Palo Santo Benefits

Palo Santo Benefits

What is Palo Santo, and How Is It Used Medically Used? 

Palo Santo, a mystical and aromatic wood with a rich history, has gained popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits. This sacred wood, originating from South America, has been used for centuries in spiritual and medicinal practices. In this blog, we will explore the fascinating world of Palo Santo, its traditional uses, and how it is employed for healing and meditation in the modern age. 

The Origins of Palo Santo: 

Palo Santo, scientifically known as Bursera graveolens, is a tree native to the coastal regions of South America, primarily found in countries like Peru, Ecuador, and parts of Mexico. The name “Palo Santo” translates to “holy wood” or “sacred wood” in Spanish, and it has been cherished for generations by indigenous peoples in the region for its diverse applications. 

Traditional Uses: 

In South American cultures, Palo Santo is deeply rooted in spiritual and ceremonial practices. It is considered a sacred and powerful tool for cleansing, purifying, and connecting with the divine. Some of the traditional uses include: 

  • Cleansing and Purification: Palo Santo is believed to clear negative energy and purify spaces, making it a common ritual tool before ceremonies and rituals. Shamans and healers often use it to cleanse individuals, homes, and sacred objects. 
  • Spiritual Connection: It is used to enhance meditation, prayer, and spiritual ceremonies. The fragrant smoke from Palo Santo is thought to create a clear and sacred space for connecting with higher powers and for personal reflection. 
  • Warding Off Negative Energies: Indigenous peoples believe that Palo Santo’s aroma helps to dispel malevolent spirits and negative energies, acting as a protective shield for those using it in their spiritual practices. 
  • Healing and Medicine: Beyond its spiritual significance, Palo Santo is also valued for its potential medicinal properties, particularly in traditional medicine. 

Medicinal Uses:  

Palo Santo is considered by many to have various health benefits, and its medicinal applications have been a part of South American folk medicine for centuries. Some of these uses include: 

Respiratory Health:

Palo Santo is often used as a natural remedy for respiratory issues. It is believed to have expectorant properties that can help alleviate symptoms of common colds, coughs, and asthma. Inhaling the fragrant smoke or using Palo Santo essential oil in a diffuser is thought to provide relief and promote easier breathing. 

Stress Reduction and Anxiety Relief:  

The sweet, uplifting aroma of Palo Santo is said to have a calming and mood-enhancing effect. Burning Palo Santo or using its essential oil in aromatherapy is believed to reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of well-being and relaxation. 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: 

Palo Santo is believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties due to its natural compounds. Some individuals apply Palo Santo oil topically to reduce inflammation in the skin or muscles. 

Enhanced Immunity: 

The use of Palo Santo is associated with the idea of enhancing one’s natural defenses. It is believed that regular use can strengthen the immune system, making it easier for the body to ward off illnesses. 

Using Palo Santo for Healing and Meditation: 

Palo Santo can be used in a variety of ways to support healing and meditation practices in the modern age: 

  • Smudging: Smudging is a traditional practice where Palo Santo is burned, and the fragrant smoke is wafted around a person, space, or object to cleanse and purify. This is often done before meditation or other spiritual practices to create a peaceful and harmonious environment. 
  • Aromatherapy: Using Palo Santo essential oil in diffusers or as a room spray can help promote relaxation and emotional well-being during meditation or yoga sessions. The soothing aroma can facilitate a deeper state of mindfulness. 
  • Massage: Palo Santo oil can be diluted with a carrier oil and used for therapeutic massage. This not only helps with physical relaxation but also contributes to a sense of spiritual well-being during the massage. 
  • Bathing: Adding a few drops of Palo Santo essential oil to your bath can enhance relaxation and promote a sense of emotional balance. This is especially helpful for those seeking to de-stress after a long day or prepare for a meditation session. 
  • Creating Sacred Spaces: Many individuals keep a piece of Palo Santo in their meditation or healing space to create an aura of spirituality and tranquility. Simply holding or gazing at the wood can help center the mind. 
  • Safety and Sustainability: When using Palo Santo, it’s essential to ensure that it’s sourced sustainably. The popularity of Palo Santo has led to concerns about overharvesting, which can harm the environment and local communities. Look for sustainably sourced Palo Santo from reputable suppliers to support ethical practices. 

It’s also important to note that while Palo Santo is generally considered safe, some individuals may be sensitive to the smoke or essential oil. As with any new substance, it’s advisable to conduct a patch test or consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. 


Palo Santo, the sacred wood of South America, offers a beautiful blend of tradition and modernity. Its use in healing and meditation practices continues to evolve, helping individuals find balance and well-being in their lives. Whether you are seeking to cleanse your space, alleviate stress, or deepen your spiritual connection, Palo Santo can be a valuable tool in your journey to better health and inner peace. Just remember to use it responsibly, ethically, and with an open heart. 

Dr Hafsa Ilyas

Onco-Radiologist & Medical Research Writer

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