What is Palo Santo?

Palo Santo (Bursera Graveolens) is a mystical tree that grows on the coast of South America and is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal.  In Spanish, the name literally means “Holy Wood”.  It is part of the citrus family and has sweet notes of pine, mint and lemon. It has been used for centuries by shamans in ritual prayer, ceremonies and healing. In addition to its spiritual pedigree, it actually has quite practical uses, too.


 Why  Palo Santo?

Palo Santo is enjoyed by many for its energetically cleansing and healing properties similar to Sage and Cedar.  It is a strong tool in keeping energies grounded and clear.  It creates a pleasant, fresh smoke that works well in keeping away mosquitoes and other flying insects which is one of the prime uses for the people who live in Ecuador..  It provides an uplifting scent that raises your vibration in preparation for meditation and allows for a deeper connection to the universe.  It is also said that Palo Santo enhances creativity and brings good fortune to those who are open to its magic.

The ultimate meditation and yoga tool.


Boiling the wood to make tea is a great all body cleanser, especially for the respiratory system. 

Another popular way to enjoy the aroma is to put the sticks in a satchel and place them in a drawer or closet

Healing Benefits


Palo Santo is traditionally used for relieving common colds, flu symptoms, stress, asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation, emotional pain and more.  The Essential Oil is great for Aromatherapy and can also be used during massage work to assist in healing. The aromatherapy benefits are also transmitted when burning it in the candle form.

Great for calming the immune and nervous systems for faster recovery of illness.  In essential oil form, it works well for physical pain and inflammation containing high levels of D-Limonene and Monotropenes that are useful for more serious ailments.

Burning Instructions


Use a candle, match or lighter to ignite your stick of Palo Santo.  Hold at about a 45 degree angle pointing the tip down toward the flame.  Allow it to burn for about 30 secs to 1 minute and then blow out.  Move about your workspace, home, car, bathroom or anywhere you would like to clear the energy.  The rich smell will also bring peace and clarity to the moment along with good vibrations . When finished, place the stick in a fire proof bowl.   The glow will end on its own unless you blow on the embers to keep the smoke going.  Unlike traditional incense, the same stick of Palo Santo can be reused multiple times.


Recently, there has been a lot of news in North America and beyond about how Palo Santo is endangered. Many of our customers have been told that businesses  that import Palo Santo from South America may encourage deforestation in its source region. We at Maison Palo Santo understand why they would think that and appreciate the good intentions of the people spreading this information! We also feel a strong desire for a more harmonious relationship with our Mother Earth. We would like to clear up some confusion on this issue and map out a way forward for sustainable production of this beneficial, delightful wood.

Much of the confusion about Palo Santo may arise from the fact that there are actually two South American trees called Palo Santo, and they are both frequently enjoyed for their fragrances. Although these trees share the name Palo Santo (the name translates from Spanish as “Holy Wood,”)  they are two totally different species that grow in different parts of this vast Spanish-speaking region. One of these species, a mahogany-like tree known to botanists as Bulnesia sarmientoi, actually is threatened with over-exploitation … but not the one we sell (Bursera graveolens).

There is an easy way to tell the two types of Palo Santo apart: Palo Santo from the threatened Bulnesia sarmientoi tree is dark and reddish, akin to mahogany. Palo Santo from sustainably harvested Bursera graveolens, such as what we at Maison Palo provide, is yellowish-tan, and sometimes streaked with darker shades of gray or brown.


Our partners in the Manabi region of Ecuador have never cut down a single Palo Santo tree. The wood is gathered from fallen trees that have aged at least four years, allowing the resins to naturally develop. When it comes to Palo Santo, a cut tree is a bland tree. In order to produce the resin we enjoy for its delightful healing aroma, Palo Santo requires a natural death and a prolonged aging period. It’s during this time that a concentration of aromatic oils develop, intensifying its unique fragrance and healing properties. As such, the cultivation and harvest of Palo Santo is ideally suited to a sustainable business model that emphasizes an intimate working relationship with the land.

The essential oil we use is vapor distilled with no additives or chemicals or solvents. The fallen branches are treated with love and respect creating a high quality product.

Meet the amazing supplier we learned everything about Palo Santo from, and the inspiration behind our passion to help the reforestation project of this important tree! 


© 2019 Maison Palo Santo