If you're familiar with the world of wellness and alternative medicine, chances are you've heard of Palo Santo or Gaiac. This fragrant wood has been used for centuries in spiritual and medicinal practices and is now a staple in many people's self-care routines. But what is Palo Santo, and where does it come from? In this article, we'll explore the history of Palo Santo, its benefits, and how to use it for relaxation.

The history of Palo Santo in ancient rituals

Palo Santo, which means "holy wood" in Spanish, has a rich history dating back to the Incas and other indigenous tribes of South America. It was used in spiritual ceremonies to purify the air and ward off negative energy, as well as for medicinal purposes. The smoke from burning Palo Santo was believed to have healing properties and was used to treat everything from colds and flu to anxiety and depression.

In addition to its spiritual and medicinal uses, Palo Santo was also valued for its wood. The dense, hard wood was used to make furniture, tools, and even houses. However, due to its sacred status, the wood was only harvested sustainably and with great care.

How Palo Santo is harvested and prepared

Today, Palo Santo is harvested primarily in Ecuador and Peru, where it grows wild in dry, tropical forests. The trees are only harvested when they have died naturally and have been left to dry for several years. This allows the essential oils to concentrate, resulting in a higher-quality product.

Once the wood is harvested, it is carefully prepared for use. The outer bark and sapwood are removed, leaving only the heartwood. The heartwood is then cut into sticks or chips, used for burning as incense or making essential oil.

Palo Santo's rise in popularity in modern-day wellness practices

In recent years, Palo Santo has become increasingly popular in the world of wellness and alternative medicine. Its sweet, woody scent is believed to have a calming and grounding effect on the mind and body, making it a popular choice for meditation and relaxation practices. Les Vides Anges Perfumes makes an all natural Palo Santo heart wood perfume with the honeyed, smokey notes the inc nse is so famous for. 

Palo Santo is also believed to have antimicrobial properties, which may explain its traditional use in treating respiratory infections. Some studies have even suggested that it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

Palo Santo's spiritual and medicinal benefits

In addition to its physical benefits, Palo Santo is also believed to have spiritual benefits. Burning Palo Santo is said to clear negative energy and promote positivity and good fortune. Shamanic and energy healing practices often use it to cleanse the aura and facilitate spiritual connection.

Palo Santo is also believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body, making it a popular choice for meditation and relaxation practices. Its sweet, woody scent is said to promote a sense of inner peace and tranquility and may even help to reduce anxiety and stress.

How to use Palo Santo sticks and incense for relaxation

If you're interested in incorporating Palo Santo into your relaxation routine, there are a few different ways to use it. The most common method is to burn Palo Santo as incense. Simply light the end of a stick and allow it to burn for a few seconds before blowing out the flame. The smoke will release the aromatic compounds, filling the room with a sweet, woody scent.

You can also smudge with Palo Santo by waving a burning stick around your body or around a room to clear negative energy. Alternatively, you can use Palo Santo essential oil in a diffuser or a carrier oil for massage or topical use.

The sustainability of Palo Santo harvesting

As Palo Santo has grown in popularity, concerns have been raised about its sustainability. While the wood is only harvested from naturally fallen trees, the increased demand for Palo Santo has led to over-harvesting in some areas. To ensure the sustainability of Palo Santo harvesting, it's important to purchase from reputable sources that adhere to sustainable harvesting practices.

Conclusion: The enduring legacy of Palo Santo

From its use in ancient spiritual practices to its modern-day popularity as a relaxation tool, Palo Santo has a rich history and popularity, making their way into more and more perfume stores. Its sweet, woody scent and calming properties make it a valuable addition to any self-care routine, and its traditional uses in medicine and energy healing suggest that it may have even more benefits to offer. As we continue to explore the many uses of Palo Santo, it's important to do so with respect for its sacred status and with a commitment to sustainability.

So next time you're looking to unwind and destress, consider lighting a Palo Santo stick or burning some Palo Santo incense. You may be surprised at just how much this ancient wood has to offer.