Palo Santo—ethical origin, fragrance and properties
Our Palo Santo incense comes from Peru, is ethically sourced and certified by SERFOR. We support responsible, regenerative sourcing practices, & contribute to active reforestation efforts to ensure a long-term supply of the Bursera graveolens tree for future generations. We are very proud to partner with a sustainably-focused supplier & native communityies who oversee the sustainable and ethical trade of our beloved Palo Santo wood. Living trees are never cut down to make our Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens). We collect only naturally-fallen trunks and branches from the dry forests of Ecuador & Perú, where this wood is abundant. Our smudge sticks are gathered in nature, split by hand, and treated with appreciation and respect, by the local families committed to helping share Palo Santo’s incredible benefits.
Palo Santo is one of the most popular and most used incense, otherwise known as the “Holy Tree”. It is most often used for spiritual cleansing and balancing the energy. Traditionally, it is also used as a natural remedy for colds and flu, as well as stress. It relieves asthma symptoms, headaches, anxiety, depression and reduces inflammation. Known for its calming effect, it also supports the immune and nervous systems, which aids faster recovery. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects, and also supports the fight against viral and fungal infections.
The ritual of using Palo Santo dates back to the Inca Empire, where it was used during spiritual ceremonies and as traditional medicine. Today, almost 500 years later, Palo Santo is still used in Central and South American communities by shamans and healers who believe in its power to purify the aura, increase the flow of good energy and protect against bad vibrations. Its uplifting fragrance is the perfect partner for meditation, yoga, and breathwork. Raise your vibrations and discover peace and grounding as you enter into a deeper connection with Earth and inner awareness. Palo Santo is much more than just another trend or pleasant fragrance, and should be treated as such – with respect for its mysticism, properties and the culture it comes from.
What is the difference between Peruvian-origin and Ecuadorian-origin Palo Santo?
As with many natural products, there are subtle differences between products of different geographical origin. Just as coffee beans from different parts of the world can vary in their colour, shape or taste, Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) trees also vary in their aroma depending on their specific geo-regional source. At the most basic level, our Ecuadorian Palo Santo is slightly smaller in size, more round in shape, with sweeter notes of cinnamon, vanilla, & coconut. The Peruvian-origin Palo Santo is bigger in size and more rectangular in shape, with the slightly spicier notes of citrus and mint. Both can exhibit aromatic notes of the other, depending on the particular pieces of wood. They are both very lovely & are simply two different varieties of our beloved Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) wood.
How to use Palo Santo incense sticks?
Palo Santo is nothing more than a small stick from a tree with a high content of essential oils. It is a completely natural product. To burn, hold Palo Santo over the flame for about half a minute at an angle of about 45 degrees. The stick is properly lit not when it starts to smoke gently, but only when it catches the flame. Then, allow it to burn for a moment and blow it out to put out the flame. At this point it will start to smoke generously. Direct the smoke to the places that you want to cleanse or put the Palo Santo in a ceramic dish. It is a ceremonial incense, used for rituals, encouraging a moment of peace and reflection when burning.
Smudging ritual: White Sage or Palo Santo?
White Sage and Palo Santo are similar in some ways, as both plants aim to purify energy – your space or your own, aiming for a more positive, serene environment and better well-being. Considering the history of these unique plants and the fact that their use was illegal in the past, when using them, we should come from a place of gratitude for these products and their power. Sage is a stronger plant, used to remove all energy from a space, leaving it energetically empty and ready for new, positive vibrations. If you work with heavy, negative energy, it is sage that will get rid of that energy. What energy are we talking about? Ultimately we try to get rid of dense, stagnant, or blocked energy. It can be energy on an emotional level (arguments or toxic relationships), energetic (subconscious) or physical (being with people all day at work).
Then, after smudging with sage, positive energy should be restored as it has been completely cleared. How to do it? With high-vibration music, meditation, setting the intention, using essential oils or another incense like Palo Santo, which attracts positive vibes. To simplify it: Sage cleanses the bad and Palo Santo restores the good. We tend to reach for Palo Santo every day, because it simply stimulates positive energy, while purifying the air and introducing a unique atmosphere. Since this product adds positive energy back into space, no additional steps are needed, however, always be mindful of using both plants and be respectful of this ancient practice.
Sage is a powerful plant that cleans bad vibes aggressively. Palo Santo incense purifies while adding good energy and leaving an uplifting atmosphere. That’s why these two products make the perfect pair. It’s good to cleanse the space with sage first, and then introduce some good vibes and the relaxing Palo Santo fragrance. We recommend to use sage when you feel the need, when you feel that your energy needs to be purified, changed. Work with it as needed, with intention when you feel a blockage on an energetic or emotional level. Palo Santo, on the other hand, is the perfect companion for everyday rituals and practices – it refreshes the space, introduces a warm, unique fragrance, ground and makes us in the here and now, supporting our awareness.
Natural incense for smudging rituals
Smudging is a mindfulness practice that increases awareness and spirituality. It enhances concentration, harmony and balances the energy that surrounds us. The cleansing ritual can also be performed when we want to free ourselves from unfavorable situations or emotions that currently accompany us. Carrying out such a ritual can become a sign for us that a given stage (for example worrying or uncertainty) is behind us and it is time to move on. Smudging, or cleasnsing, our space with dried plants affects not only the space itself, but also directly us, cleansing our aura.
In many indigenous cultures, plants are more than just living organisms and are considered to have a soul. Thus, burning the dried bundles of plants was a way to connect with the spiritual sphere and establish contact with the spirit of nature, which is then asked to lend its protective energy, in accordance with the intention of the practitioner.
Find out more about smudging here.