Palo Santo or Holy Stick is a natural wood aromatic incense used for centuries by the Incas and indigenous people of the Andes as a spiritual remedy for purifying and cleansing, as well as to get rid of evil spirits and misfortune. as well as for medicinal purposes. It has a fine citrus aroma with underlying notes of frankincense, its close relative. It is often used by shamans in sacred plant spirit ceremonies.
Our Palo Santo is sustainably wild harvested from Ecuador from naturally fallen trees and branches that lie dead for 4-10 yrs. before they are harvested.
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
Mixes Well With: benzoin, copal-black, copal-gold, copal-white, frankincense, iris root, lavender, myrrh, oakmoss, sandalwood, tolu balsam, tonka beans, vanilla, etc.
2oz Package which translates to 5-9 semi-uniform sticks approximately 4 in. long and 3/8 to 3/4 in. diameter.
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.