Palo Santo

Palo santo is a traditional remedy for pain, inflammation, and stress. It’s also used to clear out negative energy. You can burn palo santo as incense or apply the oil on your skin.


Palo santo is available in different forms. You can use it as:

  • Wood. The wood of the palo santo tree is available as sticks, chips, or powder. It usually comes from the branches of the tree, so it’s 100 percent wood.
  • Resin. Palo santo wood contains a very aromatic resin, which can be extracted and used separately.
  • Oil. The essential oil of palo santo can be derived from the wood and fruit.


Palo santo wood

To burn palo santo wood sticks:

  1. Light a palo santo stick with a candle, lighter, or match.
  2. Hold the stick downward at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Let the stick burn for 30 seconds.
  4. Blow out the flame. Place the stick in a heatproof dish to let it burn.

When using wood chips or powders, place them in a heatproof dish. Light them with a lighter or match, then blow them out after 30 seconds.

Never leave burning incense unattended.




Palo santo is associated with several medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Reportedly, it can do the following.

Repel mosquitos

Traditionally, palo santo is widely used to repel mosquitos. It’s also said to deter ants, termites, and flies.

There may be some merit to this claim. According to a 2012 studyTrusted Source, palo santo essential oil is mainly composed of limonene. Limonene is a substance with insecticide properties, so it’s used in natural insect repellants.

However, there isn’t hard evidence to support this benefit. More research is necessary to determine how palo santo affects mosquitos.

Reduce pain

Another supposed benefit is pain relief. People use palo santo to treat different types of pain, including:

  • arthritis
  • headache
  • throat pain

However, it’s important to use caution if the following scenarios apply to you:

  • It’s your first time using the oil. Do a patch test first. If your skin becomes irritated, stop using the oil immediately.
  • You have lung or breathing problems. Avoid burning palo santo, which may worsen your symptoms.
  • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s recommended to avoid using palo santo oil or incense in this case.



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