The Sacred Wood
Palo Santo is attributed with the ability to transform negative energies into positive ones or to drive away evil spirits. For centuries, palo santo has been burnt or cooked by indigenous peoples in South America. The strong ethereal-aromatic scent of the wood makes it particularly popular. Palo Santo contains hundreds of different aromas, which make the smell very diverse. Besides being fumigated, palo santo can also be boiled to obtain an essential oil.
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What is Palo Santo
The Palo Santo tree is a gnarled and strongly branched balsam tree from South America. The tree forms yellow flowers and a hard, resinous wood. The botanical name is Bulnesia arborea. The sacred wood is said to have healing, protective and beneficial properties. Negative thoughts and stress are also said to be overcome by burning Palo Santo as incense. The aroma of the wood depends on how it is harvested, stored and dried. The wood contains many essential oils that unfold their effect through burning. The dark tree resin also spreads the characteristic scent of Palo Santo.
Where does Palo Santo come from?
Originally, the tree comes from the Antilles, Central America and northern South America. Today, Palo Santo grows almost exclusively in rainless forests in South America. Indigenous peoples use the bark of the tree to cure syphilis and other diseases. In Peru, the tree is a protected species. This means that only naturally dead wood may be collected and used to make incense.
What is Palo Santo used for?
How is Palo Santo used?
The use of Palo Santo can be traced back to millennia-old traditions of the shamans. The wood is burnt or boiled as a remedy or for spiritual purification. This releases ethereal vapours that can be inhaled.
There are different ways to incense the natural wood. You can light the wood directly or burn wood chips on a sieve. Due to the essential oils, it burns immediately with a bright flame. Let the wood burn for about 30 to 60 seconds, then blow out the flame and let the wood glow. The most comfortable and safest way to burn incense is with Palo Santo incense sticks.
The aroma of Palo Santo is very complex and contains many different fragrance components. For example, it smells sweet, woody, limey, cinnamon, minty, vanilla, coconut and lavender.
Palo Santo Incense Sticks
Incense sticks with Palo Santo aroma are usually made from 100% natural substances. A high proportion of Palo Santo oil and wood is particularly important. The wood is pulverised and processed together with oil or resins into a paste, which is rolled onto bamboo sticks and dried in the sun.
On occasion, masala incense sticks are produced, which contain sandalwood or nag champa in addition to palo santo. This results in a pleasant aromatic mix for incense burning.
The advantage over natural Palo Santo wood is the simple and safe handling. Incense sticks do not burn, but glow. They can be extinguished and reused at any time. However, a disadvantage may be that incense sticks are usually made from a mixture of other aromatic resins, spices or dried flowers.
Natural Palo Santo has a pure aroma, but usually produces a very strong incense. This can occasionally be quite intrusive and the smell overpowering.