essential oil as a massage oil, add it to your skincare routine for its anti-inflammatory properties, or even wear it as a perfume for a grounding and uplifting scent. However, be careful to always dilute the essential oil before applying it topically.


Is there a difference between using Palo Santo in its
raw form versus an essential oil?

While both forms of Palo Santo offer similar benefits, Palo Santo oil may be more convenient for daily use, as it is easier to control the amount and scent intensity, whereas the raw form requires burning and may not be as practical for daily use.

Benefit #3: Spiritual Connection

In many South American cultures, burning Palo Santo wood is believed to aid in connecting with the divine. Burning it before a meditation or prayer session can help create a sacred space and deepen your spiritual connection.

Can Palo Santo aid in spiritual development for those who do not have a specific belief system?

While the beliefs surrounding Palo Santo vary among different cultures, its calming energy along with its cleansing and grounding properties can help create a sense of peace and mindfulness, making it a useful tool for anyone on a spiritual journey.

Are there any cultural customs or rituals associated with using Palo Santo that should be respected?

Yes, it is important to be respectful and mindful when using Palo Santo. In indigenous cultures, it is considered sacred and should be treated with respect. It is also important to source your Palo Santo sustainably to ensure the preservation of the tree and its traditional uses.

Benefit #4: Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties

Palo Santo has been scientifically proven to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This makes it a great natural alternative to chemical-based cleaning products. Its essential oil can also be used topically to help with minor skin irritations and insect bites.

Are there any precautions to take when using Palo Santo as a cleaning product?

As with all essential oils, it is important to use Palo Santo in moderation and always dilute it before use. It is also recommended to test for any potential skin irritation or allergic reactions before applying it topically.

Benefit #5: Mood Enhancer

The uplifting and grounding properties of Palo Santo make it an excellent mood enhancer. It can help alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, and fatigue, leaving you feeling more positive and energized.

Are there any potential side effects of using Palo Santo?

Although Palo Santo is generally considered safe, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before you burn Palo Santo sticks if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also important to buy Palo Santo from a reputable source to ensure its purity and quality.

Can animals benefit from the effects of Palo Santo?

While there is no scientific evidence to support this, many pet owners have reported that their pets seem calmer and more relaxed when Palo Santo is burned in their homes. However, it is important to keep in mind that essential oils can be harmful to animals if not used properly and should always be kept out of reach.

Benefit #6: Protection Against Insects

The smoke from burning Palo Santo acts as a natural insect repellent, making it a great addition to your outdoor activities. You can also apply the essential oil directly to your skin to keep bugs at bay.

Can Palo Santo be used as a natural alternative to chemical-based insecticides?

Yes, farmers in South America have been known to burn Palo Santo near their crops to keep insects away. It is also safe for use around children and pets. However, it is important to note that Palo Santo should not be used as a substitute for professional pest control methods if you have an infestation.

Is there a specific type of Palo Santo that is considered more potent or effective?

While there is no specific type of Palo Santo that is considered more potent, it is important to source your Palo Santo sustainably and from a reputable source to ensure its purity and quality. This will also help support the preservation of this sacred tree and its traditional uses.


Benefit #7: Physical Healing

Palo Santo has been used for its physical healing properties as well. It has been traditionally used to treat colds, headaches, cold and flu symptoms, and inflammation. Its essential oil form can also be applied topically to help with muscle pain and joint stiffness.

Is there any scientific evidence to support the benefits of Palo Santo?

While more research is needed, there have been preliminary studies that show the potential antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of Palo Santo. However, it is important to note that traditional uses should not be solely relied upon for medical treatment, and consulting with a healthcare professional is always recommended.

Is it necessary to use Palo Santo in its raw form, or can the essential oil provide the same benefits?

Both forms of Palo Santo contain similar beneficial properties, but the essential oil may be more convenient for daily use because it is easier to control the amount and the scent intensity.

However, using Palo Santo in its raw form (i.e. through burning) can also provide a ceremonial and spiritual experience. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and intent.

All in all . . .

From its spiritual connection and mood-enhancing properties to its physical healing benefits, Palo Santo offers a range of advantages for both mind and body. However, it is important to always use it responsibly and respectfully, honoring its cultural significance and sustainability.

Whether used as a natural remedy or for ceremonial purposes, Palo Santo can bring balance and harmony into our lives. So the next time you light a Palo Santo stick or apply its essential oil, take a moment to connect with the ancient wisdom of Palo Santo trees and all their power.