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Sacred Scents©
September 2010
Essential oil of the Month: Palo Santo
Kathy Padecky, AS, Aromatherapist, HHP, CBS
Botanical Name: Bursera graveolens
Common name: Palo Santo, Holy Wood, Holy Stick or Sacred Wood
Why I love: Its aroma is breathtaking, provocative, uplifting and it aligns
my body with my spiritual self. This oil, like frankincense, sandalwood and
myrrh heal on many levels. They are spiritual oils and they transport me to
a place of unconditional love and total peace.
Aroma, scent and color: It has a rich balsamic, woodsy, sweet scent. The
oil is clear and very aromatic.
Native to and history: The largest concentration of the Palo Santo tree is
found in the Machalilla Park on Ecuador’s Pacific coast. It is protected by the
national government. The Incas, Shamans and the indigenous of the Andes
used this plant for centuries for spiritual rituals and ceremonies to purify,
cleanse, spiritual evolution and to resolve misfortune. It is considered a
sacred plant by many. Palo Santo is also found in the Galapagos Islands.
Chemistry: Palo Santo is a complex essential oil similar in chemistry to
frankincense and sandalwood. The chemistry varies whether the wood is
coastal or inland as well as the trunk being red or white tree. It contains at
a minimum 2 types of monoterpenes (75-76%), d-limonene and a-pinene.
Monoterpenes are very volatile and they absorb quickly into the
bloodstream. They have the quickest physiological effect to the body. They
are immune stimulating, antiseptic and a tonic. They are very beneficial due
to their mildness and safety. Limonene is being studied for its anti-tumoral
(anti cancer) effects. There is the ketone (4%), carvone which is in the
terpenoid family. Ketones are mucolytic, antimicrobial and skin healing. For
some they may be hepatotoxic and neurotoxic. There are two types of
alcohols, a-terpineol (8-12%) and eudesmol.
Alcohols are antiinflammatory, antispasmodic and sedative. There sesquiterpenes which are
anti-inflammatory and calming. It also contains the furanoids menthofunan
(5-8%) and agarofuan. Furanoids are possibly phototoxic or a destroyer of
UV energy. Which effect it has depends upon the presence of other chemical
constituents and how it was produced. This is a hot topic of research.
There are also phenols which are strongly antiseptic, antifungal and antiinflammatory. In large amounts these can be skin and mucous membrane
irritating and possibly hepatotoxic.
Part of the plant: It is steam distilled from wood chips of dead heartwood.
The wood is dead for two years before it is distilled from the heartwood. The
red wood produces a higher quality of essential oil. No trees are destroyed
from the dead wood collected on the ground.
Palo Santo may help the body recover from the following: acne,
allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, cancer, cold, cough, depression,
dermatitis, flu, head ache, inflammation, insect repellant, muscular aches
and pains, neck pain, nervous conditions, panic attacks, psoriasis,
rheumatism, sprains, lack of spiritual awareness, stress, wounds
Palo Santo blends with: cedarwood, frankincense, lavender, myrrh, neroli,
rosewood, sandalwood, and vanilla.
Contraindications and Precautions: May cause skin sensitivity. Dilution
is required. Avoid during pregnancy and lactation.
Body, Mind and Spirit:
Palo Santo is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, immune stimulant and antibacterial essential oil. It works well with wounds, muscular aches and pains.
It repels insects as it shifts your spiritual awareness.
Palo Santo is powerfully calming with a soothing aroma. It increases
spiritual awareness and assists one to be in quiet contemplation and
meditation. It clears negative energies in the home or workplace.
Essential Oil Recipes:
Muscular aches and pains
Palo Santo
1 drop
Favorite carrier oil or unscented lotion
2 drops
Apply directly on location to relieve discomfort.
Open the Palo Santo bottle and inhale its vapor to relieve emotional
discomfort, panic attacks, depression, and spiritual upliftment. It enhances
mediation practices.
Increase your intention
Set your intention and place one drop of Palo Santo on your 3rd eye
(between the eyebrows).
Did You Know: The average life span of a Palo Santo tree is eighty to
ninety years old. Nine kg of Palo Santo sawdust produces 500 ml of
essential oil.
I was thinking of exploring knee replacement surgery. A
friend from South America said I needed to use Palo Santo. I tried drinking
the tea and rubbing the essential oil on my knee. I have to admit it is less
painful. I hope it continues to improve. However, I find my meditations
deeper and my life more cheerful. F.C.
Quote of the month: The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
Joseph Campbell
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and
Drug Administration.
Products and/or techniques mentioned are not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information
provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis,
treatment, or prescription for any disease. The decision to use, or not use,
any of this information is the sole responsibility of the reader.
The chemistry of essential oils made simple
Reference guide for Essential Oils
Dr. David Stewart
Connie and Allan Higley