Alternatives to Palo Santo

palo santo wood burning in a metal cup

Palo santo is appreciated throughout the world for it’s crisp, woody, citrus-musk fragrance.

However, some people may choose not to use palo santo, for reasons such as being concerned about unethically-harvested palo santo, or cultural appropriation.

That being said, it’s important to note that the type of palo santo sold on the common market is not endangered.

That being said, if you’re looking for an alternative to palo santo smudge sticks, but would still like to enjoy a similar experience, then check out this list.

White Sage

White sage, also known as Salvia apiana, is a perennial herb that is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is a member of the mint family.

White sage has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples in North America for its fragrance and spiritual properties. The material is typically burned in either a bowl or in the form of a smudge stick.

The fragrance of white sage is distinctly herbaceous, pungent, sharp, clean, earthy, and perhaps a bit camphoraceous. The scent can be a little intense for some people.

In recent years, white sage has become an increasingly popular scent in aromatherapy.

A White Sage Smudge Stick in a Bowl
A White Sage Smudge Stick in a Bowl


Agarwood, also known as oud or aloeswood, is a fragrant wood that is highly valued for its distinctive scent. It is produced by the Aquilaria tree, which is native to Southeast Asia. When the tree is infected with a certain type of mold, it produces a resinous substance in response, which eventually turns into agarwood.

Agarwood has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and perfumery, and is considered one of the most expensive woods in the world. Its fragrance is described as warm, earthy, and slightly sweet, with hints of wood, leather, and spices. It is often used in high-end perfumes and colognes, as well as incense and other aromatic products.

The production of agarwood is a complex and time-consuming process, and the trees themselves are becoming increasingly rare due to over-harvesting and habitat destruction. As a result, agarwood is highly prized and sought after by collectors and connoisseurs around the world.

Agarwood Incense Chips
Agarwood Incense Chips

Resin Incense

Resin incense is a type of incense made from natural resins obtained from various trees and plants.

Resins are dried sap or other plant secretions that are commonly used in incense making for their pleasant aroma and other beneficial properties.

Some of the most commonly used resins in incense making include frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, copal, and dragon’s blood. These resins are often mixed with other ingredients such as herbs, spices, and essential oils to create unique and complex fragrances.

Resin incense is typically burned on a charcoal disk or in a resin burner, which allows the heat to release the resin’s fragrance into the air.

Frankincense Resin, Boswellia Serrata
Frankincense Resin, Boswellia Serrata

Incense Sticks

Incense sticks, also known as agarbatti, are a type of incense that is commonly used for its fragrant aroma. They are made by dipping a bamboo stick into a mixture of fragrant materials, such as herbs, spices, resins, and essential oils, which are then dried and packaged for sale.

Incense sticks come in a wide variety of fragrances, ranging from floral and fruity to woody and spicy.

Some of the most commonly used fragrances include sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, and patchouli.

Incense sticks are often used for meditation, relaxation, and spiritual practices.

Incense in Traditional Metal Bowls
Incense in Traditional Metal Bowls


Sweetgrass has been used in many indigenous cultures across North America, where it’s seen as a sacred plant. The sweet aroma is believed to invite positivity and good spirits. It’s often used in purification rituals and ceremonies, in a similar manner as white sage and palo santo.

It carries a fresh, lemony scent, with a distinct grassy note and an earthy-ginger undertone.

Scented Candles

Scented candles are candles that have been infused with fragrant oils or other scented materials, to produce a pleasant aroma when burned. They are often used for their aromatic properties, as they can help create a relaxing and calming atmosphere in a home or other space.

Scented candles come in a wide variety of fragrances, ranging from floral and fruity to woody and spicy. Some of the most popular scents include lavender, vanilla, cinnamon, and sandalwood.

In addition to their aromatic properties, scented candles are often used for their decorative qualities, as they come in a variety of colors and designs to match any decor.

A Collection of Scented Candles
A Collection of Scented Candles

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