What is Palo Santo & How is it Used

Palo Santo is a plant native to South America. Much like cedar and sage, palo santo offers a sweet yet musky scent that has been growing in popularity throughout North America. If you have walked into a spa or yoga studio lately, chances are you have gotten a whiff of its aromatic, calming, almost woodsy scent. 
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In Spanish, the name Palo Santo translates over to “holy wood.” With the rich spiritual history of the Yucatán and the many ways this plant is used for medicinal purposes by Yucatecans, it is no surprise why. 

Mayans all throughout the Yucatán have a deeply rooted spiritual connection that extends to the world around them. 

This spiritual connection plays a vital role in how Palo Santo is used. Many natives routinely use the plant as a way to clear negative energy from a space or room. Palo Santo is regarded as a way to help cleanse a space or a person. 

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Bundling up Palo Santo wood and burning it releases the rich aroma of the plant. 

As the wood burns, the sweet aroma and smoke are said to rid the space of negative energy. 

The scent is also very therapeutic and relaxing when inhaled. Through the Yucatán, Palo Santo has a long-standing history of being used to relieve stress, rid the body of pain, and even deter nuances like ants, mosquitos, and other insects.  

As you travel throughout the Yucatán, you will come across Palo Santo sold in local shops, villages, and even burning in private and public spaces. 

This remarkable plant can be used in its wood form, as a resin, or as an essential oil.

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About the Author

Nadia El-Yaouti

Nadia El-Yaouti is a writer and photographer based out of Central Virginia. As a travel writer, she enjoys connecting readers with stories and sharing photographs that depict the beauty of different cultures. Some of her most prized work introduces readers to underrated destinations like Mexico, Kurdistan, and North Africa. When she’s not juggling work, she can be found traveling the globe with her wonderful husband and three darling children.

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