Palo Santo vs. White Sage

white sage and palo santo smudge sticks on bamboo

When many people think of palo santo, they often think of white sage as well. The two plants have an intertwined history within indigenous Native American tribes. Although these tribes burned many different kinds of herbs, such as sweetgrass, white sage and palo santo are ones which have stood the test of time.

Nowadays, they have become more popular then ever and you can now find these herbs at new age shops throughout the world.

Let’s take a look at palo santo and white sage side-by-side.

Palo Santo

Palo santo is a fragrant wood taken from the Bursera Graveolens tree which has been used by the native tribes of South America in places such as Peru and Ecuador.

It has a rather unique fragrance with sweet notes of pine and lemon.

The name ‘palo santo’ translates directly to ‘holy wood’ and played an important part in their spiritual and cultural rituals where large amounts of the wood were burned in a communal fire.

Palo santo was thought to dispel evil spirits and negative energy from the surrounding atmosphere.

Nowadays, palo santo smudge sticks are quite popular throughout South and North America.

closeup of ecuadorian palo santo smudge sticks

White Sage

White sage is another plant which has a long history within the culture of Native Americans.

Just like palo santo, it was thought to dispel evil spirits, negative energy and provide protection.

The herb has a pungent and bright scent which has caused it to become popular at yoga studios and new age shops around the world. It’s most common form is bundled white sage tied together with string or rope.

White sage smudge sticks are quite popular nowadays.

smoking white sage smudge stick in a bowl

Comparing Palo Santo and White Sage

The biggest difference is that palo santo is an aromatic wood and white sage is a fragrant herb.

Their compositions are very different, but they are often used for similar purposes and intentions.

They have distinct fragrances, so you might be interested in trying both of them to see which one you like more.

Either one of these plants would be suitable for purification purposes, but white sage is probably a bit easier to use.

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