One of the oldest and most traditional acts of wellness is the burning of palo santo wood. The benefits of this soothing ritual have withstood the test of time, and have proven to be ever more relevant given our modern day stressors.
Palo Santo literally translates to ‘holy wood’ and is a tree native to Central and South America. Traditionally used to cleanse and clear negative energy, with a unique fragrance containing notes of citrus, mint and pine – palo santo is showing up on the pages of all of our favourite glossies, making it even more important to recognize and respect the cultural and spiritual significance of this ritual.
But we have good news – everything about ethically sourced palo santo encourages a more mindful, sustainable existence. It is said that the true value of this tree comes after its life of up to 90 years because the tree does not release its essence, or essential oil, until it has lain on the ground for at least 4 years after having died of natural causes. At this point the tree gives freely of its essential essences. Small communities in Ecuador gather sticks of palo santo that have been laying on the ground for years which benefits many families who live in the central highlands of Ecuador.
Of course, whenever an natural ingredient becomes popular, the risk of damaging the natural environment and economy exists. Unfortunately, as palo santo becomes more and more popular, the illegal harvesting and cutting of trees has also increased. Keep in mind that if you are purchasing wild harvested palo santo, it is important to do so from an ethical supplier.
At Woodlot, we always have the health of our people and our planet top of mind, and our palo santo is sourced from an ethical supplier in Ecuador that provides only wild harvested palo santo, meaning not a single tree is cut down. Beyond that, our suppliers feel a strong connection to the Puerto Lopez county in Manabi province where our palo santo is sourced. They feel a responsibility to ‘plant for tomorrow’ and donate a percentage of profits from the sale of palo santo to a reforestation project in the area. Six years ago this project funded the development of a greenhouse and since then over 40,000 trees have been planted.
Although the path to sustainability is not easy, it’s important to support the environment and the craftsmen who still live in harmony with nature, and care for our earth. From all of us at Woodlot - happy Earth Day!
Image: Britney Gill