Palo Santo – Holy Wood

Palo Santo (Holy Wood) has been used throughout Central America and many northern territories of South America for thousands of years for purification and cleansing of the physical, energetic, and spiritual realms. Its uses are as numerous as the tribes and cultures that call on this sacred tree’s powers. Its warm, delicately sweet and woodsy aroma that fills people with a sense of peace and tranquility, its powerful presence in ceremonies and spiritual practices, and its vast physical healing powers, have sparked much interest around the world, giving rise to the popularity of this wise ancient tree.

The heavily essential oil-saturated wood of the Palo Santo tree is found to contain around 112 chemical compounds which make it a strong antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, and insecticide, helping people overcome many sicknesses, colds, allergies, headaches, rheumatic pain, skin infections, and much more. Traditionally it is used as a mosquito repellant in coastal areas and as an air cleanser in the presence of the sick. But the most important element, limonene (62.88%) is said to have chemotherapeutic properties and has also made Palo Santo a very effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress.

In a spiritual sense, Palo Santo is a strong ally to many medicine people, shamans and healers. It is used to cleanse homes of negative spirits and energies, attracting good fortune, communicating with the spirit world, in smudging rituals, as an aid to meditation, clearing the mind and sharpening awareness, and much more.


According to folk legend, when the world was in its embryonic phase and there were very few human beings, Cosokait, the most handsome and virtuous of men fell in love with a young maid. The young girl didn’t reciprocate his feelings and sadness made him seriously ill.  On his death bed he called for the young woman several times to see her one last time, but she didn’t go. “Please tell her that I don’t want to die, but Yago (God) is taking my life away.  I’ll be always with her, I will ornate her head with perfumed flowers. I will frighten insects away from her. I will give fragrance to the water that her lips drink.  I will go to heaven in the aromatic smoke during the Nareg ceremony.  And I will be wherever she is and will give her whatever she asks for…” After these words, he was consumed by fever and died invoking her name.  Where he was buried, a tree grew. Its wood had a soft fragrance. When it was burned it would release a deep, sweet aroma.  It was the Palo Santo tree, the symbol of love and kindness. For its elevated value and nobility, the Toba people consider Palo Santo a sacred tree and call it Cosakait in honor of this legend.

While the growth of the tree is slow owing to hibernation in the dry season, it may live up to 90 years. It’s important to note, however, that the wood of Palo Santo is of no use unless the tree has died of natural causes.  As if protected by unseen magical forces, when a live tree is cut by human hands, its precious oils will not properly produce. A dead or fallen Palo Santo tree requires at least three years of a natural, alchemical process of breaking down before it releases it’s precious oil. Native cultures say that the spirits of Palo Santo trees materialize themselves in the oil and are responsible for its potency and healing qualities.

Palo Santo creates a pleasant, fresh smelling smoke with hints of mint and citrus. It’s uplifting scent raises vibrations in preparation for meditation and ceremony and allows for a deepening of spiritual connections. Utilize this ancient ally in the form of our Palo Santo incense resin or through our Grandfather Sun Incense cones, a mixture of potent tree medicines from around the world including Palo Santo, Mayan Copal resin, Frankincense, and Sandalwood, to help you stoke the fire within and strengthen the many layers of the heart.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

Article By – Evan Sylliaasen

© 2016 Evan Sylliaasen, Higher Mind Incense LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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