Palo santo (Bursera graveolens) is a sacred tree that grows in South America. For centuries, people have used the wood of the palo santo tree for spiritual rituals of cleansing and purification. In fact, the name literally means holy wood. Indeed, this oil is great for spiritual purposes.

Beauty and Purpose in Death

Palo santo is steam distilled from dead trees and fallen branches. After the tree dies, the wood matures, developing a unique chemistry. Interestingly, the same chemistry does not occur when branches or trees are cut. So it is said that the essential oil carries the essence of this sacred tree, lending to its potency.

Clear the Air

The practice of burning palo santo wood to clear negative energy and bringing healing and spiritual connection is common among shamans and saints alike. The essential oil works much the same way. This oil is very uplifting and can help one feel more connected to a higher power and in tune with oneself. Additionally, the oil may remove impurities from the air, when distilled, and from your body, when applied topically. Some people also use palo santo to cleanse negative energy from gems and crystals. Try diffusing palo santo or applying a few drops just before prayer or meditation.


Palo santo has a calming, soothing aroma. It contains the constituent d-limonene, which is very therapeutic to the emotions. This oil helps to balance the root chakra, helping us to feel grounded and secure. It also supports the third eye and crown chakras, increasing spirituality and vision. Feeling down? Try a soothing bath with 3 drops palo santo, 2 drops orange, and 3 drops frankincense essential oils.


The grounding abilities of palo santo help bring a better sense of security. Not only that, but the cleansing properties offer protection as well. It is protective of the skin when applied topically. Traditionally, people used palo santo in smudging practices to cleanse homes and ward off negative influences or entities. Diffusing this oil in your home can uplift and increase the perception of security and protection.

To learn about another sacred tree oil that has been used in religious practices for years, check out this post on frankincense varieties.

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