Palo Santo Essential Oil
Description: Our Palo Santo Essential Oil (Bursera graveolens), Spanish for “saint wood” or “holy wood”, comes from a family owned distillery in Ecuador which only distills the heartwood of Palo Santo trees that have died and fallen. Palo Santo wood is considered very spiritual in the local culture and is often used in ceremony; it is referred to by local people as “the tree that perfumes the axe that wounds”.
No live trees are harmed in the production of our Palo Santo essential oil.
History: Palo Santo means “Holy wood” and it has also been referred to as Saintwood. In the local culture, it is considered to be a powerful plant spirit and it is used both in ceremony and medicinally.
Our distiller, a native Ecuadorian, who has studied and practices the local shamanic tradition says that by his personal experience, he has found that there are two kinds of people that react strongly to the smell of Palo Santo Essential Oil. Ones who have an illness often react quite positively to the smell while others, who have negative energies inside, react like “Dracula to garlic”. In traditional practices, negative energies are expelled by shamans during ceremonies in which pieces of the smoking wood are rotated over the “patient” in a counter-clockwise direction. Locals believe that similar ceremonies using the wood are capable of producing dramatic, even miraculous, healings.
Process of life and death of the Palo Santo Tree: There is little research based study on the tree of Palo Santo and its ecosystem, so that the data presented her are based on the personal observations of our Palo Santo distiller in the dry forest of Manta – San Mateo province of Manabi – Ecuador.
The process of life of this tree begins with the seed that is swallowed by small animals of the dry forest in Ecuador. The digestive process aids the seeds to germinate when expelled. Tree growth is quite slow, partially because they pass almost into a state of hibernation in the summer, or the season of no rain. The tree drops its leaves until the return of the rainy season. Occasionally, the dry forest will go through a period of up to four years without significant rainfall. It takes a calculated minimum of 50 years for the adult tree trunk to reach and approximate diameter of about 45 centimeters. The age of the oldest trees is not known for certain but, by counting tree rings, that some may be more than 100 years old.
The Forest of Palo Santo is classified as xerophytic or dry; it is a primary Tropical dry forest. Within this forest there is a density of approximately 30 adult trees per hectare in the area indicated. The death of tree comes by natural processes, and one of them seems to be caused by an insect: a variety of coleopteran. The insects select a tree, perhaps at random, or because it is weak or sick, and deposit their eggs inside. The larvae consume the inside of the tree and it dies slowly and either falls or is left standing. Only the Palo Santo trees that have been dead for at least three years have accumulated the natural resin that is slowly absorbed into the heart wood and can yield this pure essential oil renowned for its healing powers.
Our Palo Santo Essential Oil is part of our Artisan Quality line of essential oils.Essential Oil Safety Considerations