Sticks of “sacred wood” or “holy wood” known as Palo Santo have been burned since Incan times in cleansing rituals to rid homes and other spaces of bad energy. South American healers have also used Palo Santo to make tinctures and teas, or applied essential oil as treatments for viruses, infections, and other medical ailments.
As the world becomes smaller through the use of digital media and people traveling to more remote places in the world, we learn about ancient healing practices and rituals from other cultures. Like Korean beauty routines, the use of Palo Santo incense and smudging has been introduced to an American audience eager to understand and explore the benefits of the “sacred wood.”
Though Palo Santo has a very ancient history in South America, the wider world is now learning not only about cultural practices that make use of the aromatic wood, but of recent evidence of its health benefits. A phytochemical in Palo Santo essential oil called limonene, which is also present in citrus fruits, fights free radical damage in our bodies, and has a host of other health benefits besides.
Aromatherapy Benefits of Palo Santo
Not only is Palo Santo believed to purify spaces of bad energy, burning or “smudging” the wood is thought to cultivate positive energy in a home. People can even conduct a personal spiritual cleanse by smudging Palo Santo wood across their own bodies. You can buy your own smudge sticks or incense on multiple sites. Palo Santo is available in sprays as well, which you can use either in your environment or spray on yourself.
*NOTE: Do your homework before you buy Palo Santo smudge sticks. Read reviews. There is a lot of wood out there that is not ethically sourced and is not genuine Palo Santo wood. Wood from Ecuador and Peru is very highly regulated, so Palo Santo from these countries is prized.
Different Ways to Use Palo Santo For Meditation and Yoga
Aromatherapy can also be a centering component of a meditation or yoga practice. Smudging before meditation or using a Palo Santo spray on your yoga mat are both ways to incorporate the sacred scent into your practice. Curious about how to do a smudging? Want to learn how to incorporate Palo Santo incense into your daily meditation or cleansing? This video introduction will help you get started. You can also learn more in our article What is Palo Santo Ritual Cleanse?
Burning candles, incense or diffusing essential oils is another way to spread the positive energy of Palo Santo throughout your personal environment. Etsy carries a number of Palo Santo candles, smudge sticks and accessories. French parfumerie, Le Labo, carries a line of Palo Santo products, including a home spray and two different scented candles. Norden also carries candles with a scent of Frankincense (a botanical cousin of Palo Santo), Cypress, patchouli, and Palo Santo, and they have an essential oil blend of the same scent.
Healing Benefits of Palo Santo "Sacred Wood"
Research into the health benefits of aromatherapy indicates that it can:
- alleviate depression and anxiety
- improve sleep
- improve quality of life for people with chronic conditions
To learn more about the health benefits of Palo Santo, read our article: Palo Santo Oil - Learn What it is, its Uses, and Possible Benefits
Which Beauty Products Contain Palo Santo?
In beauty products, Palo Santo is most commonly blended with other essential oils to create a complex, feminine scent. In Versace Yellow Diamond, notes of neroli and bergamot, orange blossom and freesia combine with Palo Santo for a clean, citrusy perfume. Woodlot makes a refreshing facial mist with rose, witch hazel, Palo Santo and geranium.
For the Fellas
Because Palo Santo has a woodsy, citrusy scent, it is just as easily paired with other essential oils or fragrance oils in products for men. There are beard tonics, hand salves, hair care products, soaps, body washes, and fragrances.
Imbibing Palo Santo Brew
Want to try some beer aged in Palo Santo wood? Dogfish Brewery in Delaware makes one. The “highly roasty and malty brown ale” is aged in Palo Santo wood from Paraguay, and gets its complexity from its contact with this ancient member of the incense tree family. It’s called the Palo Santo Marron if you want to look for it at a bar near you.
Luxuriate in the aromatherapy benefits of Palo Santo in the BeautyGARDE Ritual Hair Cleanser. Paired with sweet almond oil, argan oil, cedar and sandalwood, the sensual aroma of Palo Santo relaxes, soothes and centers the mind.
Our unique vegan cleanser is not a lathering product. Devoid of the sulfates that give most shampoos their foamy lather, Palo Santo Ritual Cleanser uses a gentler formula to clean your hair. You’ll still end up with the same clean hair, but you’ll notice a difference in how it leaves your hair feeling in comparison to your regular shampoo. Softer. Shinier. Less frizzy.
Want to know how sulfates affect your hair? They’re surfactants, or detergents, that help many shampoos and cleansers remove dirt and oil. The problem with sulfates is that they’re overly drying and harsh. They strip the skin on our scalp of its natural lipid layer. Ritual Hair Cleanser is a “no poo” product.
Complete your hair ritual with Palo Santo Ritual Conditioner. Run yourself a bath at night, and create your own cleansing, conditioning and centering ritual before bed. Allow the scent of Palo Santo to wash away all negativity from your day before you head to bed at night. Like the cleanser, the conditioner is vegan and sulfate-free.
Not just for women, both Palo Santo Ritual Hair Cleanser and Conditioner are appropriate for all genders. The products can be used separately or together.
Want to learn more about BeautyGARDE Palo Santo products? Read our other articles in this series:
- What is Palo Santo Ritual Cleanse?
- Palo Santo Oil - Learn What it is, its Uses, & Possible Benefits