Burning herbs and resins (aromatic tree sap) is one of the oldest form of incense. Long before there were sticks and cones, people would add fragrant botanicals to fire to create beautiful smelling smoke to entice their deities or to please themselves. It is believed this is one of the most powerful means of working with herbs to imbue a space, an object or a person with holy qualities.
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 is 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 ethno-botanical uses.
Aroma Description: warm, delicately sweet, rosy-woodsy
Element Association: Air
Magical Associations: Luck, Protection
Astrological Association: Gemini, Virgo, Aquarius
Planetary Association: Mercury
Mixes Well With: benzoin, copal-black, copal-gold, copal-white, frankincense, iris root, lavender, myrrh, oakmoss, sandalwood, tolu balsam, tonka beans, vanilla, etc.
Tea Preparation for the flu, cough, asthma. Prepare tea or infusions: Boil the Sticks for fifteen minutes, filter and drink with sugar or honey at night. A bag of 10-12 sticks can be used to prepare 30 cups of tea.
BEFORE YOU BUY
There is some misunderstanding about Palo Santo and how it's supposed to burn. Every stick will burn, look, and smell differently depending on where in the tree it came from so don't expect consistency.
Oils Coming From The Wood?
Highly resinous heartwood may drip "oil" from the wood as you light it. (Think sap inside a tree) When lit on fire it heats the oils inside the wood and releases them and burns off. This creates the fragrance. This is normal. The more resin, the longer you’ll need to let it burn to ignite it properly as the resins burn off.
It doesn't mean it's been “dipped in oil” We would never do this!
We import our palo santo ourselves directly from our partners in Peru and Ecuador. There are no additives. These are the natural resins inherent in the wood itself.
The other common question is about dark smoke when on fire. Some assume this implies that it was dipped in oil. Not correct.
When you first light the wood it will burn with a black smoke as it is on fire. Once you blow it out you will see the white “cleansing and fragrant” smoke. The heartwood pieces may even look waxy and burn extra dark but are usually the most fragrant.
Won’t Stay Lit?
Sacred Plants are mostly used for a quick cleansing or ritual and aren’t meant to burn and stay lit for long. You can re-light any time and reuse the stick. To increase smoke time, you can leave it flaming for slightly longer to get an ember going, or you can use a feather to fan the ember. Another option is to place the palo santo wood stick on a Swiftlite self-lighting charcoal.