The Magic Of Palo Santo
Palo Santo is a wood-based incense with a rich history of spiritual and medicinal use. So, we thought it time to take a closer look.
As many of us know, the world is full of botanical wonders that can be used for all manner of applications. More often than not, certain ones rise to fame within civilisations, becoming cherished, and even worshipped. A great example is the magic mushroom, which was a spiritual staple of ancient Aztec Society, or Blue Lily, which was held in great esteem by the Egyptians. Another such treasure is Palo Santo, a South American wood used as incense for both healing and spiritual practices – even featuring as part of traditional Ayahuasca rituals.
Palo Santo, Spanish for “Holy Wood” has been harnessed in South America for centuries. Its powers were so widely accepted throughout the region, that it even became a regular ritual material for the Saints resident there. When burnt, it creates a very light and refreshing citrusy mint aroma – leading it to be considered one of the most fragrant woods of the world.
THE EFFECTS OF PALO SANTO
So, what is so special about Palo Santo? Well traditionally, the wood is believed to have both therapeutic and medicinal healing powers – hence its use. It was burnt so that its smoke could cleanse and purify the being, facilitating healing. In terms of actual modern-day application, Palo Santo is anecdotally used to relieve the symptoms of stress, anxiety, headaches, common colds, and inflammation. It is also still used for spiritual benefit, helping users overcome emotional difficulty and find balance – this is a particular application of Palo Santo oil during aromatherapy.
As you can probably imagine, with such claims under its belt, various scientists have taken an interest in the actual composition and biochemical content of Palo Santo. One of the more interesting points to come out of research into this wood is that it contains an essential oil that appears to have anti-cancer properties for breast cancer MCF-7. It is only an initial finding, and needs much more in-depth studying, but the fact that it has been found backs up the idea that Palo Santo can have a positive impact on our wellbeing.
USING PALO SANTO
Traditionally, dried cuttings of the wood are burnt. The smoke produced carries the magical aroma of the wood, and any potential benefits it may have. However, not everyone wants to breathe smoke. In this situation, the wood can be boiled in hot water for a while to create a Palo Santo tea infusion. Palo Santo can also be obtained as an oil, which is then heated and vaporized for a much friendlier experience for the lungs.