What Is It and How to Use Palo Santo Essential Oil?


Palo Santo is regarded as ‘holy wood’ or ‘wood of the saints.’ Forty palo santo trees grow worldwide, but most are found in South and Central America. Palo santo is most widely used as an essential oil. In the past, the wood was utilized in spiritual cures such as aromatherapy, and it is still burnt in houses of worship today.

The essential oil derived from palo santo is deemed calming. It has a pale yellowish color. The smell of palo santo essential oil is sweet, citrusy, minty, and woodsy. Moreover, it has a huge variety of benefits, from alleviating the symptoms of respiration diseases to helping reduce stress. 

Chemical Properties of Palo Santo essential oil

The vast variety of health benefits that we get from palo santo essential oil is all possible due to the chemical properties through which it is composed. Almost 65 per cent of this essential oil is made up of monoterpenes. The rest of it is made by ethers, monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. 

The main chemical compounds from which palo santo essential oil is made are as follows:


This terpene results from the citrusy undertone that you can smell in the palo santo essential oil. It contributes to the fragrance of the essential oil and offers various health benefits such as alleviating anxiety and stress, relieving pain, boosting energy, fighting infections, and preventing free radical distress. 


This aromatic compound provides the minty fragrance present in a small amount within the Palo Santo essential oil.


This particular terpene is abundantly found in essential pine oil, but it is found in Palo essential oil in smaller quantities. It contributes towards the uplifting and warming effects of the essential oil. Moreover, it also acts as an antiviral, antibacterial, and booster for your immune system.


Carvone is found in many essential oils such as spearmint, dill seed, and caraway. It provides various health benefits in palo santo essential oil. These benefits include improvement in circulation, the boost in appetite, support in respiratory function, the remedy of digestive issues helps in sleeping better and getting rid of any stress or nervous tension.


It is best known for its antimicrobial characteristics.

How It’s made

Palo santo is made by steam distilling fallen trees and brush piles. The timber develops after the tree dies, generating a distinct chemical. Surprisingly, when branches or trees are chopped, the same biochemistry does not occur. According to a legend, the essential oil contains the spirit of this sacred tree, which adds to its strength.

Uses for Palo Santo essential oil

The combination of abundant limonene content and carvone and a-terpinol in the palo santo essential oil is responsible for all the health benefits from anti-inflammatory to antioxidant properties.

Some most important uses of this essential oil have been mentioned below:

Repulsion of insects

Using palo santo essential oil for the repulsion of insects is one of the common uses. It is believed that insects find the fragrance of palo santo essential oil very unappealing. Many people diffuse the oil externally or inside their homes to maintain mosquitoes and pests away.

Allergy Reducer

Since Palo Santo essential oil is mainly known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help fight against the symptoms that arise due to seasonal allergies. It can also help prevent digestive issues as well as symptoms that are caused due to asthma. 

To use palo santo essential oil as an allergy reducer, you need to take it as a dietary supplement. Inhaling it from the bottle several times daily can also help improve your condition and reduce your allergy. 

Removes Odors

In ancient times, palo santo essential oil was considered to keep negative energy away, but its properties are beyond just removing negative energy. Diffusing the oil throughout your home can help eliminate all bad odors inside your home. Moreover, it will also kill all the viruses or bacteria that might be harmful to you and cause illness. 

Provides quality sleep

Palo santo essential oil also has sedative effects. Putting some drops mixed with any carrier oil on your neck, chest, and temples before hitting the bed can assist you in falling asleep easily and prevent you from waking up numerous times in the night by keeping you asleep. Moreover, this oil has properties that will give you a peaceful sleep and make you feel more refreshed when you wake up in the morning.

Reduces Stress

The aromatic components present in Palo Santo essential oil influence your limbic system. Since your limbic system has the job of regulating your emotions and making you feel relaxed, therefore, Palo Santo essential oil alleviates stress by directly targeting this part of your brain. 

Reduces inflammation

The chemical compounds in palo santo essential oil have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. When these two properties combine in the essential oil, it is observed that inflammation is effectively reduced. This includes a reduction in headaches, joint, and muscle pain. You can apply this essential oil diluted carrier oil to affected areas for optimal anti-inflammatory effects. 

Regulate immune system

Palo santo essential oil is known to promote a good immune system. It can provide this benefit mainly due to the anti-inflammatory characteristics present in the oil due to some chemical compounds. Inflammatory responses due to stress, poor diet, or illness are reduced by using Palo Santo essential oil. 

The properties also render palo santo essential oil a great remedy for flu and colds. Additional benefits of palo santo essential oil include relief from nausea, congestion, 1:and dizziness.

To gain the immune-boosting benefit from palo santo essential oil, you need to dilute it with a carrier oil and then apply it to your chest. In this way, you will be able to inhale the calming vapors while you are sleeping and will be able to benefit from them.

How to use palo santo essential oil?

Combining palo santo essential oil with hot water and consuming it as herbal tea can be a detoxification agent. Just make sure that you use only a few drops of the essential oil and not more. It is considered one of the best remedies for calming the nervous system and to get a speedy recovery from illness, emotional pain, and chronic fatigue symptoms. 

Aromatically, you can use palo santo essential oil for aromatherapy. Diffuse the palo santo essential oil or inhale it from the bottle directly for aromatherapy using a diffuser. Either way, it will calm your nerves and make you feel relaxed.

Before applying the palo santo essential oil to your skin, make sure you dilute it with an oil like coconut oil in a ratio of 1:1 since you should not apply palo santo essential oil to your skin directly. Some skin types might likely react to frankincense, citrus, and palo santo oils by irritating that area. Therefore, you must administer a patch test to make sure it is safe and then go ahead and apply it all over the surface of your skin wherever you want. You must take care and consider all the cautions when applying the palo santo essential oil to children and pets.

Even though FDA approves you can ingest palo santo essential oil, it is important to consider the quality of the essential oil. You may use only top-notch oil brands for consumption purposes. It will help if you are looking for an oil that is 100 per cent therapeutic oil that is pure. You can add a drop of water or ingest it by mixing it with honey or a smoothie for consumption.

Strength of Initial Aroma


Aromatic Description

Palo Santo essential oil smells slightly fruity, balsamic, sweet, and woody. 

Blending and Uses

In a cream or carrier oil, a diffuser, or a spritzer, when you’re working with palo santo essential oil, we recommend that you blend it within ventilated spaces.

Is palo santo essential oil safe during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant or a mother who is nursing their child then, you should not use Palo Santo essential oil for any purpose. You must refer to a doctor and take medical advice before you go ahead and use it for a life-threatening condition.

Is palo santo essential oil Toxic?

Is palo santo essential oil Toxic is not necessarily toxic, but if you feel like your skin is starting to burn, you should stop using the oil immediately. Avoid burning the oil if you have a breathing or lung problem.

What substitutes are there?

  • Virginian Cedarwood
  • Juniper Berry
  • Myrrh
  • Cypress

What to look for when choosing Palo Santo

Many reports claim that it is hard to obtain original Palo Santo essential oil so, you must buy it from a renowned brand and make sure that you do all your research to prevent yourself from scamming. The palo santo deforestation has resulted in many states like Ecuador making a law against removing and cutting down Palo Santo trees.

The manufacturing of Palo Santo essential oil is limited as it has become an endangered plant, and many countries’ governments have placed restrictions. Therefore, finding authentic Palo Santo essential oil might be a bit tricky. 

Many companies over the internet sell this oil by naming it as ‘holy wood oil’ at lower prices so, you must not believe them as it can most likely not be original. It would be best to look out for the genus name ‘Bursera grave lens on the packaging to know that you are getting the right product. 

Only organic and 100 per cent pure oils provide the benefits mentioned above in this article, and only such kinds are for internal use to get rid of the inflammation on any part of your body. 

Caution, Safety and Side effects

Suppose you are putting palo santo essential oil topically. In that case, it is a must for you to do a patch test on a small part of your skin to ensure that you do not have an allergic reaction before you go ahead and apply it to a more sensitive area of your skin. It is recommended to test the oil on less sensitive areas such as your forearm or foot. 

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that all the essential oils, including Palo Santo essential oil, should never be applied to your skin directly. It should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and then applied to your body parts.

Moreover, it is also important to keep the Palo Santo essential oil away from your eyes, inside your nose and mucus membrane, children, and pets at all costs. Not doing so can result in infections and problems for which you will then have to take medical help. 

Palo essential oil has a life span of almost three to four years if stored properly in a cool and dry place. 

Final Thoughts

Historically, and even today, Palo Santo essential oils uses include treatment or prevention against allergies, flu, colds, bug bites, headaches and much more. These health benefits are due to the anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants present in the essential oil.

Moreover, you can reap more benefits from Palo Santo essential oil due to the phytochemicals and antioxidants that make up the essential oil. These other benefits include repelling cancer reducing inflammation and anxiety by soothing your nervous system.

The wide range of psychological and physical benefits provided by Palo Santo essential oil justifies why this essential oil was not only used throughout history but is also very common in the present due to the wide range of benefits it provides. 

You should make sure that you avail all the benefits provided by Palo Santo essential oil if you choose to purchase. It does not matter if you use the essential oil topically or aromatically for aromatherapy or if you inhale a bit from the bottle to get maximum benefits. 

Lastly, make sure you buy the Palo Santo essential oil from a reputable retailer to make sure it is responsibly sourced. It is also important to ensure that the essential oil you are buying is original because then only you will be able to avail the benefits. 

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