Palo Santo Wood – Learn How to Burn Palo Santo Wood
Palo Santo

How to Use Palo Santo | Shamanic “Holy Wood” of South America

Palo SantoThe Powerful Cleansing Properties of Palo Santo

Have you heard of Palo Santo? I'm in LOVE with it!

I first learned about Palo Santo when I was working at a small crystal and metaphysical shop in Lake Tahoe. We sold these wonderful little sacred sticks there and I was immediately drawn to them.

Fascinated, I looked up the properties and discovered the incredible magic that these simple looking little “holy sticks” of wood held.

I immediately started burning palo santo in the morning before opening the shop and found it to be a wonderfully effective way to energetically cleanse the shop and quickly raise the vibration at the start of the day.

Today, I regularly burn Palo Santo and White Sage together to cleanse my space, uplift the energy and draw in positive energy.

Palo Santo is also available in essential oil form too! 

So What is Palo Santo?

Palo santo is a type of wood that comes from the tree of the same name. It is indigenous to South America, and its name means “holy wood” thanks to the many healing and spiritual properties it carries.

Much like sage, the smoke of palo santo is so powerfully cleansing that almost every shamanic ritual in South America incorporates burning it.

Palos Santo “Holy Wood”

For generations, medicine people, Incas, and other tribal people in the Andes have used palo santo wood for healing.

The spiritual properties come during the death of the tree. Each tree lives for up to 90 years and then lies dead for at least four years before any wood is harvested for rituals. It’s during this time, when the living tree transforms, that it gains its sacred properties.

The Many Benefits of Palo Santo

Palo SantoAs you might expect, the list of benefits from using Palo Santo is a long one.

  • It's pungent fragrance relieve stress and anxiety
  • Palo Santo can help to eliminate headaches and symptoms of the common cold
  • Reduces inflammation, asthma, and allergies
  • Eases emotional or mental trauma like depression
  • You can use it in conjunction with other healing modalities like crystal healing or Reiki
  • Deepen your spiritual connection
  • Raises your energetic vibration
  • Enhances creativity
  • Use in massage therapy to relieve pain in the joints and muscles
  • Relieve difficult skin conditions and promote healthy skin
  • Potential anti-cancer effects
  • Calms the immune system

Palo Santo Uses

Palo Santo is most commonly used for purifying energy, cleansing people and objects, healing illness, inspiring creativity, protection, attracting good fortune and love, and clearing negativity. If you have a meditation practice, consider burning a little Palo Santo during before and during your practice. Whenever you burn it, not only does it raise your vibration, but it helps to connect you to the divine source as well as Mother Earth.

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Many people enjoy using it as an energizer to lift their spirits or prepare for a task or project as well.

Steps for Cleansing with Palo Santo 

This process for using Palo Santo to cleanse your space is similar to smudging with sage, so if you’re familiar with that process, you can simply add a stick of palo santo to your sage bundle and have at it.

If you're new to all of this… Here's the process. 

First you obviously need to obtain some Palo Santo.

You can find Palo Santo in many local crystal and metaphysical shops, or natural food stores… Alternately, you can find it online from Amazon and other online retailers.

Click here to purchase Palo Santo online. 

How to Burn Palo Santo?

  1. Hold one stick of Palo Santo in your hand, and move the end furthest from your hand into a flame to light it on fire.
  2. Next, hold the stick (and sage bundle, if using) and set your intentions or say a prayer.  This can be for the day ahead, the day that’s finished, or any period of time or life event you wish to focus on.

Palo Santo doesn't light nearly as easily as say, White Sage… So when you light the palo santo, be sure to let the open flame burn for about 30 seconds before you blow it out so the flame properly catches.

Palo Santo Prayer

Ask that the cleansing smoke of the Palo Santo cleanse your space, raise the vibration and draw in positive energy.

Now, allow the sacred smoke to fill the room you're in.

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Walk methodically around the room, being sure to wafting the smoke up toward the ceiling and down toward the floor.

Move through your house until you’ve entered each room.

Palo Santo Cleansing Ritual

When cleansing yourself, begin down near your feet, wafting smoke all around you until you end at the crown of your head.

You can also use Palo Santo to cleanse crystals, oracle card decks, pendulums, or any other magical or sacred objects.

Be aware that, unlike standard incense, palo santo may relight itself several times while you use it, or you may have to hold it in the flame for quite a while before it lights at all.

When you’re finished with your particular cleansing ritual, if the stick is still burning, you can place it in a fire-safe metal or ceramic bowl in order to let the ember die out naturally on its own.

What does Palo Santo Smell Like?

I find the scent and power of Palo Santo to be quite strong so that a little goes a long way.

It has a piney, mint and citrus like smell that’s really quite unique – so unique that it’s hard to believe that you’re burning wood when you smell it.

Palo Santo vs Sage?

Personally, white sage and palo santo are my favorite smudging combo!

Palo Santo also pairs wonderfully with sweetgrass, juniper, or cedar.

Smudging Prayer With White Sage and Palo Santo

Click here to read the Smudging Prayer! 

Give it a try… And enjoy!

With love and light,

Melanie Beckler


About the Author Melanie Beckler

Melanie Beckler is an internationally acclaimed best-selling author, channel, and founder of Her books, Angel Messages, Angel Courses and CD's provide a direct link to the love, frequency & wisdom from the Angelic and Spiritual Realms for people around the world.

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Have a Question or Want to Share Your Experience?

Ruby b says September 11, 2019

Does Palo Santo work the same on crystals. Just spray and set the intentions.

    Melanie Beckler says September 13, 2019

    Are you talking about Palo Santo essential oil spray? If so… yes!

Teresa Dalton says October 13, 2018

Thank you! You answered all my questions about Palo Santo. Do you have any info on Dragons Blood, Mugwhort or any other plant or resins used for cleansing and some photos. I was given various bundles as a wonderful gift but, one I am not sure what it is. I think it’s Mugwort? Any info is very appreciated. Blessings of love and light

Darah J. Chavez says July 7, 2018

Hi Melanie! Im new at cleansing and i must say you inspired me. May i ask, can i still use the palo santo/white sage if theres some left from my last cleansing?

    Melanie Beckler says July 7, 2018

    Absolutely! … Glad this was helpful for you.

Question says April 28, 2018

Does the essential oil Palo santo work in the same manner as burning it?

    Melanie Beckler says April 30, 2018

    It works in a very similar manner!

Betty says April 21, 2018

Looking for a palo santo prayer for Healing.

Rheannon says April 18, 2018

Thank you so much for this post, I recently discovered palo santo and I am obsessed! I am looking forward to cleansing myself and my energy daily!

Christine Lavoie says February 24, 2018

Is it okay to do silent prayers or should it always be verbal?

    Melanie Beckler says February 25, 2018

    Yes! Silent prayers absolutely work… The most important thing is to really feel the intention and energy.

Jackie says February 18, 2018

Palo Santo what can I use in place?

Andrea Schreiner says February 20, 2017

Thank you for all of your great articles, Melanie! I was wondering if it’s acceptable to burn Palo Santo in a shell (as I do for smudging) or in a fire proof bowl instead of holding it in my hand?

    Melanie Beckler says February 20, 2017

    Yes absolutely Andrea!

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