Palo Santo essential oil (Bursera graveolens)


Botanical Name: Bursera graveolens

Common Method of Extraction:
Steam distilled

Part Typically Used: Dead heartwood

Clear – Pale Yellow

Consistency: Thin

Perfumery Note:

Strength of Initial Aroma: Sweet, woody, citrusy and slightly minty. Reminiscent of Frankincense.

Palo Santo is common today as a type of incense. Palo Santo Oil or “Holy Wood” is a very spiritual essential oil.

Bursera graveolens is a wild tree native from Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula to Peru and Venezuela that inhabits the South American Gran Chaco region. It is also found in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and on the Galapagos islands.

The tree belongs to the same family (Burseraceae) as frankincense and myrrh. Palo Santo (or Palosanto) is used for crafting objects and to produce burning sticks: however, production of essential oil is attracting most of the modern interest. Chemical composition, as reflected by aroma, is variable.

The essential oil is distilled from the heartwood of the Palo Santo tree. It is fascinating that the heartwood must be at least two years old and be from the red wood to produce the higher quality oil. I have also read that the longer the tree has been dead, the more powerful the oil. This also holds true for frankincense essential oil.

The use of Palo Santo from Bursera graveolens is traditional in South America, especially in Ecuador. According to the local customs, it is used against the “mala energía” (bad energy).

In Ecuador it is against the law to remove or cut down Palo Santo trees as they are protected. Additionally, even taking the dead trees has limitations and must be permitted through the government. So, there are very few companies that are permitted to even touch the trees, more or less produce the essential oil.

These are protected, one thousand year old trees from which the windfall is collected from the ground and considered sacred by the indigenous peoples for many generations.

Essential oils
made without harming the Palo Santo tree. We only process wood that has been found to have died naturally in the forest. Tree grows for about 40 years and then dies. Then, it has to lay down for about 10 more years before we can process it.

Palo Santo oil was used during the time of the Incas for its reputed spiritual purifying properties.

The essential oil of the Palo Santo tree has many applications in aromatherapy.

Chemical structure:

Aged heartwood is rich in terpenes such as limonene and α-terpineol.

Animal studies show that d-limonene is contained in the peels of citrus fruits such as grapefruit, orange and lemon. It is a powerful antioxidant.


No information currently available! If you have specific knowledge on the subject, please submit information below!


No information currently available! If you have specific knowledge on the subject, please submit information below!


No information currently available! If you have specific knowledge on the subject, please submit information below!


This tree inhabits the South American Gran Chaco region (northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and the Brazilian Mato Grosso). Palo santo is used by medicine-men and shamans at ayahuasca ceremonies, rituals, healing and cleansing sessions. It has a surprisingly strong and sweet smell when burned, which is why palo santo is used as incense.

Palo Santo is used in South America in much the same way as White Ceremonial Sage is used in North America – to combat negative energy and to cleanse the space.

Palo Santo has been used for hundreds of years by native shamans for spiritual applications. For those that integrate essential oils within meditation, prayer or other spiritual applications, Palo Santo is an oil to pay close attention to. I personally find the oil to be particularly grounding and calming, and it is important oil for use in Chakra applications. Opens the Third Eye and Crown chakras.



There are currently no mixtures created with this compound!


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