What is Palo Santo?
Oh, Palo, it's only just a sacred tree that dies so that it can give life. I'll explain that part later.
The wood of the Palo Santo tree is referred to as Holy Wood.
Known the world over as Holy Wood, it's not just a sweet smelling beautiful wood, but the smoke of the burning Palo is a sacred medicine. The people of both Peru and Ecuador use it as a sacred ceremonial aromatic.
This sacred ceremonial incense is a treasure to the people of both lands and is noted as a healer, as a protector and as a divine presence.
True Palo farmers respect and honor the divine presence of the Palo tree. So much so that Palo distilleries don't cut the Palo Santo tree down. Tradition calls for us to wait until the tree dies. Once the tree has fallen, the roots still strong and vibrant giving off a new life so that the wood can now be cut. The reason this is, is because the oil begins to produce in concentrated form after the tree dies. A tree that has been dead longer will have a stronger aromatic smell and produces more healing benefits.
To use a tree that has died at least 3 - 4 years will produce some of the best Palo oil and the wood itself will burn sweeter and longer.
This is why we call it the tree that dies to live yet again.
Palo Santo has a cousin tree that you might know fairly well, the prized Frankincense. Both Palo and Frankincense are some of the worlds most fragrant trees, with some of the worlds most healing of all oils, resins and bark.
Most all of us who light Palo Santo get the feeling we would get if we had an aromatherapy session with Frankincense. That instant inner calm.
Well there's some major science behind the inner calming feeling we get from Palo. The oil similar to Frankincense and Myrrh has some potent chemical compounds. The reason we feel a sense of calm is due to the presence of a chemical called limonene.
Limonene is a turpene. It has been proven to assist with aniexty, depression and sadness.
It's a mood lifter. This chemical compound has also been proven to be a fantastic free radical fighter, and also able to fight infections. This is the same chemical that gives citrus it's citrus smell.
So when we hear the ancient people of both Ecuador and Peru say that they honor Palo as a healer, these people were ahead of their time. They identified these compounds before science was able to confirm it's benefits.
To burn Palo Santo is to disperse the chemicals into the atmosphere so they can be used by the olfactory glands by breathing in these compounds. To activate it's oils in the wood, burning it causes friction and causes the chemicals to burst out into millions upon millions of healing particles. These particles dancing in the atmosphere, cleansing the atmosphere, changing the atmosphere and purifying the vibes.
That previous paragraph, it's also backed up by science. There's another chemical compound called Germacrene in Palo Santo. Germacrene is know for its anti viral and antibacterial properties. So when we burn our Palo Santo, we really are cleansing the atmosphere of bacteria that might be in the air. Pathogens in the air, negative vibes and negative pest responsible for colds, flu or other illnesses don't stand a chance with Palo.
There are so many beneficial chemical compounds in Palo. It truly is a medicine and we can go on forever.
A healer, a lover, a shaman - the universe has really given us a friend.