Product Spotlight: Palo Santo

Aug 20th 2021

Posted by Dr. Streicher and Maddy O.

Written by Maddy O.

Amrita Aromatherapy is proud to announce a new product, Palo Santo!

The Latin name, Bursera graveolens, is derived from gravis, which means ‘heavy’, and olens, which means ‘smelling’. It is the perfect name for this woody, sweet, balsamic aroma with nuances of citrus, mint, and soft spice. Whereas Palo Santo is the Spanish name given to this South American tree. It means “holy wood” or “sacred wood” which is very fitting given its many uses in spiritual practices.

The Making of Palo Santo

This wonderful essential oil is steam distilled from trees that grow along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to South America. Amrita’s Palo Santo is sustainably harvested in small batches from Ecuador. This tree type is known for being a part of the incense tree family, like its cousins, frankincense, and myrrh.

The male and female trees grow in clusters of 1 male tree to 8 female trees 1 because the lifespan of the male trees is about 200 years compared to the female trees lasting 40-50 years. Because of this lifespan, female trees are more abundant which allows them to be harvested more frequently.

As I said above, Amrita’s Palo Santo is sustainably harvested in small batches. This process can be long and hard work but the environment is not harmed, not even one tree! How you may ask? This is because only the deadwood is collected, and it must have died naturally and fallen to the forest floor. Next, the wood decays anywhere from 4-10 years. This aging process guarantees that the resins in the tree move to the heartwood, allowing the oil to develop its rich aromatic quality. If Palo Santo wood is harvested without completing this process, its aroma would not develop to its full quality and intensity. 2.

In order to make the Palo Santo essential oil, you then distill the harvested wood. Amrita’s source for Palo Santo has the wood steam distilled in small batches. Some of the molecules found in Palo Santo, limonene, and alpha-terpineol are familiar and found in many other essential oils like Tea Tree, Another molecule that is familiar in Palo Santo is menthofuran; this is found in Peppermint. These molecules are what makes Palo Santo cousins with Frankincense and Myrrh. These molecules allow Palo Santo to have a wide array of helpful benefits and properties.

How Can Palo Santo Help Me?

Palo Santo

Palo Santo has many different properties and helpful benefits but it is known for its healing, cleansing, and calming properties. One of its benefits is how it helps your respiratory system with any congestion, colds and flu, and allergies. This is because of the anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that help your lungs relax after having a flare-up. Palo Santo also has antiviral and antibacterial compounds, which make it a great oil to use in household cleaners.

Since Palo Santo is an anti-inflammatory, it can help your musculoskeletal system by reducing inflammation and muscle pain. Diluting this oil in a carrier or massage oil makes physical relief possible.

Palo Santo can help boost your immune system with its natural antioxidants as well as help fight free radical damage and tumor growth. Research 3 has been done into the limonene compound and found that it has the ability to fight cancerous cell mutation, but it was also discovered that the other compounds in Palo Santo can inhibit mutation in breast, colon, and lung cancer cells as well as tumor growth.

Palo Santo can also help your nervous system overcome stress, anxiety, poor mood, and poor concentration. It also inspires creativity. There has been scientific evidence 4 that suggests that our sense of smell is directly tied to our sense of emotional well-being and how we handle stress. It has been said that when someone comes in contact with any part of the Palo Santo tree they receive a transformative effect. This effect ranges from feeling nurtured to enhanced creativity to spiritual awakening.

Do you know that Palo Santo is also a natural insect repellent? You can sprinkle a few drops on your firewood or a candle before burning to help keep the insects away. Another suggestion would be to dilute this oil and apply some to your skin to have the same effect.

Now I have Palo Santo, How Do I Use It?

Well, you can use Palo Santo in many ways, you can apply it to your skin, diffuse it, or put some in a bath. We at Amrita recommend a maximum dilution of 3% in any carrier oil, which means no more than 15 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil, for all topical applications. You can apply directly on the affected areas like your chest, sore muscles, and very carefully under your eyes by your nose.

For the use of Palo Santo in an aromatic bath, please dilute in bath salts, milk, or similar before adding to a full bath. This is the best approach regarding your respiratory, nervous, or immune system. When diffusing Palo Santo all you have to do is add some drops to your diffuser. You can also diffuse Palo Santo for any spiritual work you may want to do, or just to brighten the mood.

Palo Santo can be blended with other essential oils, creating more new scents perfect for anyone that does DIYs. Here is a list of essential oils that blend well with Palo Santo:  Black PepperClove BudCedarwoodCypressCinnamon BarkFrankincenseMelissa (Lemon Balm)MyrrhSandalwoodVetiver, and Vanilla.

We are glad you want to use or have been using essential oils, but here are some safety precautions when using Palo Santo as well as some general guidelines when using essential oils.

  • Palo Santo can cause skin sensitization if it has been oxidized, which just means you can’t open it and let it sit around without the cap on for a while before putting it directly on your skin.
    • Oxidation happens over long periods of time, anything setting out for more than an hour is not recommended for use.
  • This is another no-no, never use essential oils undiluted unless the instructions indicate this is OK. Do not use Palo Santo undiluted.
  • It may also cause hepatotoxicity, which means it can cause damage to your liver cells if you do not follow the recommended maximum dilution of 3% or if you ingest it.
  • Do not take it internally.
  • Avoid getting the oil in your eyes, or your mucus membranes.
  • Please keep away from children.


Amrita Aromatherapy now has  Palo Santo (Bursera Graveolens)! We learned about the history of Palo Santo, where it comes from, how Palo Santo is made, and how you use Palo Santo safely. We hope this article was informative for you. We recommend trying Amrita’s Palo Santo would love to hear your feedback, whether in a comment below or as a review of the product. Plus, if anyone does any DIYs with it or would like share how they used Palo Santo, please let us know.


  1. McGregor, J. (2018, August 17). What Is Palo Santo? Science Trends
  2. McGregor, J. (2018, August 17). What Is Palo Santo? Science Trends
  3. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (2020, February 27). D-limonene.
  4. PT Staff. (2016, June 09). The Hidden Force of Fragrance: Boost Your Health and Mood by Surrounding Yourself with Pleasant Scents. Psychology Today.