Palo Santo: The Sacred Wood

Palo Santo (Incense Tree)

Image courtesy of Stellas mom at

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) essential oil is not overly common. I stumbled upon it several years ago and the scent intrigued me. Its balsamic and slightly woody fragrance pulled me to it although I did not know how I could use it. I found it to be beautiful when diffused, but it has greater benefits.

Due to its large percentage of the chemical constituent Limonene, Palo Santo essential oil is effective when used to alleviate colds, flu, and sinus infections, and to prevent these illnesses. As an anti-inflammatory it is useful in blends to ease muscle aches and the symptoms of asthma.

The tree, however, is mostly known for its spiritual qualities. The name translates to “Sacred Wood” and it was used by the Incas to purify and cleanse the spirit. Today we use the essential oil in meditation and rituals, much as we look to Frankincense which is a cousin of Palo Santo. The oil is considered calming and grounding making it helpful to those who meditate. At the same time it is uplifting and allows one to find a spiritual connection.

With these spiritual attributes in mind, I set out to make a blend for my husband’s yoga practice. I included Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) for the aspects it has that are similar to Palo Santo. I then rounded out the synergy with Neroli (Citrus aurantium) because it is seen as an oil that uplifts and inspires while calming the heart. The result was perfect for the close of a yoga session.

Yoga Spirituality Blend
2 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) essential oil
2 drops Neroli (Citrus aurantium) essential oil
2 drops Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) essential oil
1 TBS carrier oil
Mix ingredients in a small bottle. Place a few drops in the palm of your hand. Gently rub the palms together, bring them towards your face, and inhale.

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