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Palo Santo Uses and Benefits

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Palo santo (“holy wood”) comes from Bursera graveolens, a wild tree native to South America with a sensual woody aroma, and rooted in indigenous wisdom and ancient healing practices. For centuries, healers have burned it during traditional ceremonies as an energy cleanser, using its smoke to rid themselves of negative energies and optimise healing.

Today, palo santo is still widely used in South America for its various properties, while in the West is has found popularity in aromatherapy and naturopathy thanks to the plant’s unique combination of organic compounds known as terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for aroma and flavour, and they are believed to help promote relaxation, improve focus, reduce anxiety, and possess anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

These are some of the best uses of this tree:

1. Reduce stress levels

Thanks to its deeply relaxing scent that affects the body and brain’s olfactory and limbic systems by inducing a profound sense of relaxation and calm, palo santo is known as an instant mood-booster. To benefit from its aromatherapy benefits at home, add a few drops of palo santo oil to a diffuser or essential oil burner, or dilute it with a carrier oil such as castor oil and apply it to the skin.

2. Help reduce inflammation

Another calming ritual that comes with additional digestive benefits is freshly brewed palo santo tea – an aromatic herbal infusion that is gaining popularity as a natural remedy for various ailments. To make this tea, simply steep sustainably sourced wood shavings in hot water and start enjoying the plant’s anti-inflammatory, de-stressing and analgesic effects.

3. Create a cathartic smudging ritual

Unleash the mythical power of palo santo with a smudging ritual – a practice to clear energy fields by using a piece of burning palo santo stick to purify the room, and banish negative energy from both the space and your mind. This is a mindful and intentional activity that releases and shifts energy in a space and helps you decompress.

4. Treat minor ailments

In oil form, palo santo can be used as a traditional herbal medicine to help alleviate a wide variety of physical and mental ailments including colds, flus, anxiety, depression, asthma, bronchitis and headaches. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, this multi-purpose plant remedy can also be used to provide pain relief for arthritis and joint pain.

5. Improve skin

A multi-tasking skin solution, palo santo oil can provide a solution to battle dry, flaky, or wrinkled skin. As the salve is rich in antioxidants, applying it to the skin causes new skin cells to form and the appearance of age spots and blemishes to fade. When used as a facial massage oil, palo santo enhances moisture and circulation to keep skin supple and radiant.

Exclusively curated by Sacred Body Rituals® for Banyan Tree Veya, is the Plant-Infused Restorative Journey – a deeply immersive Spa Wellbeing treatment featuring the highly emotive scent of palo santo to connect with nature and takes us back to times of ceremony, meditation, transformation & grounding.  

Experience a ceremonial journey of sounds, scents, vibrations and plant-infused wellness rituals, rejuvenate through a balancing massage and nourish with a gentle, rhythmic facial, to alleviate pain, inflammation and stress, and restore clarity to the body and mind. Inspired by rituals and deep-rooted traditions, this is a restorative journey to the inner self.