Palo Santo – What Is The “Holy Wood” And How To Use It For Inner-Peace

Palo Santo, or the “holy wood”, is used to enhance spiritual practices, dissolve negative energy, and combat unwanted entities.

This article will cover the energetic and spiritual benefits of this South and Central American tree.

You’ll learn how it was used in the past and why now is becoming popular among spiritual practitioners.

More and more people turn away from modern medicine and seek solutions in ancient practices such as Yoga, Reiki, or other types of meditation.

For one reason or another, we’re sometimes tired of this fast-paced world and want to find the tranquility we need to function properly.

It’s good that our society is evolving. Great things are happening, but we also need to take care of ourselves. Otherwise, we’ll be left behind and won’t be able to enjoy this evolution to its fullest.

These ancient rituals and alternative ways to wellness seem to aid our bodies in a way modern medicine doesn’t. Each one has its role, and the best thing to do is find the right balance for you. This is the main reason why essential oils, incense sticks, and burning wood like Palo Santo have become so popular in recent years.

What Is Palo Santo

Palo Santo is a medicinal tree that grows in exotic areas. You can find it in northern Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, the coast of Ecuador, Bolivia, and the Yukatan Peninsula.

Its scientific name is “Bursera Graveolens”, and it’s related to FrankIncense and Myrrh.

Palo Santo translates as “holy/sacred wood”.

Apart from its beautiful fragrance, Palo Santo acts as a powerful, natural “tool” in therapy. It has a variety of benefits at both the physical and spiritual levels.

But how did a rare wood like Palo Santo gain its popularity in a world dominated by allopathic medicine?

The Origins Of Palo Santo

The Inca Kingdom priests used Palo Santo for spiritual purification and mental cleansing. They believed that its smoke could dissipate negative thoughts, energies, and unwanted entities.

Further on, this tradition was passed to the shamans in Central and South America. They are still using Palo Santo in their rituals to cleanse a person before and after a deep trance or meditation.

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Today, more and more spiritual practitioners use heated or burned Palo Santo for relaxation, stress relief, and emotional cleansing.

I like comparing these ancient practices with more “modern” approaches such as Reiki and Yoga. The quote on quote states that these have been around for a while, thousands of years. I don’t imply that they are newly discovered. I’m just referring to the way we know and practice them today.

The real modernization is the way they’ve been adapted to today’s environment. They give our world a healthy boost towards spiritual development, which I believe is a good thing.

What Is Palo Santo Used For And How Does It Smell Like

There is quite an array of uses that vary from relaxation and well-being to energy cleansing and deep meditation.

I’ve tested Palo Santo on many occasions. I’ve experienced its effects in Reiki self-treatment as well as treatment on others. Heck, once I even fell asleep next to a burning Palo Santo, but I’ll get to this later.

The Fragrance

I would do a disservice to this unique essence if I didn’t start with the first thing you notice when you burn it.

Its fragrance.

Palo Santo is a mix of pine, cedar, and citrus. How great is that? Of course, it’s a woody fragrance that provides a feeling of nasal relief and mental comfort. It’s the very first you experience.

What I would advise is to burn it with care. If you leave it for a prolonged period, it will create a strong scent that not everyone enjoys.

Don’t Overdo It

You can try this as an experiment if you want. I did it to see what happens, but it’s a more “extreme” way of using Palo Santo. I left it under heat before I went to bed. Of course, I took the right measures and placed it away from flammable materials. When I woke up, there was a strong, burned wood smell. It was a bit suffocating and a poor experience overall.

The lesson here is that there’s no need to overdo it, especially before going to bed. Because it has a quick and strong effect is enough to burn it for 10-15 minutes, even an hour but not more than that.

This takes me to the next and most important use of Palo Santo.

Cleansing Your Energetic Fields With Palo Santo

While it may have a physical decongestion effect, it certainly has one in the energetic realm.

Whenever heated or burned, Palo Santo creates smoke that can help remove negative influences that are the root of many problems.

Using Palo Santo For The Flu

Palo Santo can alleviate flu symptoms and headaches. As mentioned before, while it may not treat the flu entirely, it will help with the sinuses’ decongestion.

It also dissipates the negative energies that come together with the flu. Therefore, Palo Santo cleanses the etheric and mental subtle fields. In the physical plane, it can help heal the headaches.

Using Palo Santo For Stress Relief, Depression, And Anxiety

Palo Santo is well known for diminishing negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and stress. It helps raise your vibration and supports the transition into a state of relaxation.

I often use it for personal benefit, and when I’m with friends, co-workers, or relatives. It always has a calming and stress-relieving effect for everyone.

When the smoke of Palo Santo meets the emotional subtle field, it removes part of the residual and negative energies at this level. It creates an aura of well-being that keeps away negative emotions.

Of course, this doesn’t last forever. Palo Santo works, but it’s not magic. At the end of the day, it’s is up to you to properly take care of yourself and your emotional well-being.

How To Use Palo Santo

Here are 3 ways to burn this wonderful, high vibrational wood:

  1. Heat it;
  2. Burn it;
  3. Wear it;

Let’s take them one by one and see the benefits.

Heat It Up

This implies heating the surface where you lay the pieces of Palo Santo. To do this, you’ll need an incense heater. This is a simple device that uses the flame of a candle to heat a metal surface. It will warm-up until it releases its smoke and fragrance. Again, the flame of the candle does not reach any of these elements.

how to use palo santo

This is probably the best way to use Palo Santo.

It doesn’t create excessive smoke and slowly emanates a pleasant aroma. Another perk is that it lasts longer. The continuous flame helps the incense stay consistent and doesn’t wear off that fast.

You can place this device anywhere you feel like. Just stay safe.

If you put it in the center of a room, you’ll feel it’s beneficial energy spread. You can place it a few minutes in each corner for a more thorough cleansing. Experiment, and eventually, you’ll find a sweet spot.

How To Burn Palo Santo

Use a regular lighter on anything that does the job. Gently burn a piece of Palo Santo. Place it in a safe area on a non-flammable material.

While you may need to reignite the wood from time to time, the effect will be quicker and more intense. Of course, you’ll get a thicker smoke and, indeed, a more concentrated smell.

You can use this method to smudge yourself. This implies running the wood around your aura to cleanse any negative energies and/or emotions. Do this multiple times until you feel calm and at peace.

You can also use the smoke of Palo Santo to cleanse a room. Simply wave it around the corners and center of the room a few times. The smoke will do the heavy lifting.

If you’re looking to cleanse a room from negative energies with Reiki, burn a piece of Palo Santo and use it when you draw the symbols.

Wear It For Protection

It may not have the power of a properly energized crystal, but keeping a piece of Palo Santo with you, will definitely have its benefits.

There are energies and even entities that are repelled by its presence and smell. It’s the same with frankincense, myrrh, or cedarwood. Because these natural elements have a high vibration, they can act as a layer of protection.

Additionally, it has a subtle fragrance.

Palo Santo Oil

The oil extracted from Palo Santo is a more convenient way of taking advantage of its beneficial properties.

Apart from its strong fragrance, it has several other uses.

One of the best ways is to put the oil into a diffuser or an incense heater. The effect, in this case, is immediate, and the benefits become present quite quickly.

  • Much like the wood itself, the Palo Santo oil works amazingly well in tackling depression, stress, and anxiety;
  • If you rub it on your skin, it can act as an anti-inflammatory substance;
  • Also, it is capable of alleviating nausea, fatigue, and headaches;
  • One of Palo Santo oil’s lesser-known benefits is its ability to keep away mosquitos and other insects. The same applies to frankincense and myrrh;

Make sure not to abuse it. As a powerful scent, it should be used in small quantities. A few drops here and there are more than enough to do the work. Also, test small amounts on your skin to see if you are not allergic to the oil.

There are also perfumes based on Palo Santo. Obviously, they don’t have the same effect as the essence, but it can be something you might enjoy.

Palo Santo vs. Sage

Like Palo Santo, Sage has gained its share of popularity among spiritual practitioners. The demand for it is relatively high these days.

They have similar uses, and it’s common to choose one over another. Even so, there are few differences you need to take into account before making your pick.

Sage is used in cleansing a space, an object, and the aura of a person. It has a strong, beneficial effect in dissipating the residual and negative energies. You can also use it to repel certain entities.

However, it doesn’t have the same impact on your congested nasal passages, as Palo Santo does.

Is Sage Better Than Palo Santo

Palo Santo has a higher vibration, in my opinion.

While sage can have a thorough, energetic cleansing effect, I believe Palo Santo is able to bring special beneficial energy.

Besides, to be honest, I prefer heating Palo Santo over sage. The latter has a particular odor that’s not enjoyable for most people.

But there is one benefit that’s exclusive to sage.

Using Sage In Everyday Life

You can make one of the most memorable teas in the world. It’s extremely simple and combined with lemon and honey, it can help weaken the flu symptoms and boost the immune system.

It has a cleansing effect over your body, and it’s a great way to relax and find calm. Keep in mind that it can be quite intense. Avoid it if you don’t have enough time to rest.

In my experience, sage tea is one of the highest vibrational drinks I ever had.

Find Your Favourite

There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Both have great cleansing qualities while acting differently. Depending on your purpose and how you use them, it’s easy to choose one over the other. My advice is to try them both, considering the above descriptions. I’m sure your experience will tell a slightly different story, and that’s the one you have to follow.

Using Palo Santo In Reiki Therapy

Before and after a Reiki self-treatment and/or therapy on others, I use some kind of fragrance. Incense sticks and scented candles were one of my favorites. I experimented with frankincense, which I’m still using, and then learned about Palo Santo. One of my Reiki teachers introduced me to this beautiful element. It got my attention immediately.

Palo Santo creates such a relaxing environment that it’s now part of most of my Reiki sessions and not only.

All others work just as well. But, incense sticks can become a bit too strong and sometimes toxic. Frankincense is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, not everyone resonates with it.

Palo Santo hit the balance mark. It works for almost everyone.

During self-treatment, Palo Santo complements the Reiki treatment very well. Together with the Reiki symbols, it enhances the cleansing process of the room before and after treatment.

I also use it to cleanse my and my patient’s energetic fields.

What To Consider Before Buying

Due to its high demand, Palo Santo is considered endangered in some parts of the world. Even so, the bigger threat comes from its habitat. The degradation of tropical forests inevitably has an effect on the tree.

Either way, it’s a good idea to consider distributors that mention the pieces of wood are collected from fallen and dead trees rather than healthy ones.

This is more of an environmental issue and not a quality one.

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Palo Santo is probably the most tolerated fragrance of all.

Its physical and energetical properties are quite strong and can be used in various ways.

It’s an essence used in physical and energetic cleansing for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Therefore, its vibration should not be underestimated.

Palo Santo can fend off negative energies, thoughts, and even entities.

Use it wisely and in balance.


It’s Your Turn

Have you used Palo Santo before?

What’s your experience with it?

If not, are you looking to try it out? Let me know in the comments below.


Vlad and ReikiScoop

Vlad is the co-founder of ReikiScoop, a spiritual brand that supports those eager to tap into the universal life force energy through specialized courses, an actionable newsletter, and inspiring resources. He is a dedicated Reiki enthusiast and spiritual seeker who has reached the master-teacher level in Usui Reiki, Karuna, and Shamballa MDH.

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9 thoughts on “Palo Santo – What Is The “Holy Wood” And How To Use It For Inner-Peace”

  1. I just recently purchased some palo santo essential oil because I adore the fragrance the burning wood creates. I was looking for ways to use the oil. Thank you for sharing your experience with it!

  2. I’m trying to make a palo santo water (spray) with using wood not oil. Does anyone have a recipe using thee wood to make a water? Thanks

    • Hi Joyce.

      I am not aware of such a recipe. If you find one, let me know. Usually, I simply use the wood by itself.


    • a Soxhlet apparatus can be used to isolate the odorous substance. The principle consists in continuous washing of raw materials with the same amount of hot alcohol(~96%) until all soluble substances are completely dissolved. Raw materials are first crushed. Alternatively, prior to grinding palo santo can be heated in the oven, wrapped in aluminum foil, until it begins to carbonize to add aromatic facets and overtones, and a mixture of raw and heated wood can be used for extraction. Or each separately. Some compounds during this extraction can change the organoleptic qualities, but for palo santo, I think this process can be relevant. If you mean water, H2O, then there is a possibility that palo santo flavor may not dissolve in water (or not completely). Of course, after extraction with alcohol, the solvent can be evaporated, and the absolute with water can be turned into a dispersion for spray with the help of emulsifiers. But this option does not seem very successful to me.

  3. Dear Vlad,
    I am hooked to your website, so grateful I came across Reikiscoop. I was (and continue to be) thirsting for clarification, information and knowledge.

    Thank you, many blessings your way!


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