If you’ve ever strolled past a yoga studio or local massage spot and picked up a wonderfully bright, sweet, and woodsy scent, unlike any other, then you have likely smelled palo santo.
The wood of palo santo was originally used by the Indigenous tribes of South America for spiritual rituals and social gatherings. The smoke was thought to be both cleansing and healing properties.
The wood has been growing in popularity in North America.
Nowadays palo santo smudge sticks are available for purchase in most new age stores, yoga studios, or cultural import stores, including here at Reed’s Handmade Incense.
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What Does Palo Santo Smell Like?
The smell of palo santo is usually described as a bright, sweet, piney, lemony, woodsy scent. Perhaps a bit musky. It’s very much unlike any other aromatic wood available.
What Scents Go Well With Palo Santo?
The most popular addition to palo santo is probably white sage.
Copal resin is another popular, and also very traditional addition to palo santo.
Florals, such as lavender, citrus, such as lemon or lime, and heavier resins such as frankincense resin or myrrh resin go very well with the fragrance profile of palo santo. It’s actually a pretty versatile scent.
Many people are under the impression that palo santo is endangered, but this actually isn’t the case. Fortunately, most of the palo santo sold on the market is either farmed or cultivated from already fallen branches in the wild.
There is, however, some concern about illegally harvested palo santo. Due to it’s value, some unethical people attempt to harvest the wood in places where the practice is banned and/or regulated. Some may even harvest live wood, which is not nearly as fragrant as wood which fallen and aged naturally in nature. It’s important to keep in in mind that unethically harvested palo santo is typically subpar quality.
It’s very important to make sure that the palo santo you buy is indeed sustainably farmed. This way we can ensure palo santo will be available for future generations.
Something else you have to look out for is counterfeit palo santo. Some unethical vendors will sell fake wood which has been dipped in palo santo oil or fragrance.
Fortunately, it is pretty easy to tell whether or not you have real palo santo wood.