Palo Santo Essential Oil Health Benefits – Nutritional Value, Health Benefits

Palo Santo Essential Oil Health Benefits – Nutritional Value, Health Benefits

Palo Santo Essential Oil is gaining more widespread use within holistic aromatherapy. However, there is great concern regarding the sustainability of Palo Santo Essential Oil. When purchasing the oil, it is very important that you ensure that you are purchasing oil that is distilled specifically from Bursera graveolens and that you source it only from reputable suppliers that are mindful and actively support the sustainability of this revered tree. For more information, see the Sustainability and Conservation Status section below.

Palo Santo is a tree found originally in the tropical forests on the coast of the South Pacific, but Ecuador is now the main country where this tree is harvested. Palo Santo Oil is concentrated and found only in the interior of the tree’s trunk. It can take up to 10 years to produce the oil. The average life of the tree of Palo Santo is between 80 and 90 years. Because of over-harvesting, currently, only tree branches that have fallen naturally to the ground are used for the distillation of this oil. Harvesting Palo Santo helps provide social and economic growth to the people of its communities.

Name Palo santo essential oil
Scientific Name Bursera graveolens
Native Native South American trees from countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Oil Color Clear to pale yellow to light brown
Flavor/Aroma Sweet, woody, citrusy, and slightly minty.
Plant Parts Used Aged deadwood from fallen trees
Method of Extractions Steam Distillation
Commonly Blended with
  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Myrrh
  • Rose Otto
  • Douglas fir
  • Bergamot
  • Patchouli
  • Neroli
  • Lavender
  • Vetiver
  • Tangerine
  • Pine
  • Palmarosa
  • Spikenard
  • Ambrette
  • Amyris
  • Balsam of Peru
  • Buddha Wood
  • Guaiacwood
  • Orange Sweet
  • Siam Wood
Approx. Shelf Life 3 – 4 years
Traditional Uses and benefits
  • Apply a few drops of Palo Santo topically to your temples, the nape of your neck, your heart, or the soles of your feet while meditating to ward off negative emotions.
  • Add a few drops of Palo Santo to your favorite lotion and apply before leaving the house to enjoy its woodsy scent throughout your day.
  • In aromatherapy sessions, it is used to treat panic attacks and anxiety.
  • It is also used for osteoporosis because it helps to build the bones, helping them to regenerate and build strength.
  • Applied on your skin, it helps to restore damaged skin and it helps to recuperate soft tendons injuries.
Other Facts
  • It is a wonderful repellent for mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Avoid use during pregnancy.
  • Do not use Palo Santo essential oil internally.

Palo Santo oil is a true aromatic treasure and a Floracopeia staple. It is renowned for its distinctive uplifting fragrance and its distinct healing powers. Palo Santo Essential Oil is rich in limonene. A natural purifier, use it in your diffuser to keep you and your family healthy through the winter months. Palo Santo oil is among the best oils to use via direct palm inhalation for its clearing and inspiring properties. It has settled, calming, and grounding qualities, thus making it a great supporter for maintaining emotional equanimity, as well as a superb oil for spiritual upliftment.

Origin of Palo Santo Essential Oil

Palo santo essential oil comes from the palo santo tree, which has the botanical name of Bursera graveolens. The tree is native to Central America and is widely grown in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Galapagos.

The largest producer of this essential oil is Ecuador, where the trees are protected by environmental laws. It is illegal to cut down the trees, or even harvest the branches. The oil is extracted from deadfall and any remains of the dead trees, but even that requires a special permit from the government. In Peru, the citizens are allowed to gather fallen branches and twigs, but this activity is also regulated by the government. Just like in Ecuador, Peruvians are not allowed to cut trees or branches.

In South America, palo santo is traditionally used against “bad energies”, and would often be placed inside a home to cleanse it from any negativities or bad luck. Shavings of palo santo is burned by a shaman (medicine man) during rituals as the smoke is said to clear misfortunes and drive away evil spirits. The charcoal is also used in rituals to blotch the faces of the participants to cleanse their spirits.

Even today, palo santo is still used as incense for its purifying properties. Its essential oil is extensively used in aromatherapy, where it is diffused or applied to the base of the skull or on the spine to induce relaxation and remove stress.

Chemical Properties

This essential oil is composed of a combination of potent chemical compounds which are responsible for its wide range of health benefits.

The most abundant category of compounds found in Palo Santo essential oil are monoterpenes, which make up about 65 percent of the oil. Ethers, monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes make up the rest of the oil.

The primary chemical compounds found in Palo Santo essential oil include:


This terpene is responsible for the citrusy undertones in the scent of Palo Santo oil. In addition to contributing to the scent of this potent essential oil, limonene offers a wide range of health benefits. This terpene has been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety, fight infections, boost energy, prevent free radical damage, and relieve pain.


The primary purpose of this aromatic compound is to provide the slightly minty scent found in Palo Santo essential oil.[rx]


Though this terpene is most commonly found in pine essential oils, it is also found in smaller quantities in Palo Santo oil. This terpene is believed to bring warming and uplifting effects, in addition to acting as an antibacterial, antiviral, and immune system booster.[rx]


Also found in dill seed, spearmint, and caraway essential oils, carvone has been shown to improve circulation, boost appetite, support respiratory function, remedy digestive issues, promote better sleep, and alleviate stress and nervous tension.[rx]


Classified as a sesquiterpenoid, germacrene-d is best known for its antibacterial properties.[rx]

Benefits Of Palo Santo

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

Concentrated Source of Antioxidants

As a rich supply of antioxidants and phytochemicals called terpenes, palo santo oil is effective for combatting free radical damage (also called oxidative stress), relieving stomach aches, fighting stress, reducing pains due to arthritis, and healing many other conditions.

Particularly, it’s been gaining attention for being a natural cancer treatment for inflammatory diseases.

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An analysis of steam-distilled palo santo essential oil showed that the major active constituents include: limonene (89.33 percent), α-terpineol (11 percent), menthofuran (6.6 percent), and carvone (2 percent). Other beneficial compounds in smaller quantities include germacrene D, microlens, and pulegone.

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 study, 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. Again, this effect may be related to limonene. A 2017 review states the substance has analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties. Limonene can provide relief by inhibiting certain neuronal pathways, according to a 2016 study on animals. There’s no hard proof that palo santo has this effect, though. The benefit is theoretical and anecdotal, so additional research is needed.

Anticancer Potential

Palo santo essential oil has been shown in numerous studies to have anti-tumor properties. [rx]

Palo santo oil is found to have a high content of limonene. In a 2009 study by the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, it is found that limonene is able to exert anti-tumor effects on prostate cancer cells without being toxic to the healthy cells. [rx]

Improve stress response

Many people find the aroma of palo santo relaxing, so it’s commonly used to ease stress. It’s thought to have a purifying, cleansing effect on the body and mind. This might also be due to limonene. In a 2013 animal study, inhaled limonene exhibited anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties. A 2014 study also found that ingested limonene decreased signs of stress in rats. Despite these findings, human studies are needed to determine how palo santo affects stress.

Repels Insects

As seen in one of its most common historical uses, the scent of Palo Santo essential oil has been found to be particularly unappealing to insects. This means that diffusing the oil outside or in your home can keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay.[rx]

Removes Odors

Though this essential oil has historically been used to remove “bad energies,” its properties span far beyond simply the removal of negative energy. For instance, diffusing this oil throughout the home can remove bad odors, as well as kill bacteria or viruses that could potentially result in illness.[rx]

Improve Sleep Quality

Palo Santo essential oil is well-known for its sedative effects. Try applying a few drops of the oil diluted with a carrier oil to your chest, neck, and temples before bed to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Not only will the properties in this oil allow you to unwind at the end of the night, but they will allow you to wake up feeling more refreshed the next morning.[rx]

Reduces Anxiety & Depression

The aromatic compounds found in palo santo essential oil can directly affect the olfactory system in the body, as well as the limbic system in our brain, helping to ease stress and induce relaxation. This can be very effective for people who suffer from chronic stress and the inherent strain on the body that occurs as a result. [7]

Soothes Chronic Pain

As a nervine substance, this essential oil can calm spasms and other disorders related to the nervous system. This can also help improve sleep and mood, as well as soothe chronic pain and other afflictions of the muscles, bones, and nerves. [rx]

Skin Care

As we age, the elastin in our skin begins to break down, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles, but research has shown that the ingredients in palo santo essential oil can inhibit the elastase enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down the elastin in our skin. This can help tighten up the skin and provide a more youthful appearance, while the other antioxidants in this oil will help stimulate the growth of new skin cells and minimize the other signs of aging, like blemishes and age spots.

Controls Allergy

Studies have found that palo santo essential oil can optimize the immune system, and prevent unnecessary allergic reactions by the body. Regular inhalation of this oil can limit seasonal allergy reactions and inhibit the release of histamines in the body. [rx]

Room Deodorizer

Burning palo santo wood has been used to cleanse homes, rooms, souls, and bodies for thousands of years, but diffusing the essential oil of this “holy wood” can be just as effective. It can eliminate bacteria and viruses, as well as foul odors while cleansing both the air and any surfaces in a given area. [rx]

Effective Insect Repellent

Insects, such as mosquitoes and gnats, find the smell of palo santo essential oil particularly unpleasant and will avoid it at all costs. Diffusing this oil throughout your house, therefore, can protect you from annoying insects in the summertime, and also protect against any diseases that are commonly spread through mosquito bites. [rx]

Alleviates Stress

Many of the aromatic compounds found in Palo Santo essential oil directly affect the limbic system, which is responsible for regulating emotions and promoting relaxation. Therefore, targeting this center of the brain can be beneficial for alleviating stress.[rx] For added relaxation, try pairing Palo Santo essential oil with Zen MONQ.

Reduces Inflammation

Because of a combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Palo Santo essential oil has been shown to effectively reduce inflammation ranging from headaches to muscle and joint pain. For optimal anti-inflammatory effects, this essential oil can be applied topically to the affected areas after dilution with a carrier oil of choice.[rx]

Boost Immune System Function

As mentioned previously, Palo Santo essential oil has been shown to promote healthy immune system function. Part of this benefit comes from the anti-inflammatory properties in the oil: it reduces the inflammatory responses that may be caused by a poor diet, stress, or illness.[rx]

These immune-boosting properties also make this oil a great cold and flu remedy. Additionally, it provides extra benefits like relieving nausea, dizziness, and congestion. For immune-boosting effects, dilute this oil with a carrier oil and apply to your chest or add a few drops to a room diffuser while you sleep and inhale the soothing vapors.

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De-Stressor and Relaxant

Considered an oil that’s grounding and centering, both palo santo and frankincense oils are used for emotional and spiritual support since they work like natural anxiety remedies. Once inhaled, palo santo travels directly through the olfactory system (which controls our sense of smell) of the brain, where it helps turn on the body’s relaxation responses and reduces panic, anxiety, and insomnia.

To try smudging with palo santo, which is intended to improve the energy in your environment, you can burn a small amount of wood in your home. Another option is to apply several drops mixed with a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) to your head, neck, chest, or spine to help you unwind and fall asleep more easily. You can also combine palo santo with lavender oil, bergamot oil, or frankincense oil for additional relaxation benefits.

Headache Treatment

Known to combat migraines and even stress-related headaches or bad moods, palo santo helps to lower inflammation and increase blood flow that can help turn off perceived pain. For a natural headache remedy and instant relief, dilute a few drops in water and dissolve the vapors with a diffuser whenever a headache strikes. Or try rubbing some palo santo mixed with coconut oil onto your temples and neck.

Cold or Flu Treatment

Palo santo is known to fight infections and viruses that can leave you with a cold or the flu. By improving blood circulation and recharging your energy levels, it can help you feel better faster and stop the severity of feelings of dizziness, congestion, and nausea. Apply a few drops on the chest at heart level or add some to your shower or bath to beat a cold or flu.

Inspiring creativity and bringing love and good fortune

Burn palo santo sticks or use the charcoal for ritual smudging that will welcome creativity, love, and good fortune into your space. The wood can help brighten energy and promote feelings of positivity and joy. The scent is also shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance clarity and concentration.

Bringing a deeper connection to the divine source

If meditation is the yin, palo santo is the yang. The uplifting scent is the perfect partner for your meditation practice. Raise your vibration, and discover peace and groundedness as you sink into a deeper connection to the Earth and your inner consciousness.

Energetic protection and the removal of negativity

When used for smudging or burning, palo santo can eliminate negative energy, creating a calmer, more tranquil space. Set an intention about what you want to clear out of your space, then move from corner to corner, removing any bad energy, uplifting your spirit, and filling your home with good fortune.

The enticing and clarifying palo santo scent

Can we wax on a bit here about the remarkable, lasting scent of a palo santo smudge? For our kitchens and bedrooms, vehicles and workspaces, the brightness of citrus, marked with the ancient notes of its natural heritage, bring a uniquely clarifying scent to every space. The benefit of burning palo santo wood in a smudging practice is its lingering scent.

Mobility of use while in travel modes

Unlike a sage bundle, palo santo wood is graciously proportioned for spiritual seekers who spend ample time away from home. Palo santo sticks are well-paired with car rides, hikes, and other travel experiences. People are known to cleanse their hotel rooms before sleep for a more peaceful, deepened rest.

Vibrational cleansing and renewal for crystals

Crystals do much of the heavy lifting in the work of drawing out negative energy. Like humans, crystals benefit from a ritualistic cleansing to maintain their best qualities.  Integrating a smudging practice every 2-3 days for your rose quartz, amethyst, jasper, citrine, or other crystal types, is a lovely way to keep your crystals primed for their true power.

Calming the mind and mental ailments
The symptoms and causes of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders are complex. Palo santo wood does not boast a cure, but a smudging or essential oil practice integrated as part of a larger healing plan can provide some relief. Consider it aromatherapy; releasing a calming scent to the olfactory and limbic systems of the body and brain and in turn creating a sense of relaxation and calm.

Traditional uses and benefits of Palo Santo Essential Oil

  • Add several drops and apply as a cold compress to soothe and relax any specific area of the body.
  • Use a few drops in steaming water as vapor therapy. Its effects are very clarifying and pleasant.
  • Blend palo santo oil with any massage oil to relax tension and strain in the body, and provide comprehensive support.
  • The combination of Palo Santo with German Chamomile is very effective for all sorts of inflammations and with arthritis pain.
  • Palo Santo is traditionally used as an antiseptic and to remove impurities from the skin and body and home in South America.
  • It is a great oil for skin infections and helpful in cases of acne, especially when combined with other skin healing essential oils like Carrot Seed, Helichrysum Italicum, and Manuka.
  • Palo Santo is used for calming panic attacks and anxiety.
  • It is a mood uplifter and quite helpful with depression, especially when combined with other anti-depressive oil such as Blood Orange, Frankincense, or Neroli.
  • Palo Santo oil has been used to massage the head and body.
  • Apply a few drops of Palo Santo topically to your temples, the nape of your neck, your heart, or the soles of your feet while meditating to ward off negative emotions.
  • Add a few drops of Palo Santo to your favorite lotion and apply before leaving the house to enjoy its woodsy scent throughout your day.
  • In aromatherapy sessions, it is used to treat panic attacks and anxiety.
  • It is also used for osteoporosis because it helps to build the bones, helping them to regenerate and build strength.
  • Applied on your skin, it helps to restore damaged skin and it helps to recuperate soft tendons injuries.
  • Massage therapists use this oil as a tool for relaxing massages and reducing inflammation, as it reduces muscular discomfort and helps improve swollen joints.
  • It is also helpful for some of the most common respiratory infections such as asthma, cold, and flu.
  • Palo santo can be applied topically, as a compress, in the bath, through direct inhalation, or diffuser.
  • Add to a carrier oil for an all-over massage to support immune system function and healthy joints and muscles.
  • Use a few drops in vapor therapy to support immune function during cold and flu season.
  • Direct palm inhalation of one to two drops can be used to uplift the mood, calm and settle the mind, and promote a sense of peace (a drop of frankincense may also be added).
  • Diffuse Palo santo to ground, settle and calm the body, mind, and spirit.
  • Diffuse with a few drops of lemon and one drop of peppermint to improve concentration.
  • It is a good repellent for mosquitoes and other insects.
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How to use palo santo

Here’s how to use the different forms of palo santo.

Palo santo essential oil

Palo santo oil can be used in the following ways:

  • Add it to a diffuser or essential oil burner.
  • Add it to a pot of hot water to make fragrant steam.
  • Inhale it from the bottle.
  • Dilute it with a carrier oil, like castor oil, and apply it to the skin.

Always check the directions on the oil’s packaging.

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 resin

For this method, you’ll need a resin burner, charcoal disc, and sand. You can also use gravel or another noncombustible material in place of the sand.

  1. Fill the resin burner with sand.
  2. Pick up the charcoal disc with a pair of tongs. Heat one side of the disc with a lighter or match. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Place the charcoal on the sand. Wait until a thin layer of ash forms on top.
  4. Add the resin on top of the charcoal. As the resin melts, it will release its aroma.
  5. Submerge the charcoal in water when you’re done.

You can also add resin and carrier oil to an essential oil burner.


Add 4 drops of Palo Santo, 4 drops of Lavender, and 2 drops of Mandarin to 1 tablespoon of bubble bath or body wash; mix into your bath water to help relax and alleviate the lows from everyday worry. To help reduce tenderness, mix 2 drops of Palo Santo, 2 drops of Frankincense with 2 oz. of carrier oil and apply topically to the affected area. We recommend a maximum dilution of 3% for topical applications.

Side Effects of Palo Santo Essential Oil

The side effects of using palo santo essential oil are limited to allergic reactions and improper usage and may include skin irritation, rashes, and hives, or severe stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting if consumed internally. Always consult a doctor before adding a potent essential oil to your regular health regimen.

  • Internal Consumption – You should never consume palo santo essential oil, as it is only intended for external use and in a diffused/aromatherapy form. Consuming palo santo oil can cause severe gastrointestinal side effects and is not recommended. Anecdotal evidence says that adding 1-2 drops to herbal tea is a safe practice.  But again, speak to your doctor before doing this.
  • Pregnancy – The volatile components in palo santo essential oil can have negative effects on pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding. It is always best to speak with your doctor before adding any essential oils or herbal remedies to your health regimen.
  • Allergic Reaction – Some people experience allergic reactions to palo santo essential oil, although this is quite rare. To prevent large-scale reactions, apply a small amount to a patch of skin and wait for 1-2 hours to see if there is any negative reaction.
  • Toxicity on the Skin – Palo santo oil should never be used in a completely undiluted form, as the chances of irritation or inflammation on the skin are much greater. Always mix this oil in a 1:1 combination with carrier oils, such as frankincense, myrrh, or sandalwood oils.


  • Do not take Palo Santo essential oil internally.
  • Possible skin sensitivity.
  • Keep out of reach of children.
  • Pregnant women should avoid taking Palo santo oil because it may enhance uterine contractions.
  • Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.

From Where To Buy

White Sage & Palo Santo Purification Essential Oil - Clears Negative Energy - for Diffusers, Meditation, Yoga & All Spiritual Purposes - A Smoke-Free Alternative to Burning Sage -10ml
869 Reviews
White Sage & Palo Santo Purification Essential Oil - Clears Negative Energy - for Diffusers, Meditation, Yoga & All Spiritual Purposes - A Smoke-Free Alternative to Burning Sage -10ml
  • CLEANSE & PURIFY negative energy from your home, office, sacred space and while traveling.
  • SACRED AROMATHERAPY - Stimulates and clarifies the mind, balance the body's energies and inspires a state of calm and peace.
  • DIFFUSE TO CLEAR & BLESS - A powerful and potent blend of 2 sacred essential oils that will clear away unwanted energy. Highly effective for all spiritual practices including meditation, yoga, Reiki, crystal healing and dowsing
  • CEREMONIAL USES - A potent, highly concentrated blend for energy clearing, smudging, purification and protection. Adds a powerful layer of protection to all spiritual practices.
  • PURE & POTENT - We source the highest grade oils from small farmers to ensure you receive a blend that is pure, potent and embodies the true healing spirit of white sage and palo santo. We will never settle for anything less, and neither should you.
  • NOT INTENDED as a room deodorizer or air freshener. This blend is strong, herbaceous and intended for energy cleansing purposes.


Plant Therapy Palo Santo Essential Oil 100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Grade 5 mL (1/6 oz)
1,742 Reviews
Plant Therapy Palo Santo Essential Oil 100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Grade 5 mL (1/6 oz)
  • A CLEANSING, CALMING SCENT: Similar to Frankincense and Myrrh from a therapeutic standpoint, Palo Santo is used to calm the spirit and cleanse the senses. Add to a diffuser to enjoy its woody, sweet fruity scents before a meditation, deepen your connection to earth and your inner consciousness.
  • DIVINE PURITY FOR NATURAL HEALING: Steam distilled from the “holy wood” of Palo Santo trees. To avoid degradation our majestic oil comes in an amber glass bottle to preserve beneficial properties. A great addition to body lotion or massage oil to help relieve tension, sore muscle, and joint pain.
  • BATCH SPECIFIC GC-MS REPORTS ON EVERY OIL: Every bottle of oil from Plant Therapy goes through multiple rounds of testing including organoleptic testing and multiple rounds of GC-MS testing by several third-party laboratories.
  • HIGH-QUALITY AFFORDABLE ESSENTIAL OILS: At Plant Therapy our goal is to positively impact the lives of as many people as we possibly can, by selling such a high quality product at an affordable price. Be confident knowing you are purchasing quality oils at direct-to-consumer prices.
  • CERTIFIED AROMATHERAPISTS ON STAFF: Our customers are our #1 priority and we’d love for you to join the Plant Therapy Family. Our Certified Aromatherapists are happy to help you with all of your Essential Oil questions. We want you to be confident and satisfied with your purchase.


The International Federation of Aromatherapists, The Leading Aromatherapy Associations (Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA), International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association, Aromatherapy Trade Council, and others) all state that essential oils should not be taken internally (regardless of purity or organic origin) unless under the guidance of a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate level or supervision of a Medical Doctor who is also qualified in clinical Aromatherapy. All cautions listed for individual oils do not include those cautions from ingestion. This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.



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