What Is Palo Santo Good For?

Reviewed on 2/9/2021

Palo santo is a term used for different varieties of trees that are saturated with a unique resin.
Palo santo is a term used for different varieties of trees that are saturated with a unique resin.

Palo santo is a term used for different varieties of trees that are saturated with a unique resin. The botanical origin of trees varies, but most of them come from Burseraceae family trees, mainly Bursera graveolens, a wild tree that grows in dry tropical forests and is native to south American countries. The wood from the tree has been considered sacred by Spanish monks, and they have referred to it as “Holy Wood” or “wood of saints” for its healing, medicinal, and therapeutic properties. The natural decomposition of the tree usually takes around 3-4 years before it can be used. The components from the tree are now a popular ingredient in traditional medicine to cure various physical and psychological conditions.

Kindly note there is no scientific literature to support any of its uses, and hence, being prudent is important.

The forms of palo santo

Palo santo are commercially available in three different forms:

  • Wood
  • Resin
  • Oil

Palo santo wood is obtained from fallen branches of the tree. It is believed to be ideal for purification and is used in folk medicine for obtaining positive energy. The wood is available as sticks, chips, or powder. It is also used as an incense because it produces a strong, sweet scent when burned. On smudging, it is believed to create a sensual experience that introduces the mind to a state of peace, well-being, and removing bad energy.

Palo santo resin is used as an incense in the same way as wood, but it is more difficult to find than the wood and is easy to burn or smudge. On combustion, it produces a white woody smoke that is believed to be stimulating and euphoric for the human mind and helps ease fears and anxiety.

Palo santo oil is extracted from the fruit of the tree. It is used in aromatherapy and can be applied to the skin. The aroma from the wood produces a calming and relaxing effect. It also has antiseptic properties that are similar to those of tea tree oil, carrot seed, and many other essential oils. It helps protect the skin from skin infections and improves overall skin health.

How is palo santo used?

Palo santo can be used in the following ways:

  • It can be used as a diffuser or essential oil burner.
  • It can be added to a pot of hot water to make fragrant steam.
  • It can be inhaled from the bottle.
  • It can be diluted with a carrier oil such as castor oil and be applied to the skin.

Health benefits of palo santo

Palo santo is rich in limonene, a substance with strong antimicrobial properties. It also repels insects and influences the pain pathways in our brain.

Palo santo is believed to have the following health benefits:

  • It is used as a detoxifier and immune enhancer because it is claimed to support the immune system, reduces inflammation, and helps recover from pain, infections, and fatigue.
  • It is used as an analgesic, an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, an expectorant, and an insecticide.
  • The incense is very effective as an insect repellent, which keeps off mosquitoes and other bugs.
  • It can help combat migraines and stress-related headaches, increase blood flow to the brain and influence pain pathways in the brain.
  • It can help fight against cold and flu infections and viruses.
  • It lowers inflammation and body’s response to histamines. It fights seasonal allergies, digestive issues, and asthma-related symptoms.
  • Smoke and aroma are psychoactive that help increase the energy levels in the body, stimulate body’s relaxation responses, and reduce stress responses such as panic, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • It can help treat neck pain, chronic neck or back pain, sore muscles, and pain due to arthritis.

Palo santo is generally safe when topically applied. However, its health benefits should not replace medical treatment. It is advised to do a patch test of the oil first. Palo santo should be avoided by people with lung or breathing problems and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

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References
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23285824/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24125633/

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