Bursera graveolens, palo santo, or holy wood is a wild tree native to Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula to Peru and Venezuela. It is also found in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and on the Galápagos Islands. Palo santo has been used in a wide variety of spiritual and religious practices for centuries, and there are so many ways to incorporate this oil into your daily routine. Let’s talk through three ways to use palo santo.


Palo santo is an excellent alternative to sage for smudging practices. Smudging is the practice of burning plants to clear energy from environments. If you don’t want to burn wood in your home, try diffusing palo santo essential oil.

The aroma of palo santo essential oil is similar to frankincense and more earthy. Create a diffuser blend with 3 drops palo santo, 3 drops frankincense, and 3 drops geranium essential oil.


The aroma of palo santo wood and essential oil is uplifting to the mind and spirit. Place a couple of drops of palo santo on the crown of the head before practicing yoga or meditation. Simply sit for 3-5 minutes in quiet and solitude, and recite a simple mantra in your head like “I am here,” “I am loved,” or “I am valued.”  Choose any mantra that you like for the process. There is no correct way to meditate. It is simply an act of doing it that matters.


Boil a pot of water. Grab a towel. When water is boiling,  move to a large bowl. Add a few drops of palo santo. Throw the towel over the back of your head, and hang head over the large bowl of steaming water. Inhale for 5-10 minutes. If the timing is convenient, you can save the water for a bath, if not discard. 

When you inhale palo santo, there is a clarifying and focusing energy that comes over you. It supports the nervous system and calms the mind.

And no, I am not worried about the hot water affecting the quality or potency of the essential oil. It is merely helping the oil to evaporate more quickly. I do not recommend burning essential oils in burners because the residual oil left behind can be affected, but this quick inhalation technique has been used for centuries as a way to support the respiratory system and clear the mind.

Want more?

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