6 Amazing Uses for Palo Santo Oil


Gary Young, the founder of Young Living, always taught us that powerful plants and trees like Frankincense exist on all continents, just in different forms. 

He often talked about Palo Santo as the “Frankincense of South America”, able to be used in many of the same ways that Frankincense oil is used. 

Would you like to know what else it can be used for? Let me share with you what Gary taught us about Palo Santo oil….

To bathe in Palo Santo floral water….heavenly!

In 2005 I was amongst a small group of Young Living members who travelled to Ecuador to meet with Gary. He’d been invited to Ecuador by Dr. Rodas, Dean of the Medical School at the University of Azuay. And in his travels through Ecuador, Gary had met Mr. Dante, an Italian Psychologist who had left Italy and moved to Ecuador because of a love affair with Palo Santo. 

Gary was so fascinated by what Mr. Dante had told him about the power of Palo Santo oil that he wanted to start sourcing this oil for Young Living. 

Once Gary purchased the land for the Young Living farm in Ecuador, he built the Nova Vita Spa on the farm. By this stage he was distilling Palo Santo oil on the farm, and he began offering Palo Santo floral water baths to his Nova Vita visitors. 

I visited the Nova Vita Spa at the beginning of 2015 with a close friend of mine, and I enjoyed many a Palo Santo floral water bath…in fact, it was one of my favourite spa treatments while I was there (see pic).

What is Palo Santo floral water? It’s also sometimes called “hydrosol”, and its a potent by-product of the distillation process. As steam is run through the Palo Santo wood chips, the wood chips break down and release their precious essential oil. The oil mixes with the steam, and escapes the distillation chamber as a steam/oil mixture. It’s captured in a swan-neck cylinder that runs out of the top of the distillation chamber, and from there it travels through a condenser (a refrigeration chamber) which cools the steam down and returns it back to its liquid state. 

The essential oil is lighter than water (in most cases), and can be siphoned off. However, the water still carries traces of the essential oil in it, and has its own set of benefits. This is what we call floral water or hydrosol, and this is what the visitors to the Nova Vita Spa have the opportunity to bathe in. 

6 ways Gary Young loved to use Palo Santo oil

Gary was always the master of experimentation. Any new oil he released was an oil he’d already fallen in love with, and one that he was avidly using in order to discover its potential. Here are some of his favourite uses for Palo Santo oil….

1. Floral Water baths, as described above. This is an amazing way to balance and revitalise the body.

2. Palo Santo oil is great for transforming negativity and unhappy emotions, as Mr. Dante had described. See my last bulletin for the story behind this. 

3. Gary also discovered that it “wakes people up” from their spiritual coma, and allows them to truly live again – to embrace life more fully.

4. Gary noticed that Palo Santo oil is a natural balancer. If you feel low, it will bring you up. If you are too high (eg. if you’re a workaholic), it will calm you down.

5. It’s a great oil to rub on the chest. That’s not surprising – think of Palo Santo as your oil for life-force and energy, so the chest is a great place to put a couple of drops.

6. The frequency of Palo Santo oil matches that of our joints, so it’s a wonderful oil to rub on joints to keep them supple and mobile. 

The story of one man and his 9 wives

This photo was taken on Young Living’s farm in Ecuador, and these trees are Palo Santo trees. Are you ready for another fascinating fact about Palo Santo? 

In nature, you will find a ratio of approximately 5 male Palo Santo trees to 45 female Palo Santo trees (ie. a 1:9 ratio). Mr. Dante is 
not a chemist, biologist or agronomist. But deep in his heart he had a strong feeling about this. He asked himself “Why is there a 1:9 ratio in nature of males to females? Why is this important?”

He discovered that it’s the number of female trees in an area which dictates the number of male trees, ie. the proportion always remains very similar in nature. When you kill a certain number of female trees, the male tree also dies. 

He went on to say that the female tree will live about 70 years, and the male tree will live to 140 years of age, and he joked with us about how big a man the Palo Santo must be, to satisfy 9 women! 

The only way to tell the male and female trees apart is from their flowers, because in every other respect they are identical. 

When you distill the heartwood of the Palo Santo tree, the female will give 20% of herself in oil, whereas the male will give only 2%. 

In fact, when Spanish monks first discovered the wood and its cleansing abilities, they named this tree “Palo Santo”. Palo Santo translates as “holy wood”, or the “wood of the saints”. Its latin name is Bursera graveolens, which translates as “a bag of oil”…perhaps because of the incredibly high yield of essential oil from the female trees. 

It’s natural that you will end up with the same balance of female oil to male oil in your bottle that you find in the plants in nature….ie. approximately a 1:9 ratio.
 Mr. Dante was very comfortable with this idea. 

In Mr. Dante’s words, the function of Palo Santo oil is balance. The tree demonstrates this through how it lives in balance with nature, with the moon, and with our body. He came to understand that Palo Santo oil carries the quality of peace, and the power of masculine and feminine energies in perfect balance. 

Then he began wondering about the shape of the Palo Santo leaf. The leaf has 5 parts to it, rather like a person with 2 legs, 2 arms, and a head. Mr. Dante saw that the human body is reflected in that 5 part foliage. That told him that he needed to think about the “whole”. The leaf structure taught him that Palo Santo is about everything, it’s about us, and it’s about being whole again.

He admitted that for many things about Palo Santo, he didn’t have rational explanations, and instead he went on his feelings. Finally, it dawned on him that Palo Santo needs time in order to complete itself. He thought about the moon, which has a very strong influence on our life, and he started researching the relationship between the moon and Palo Santo. 

And what he discovered is that although the tree has been dead for 5 years (and even up to 10 or 15 years) by the time it is distilled, the oil in the heartwood of the tree is still very much alive, and responding to the energies of the moon. 

It needs to be distilled anywhere from the new moon to the quarter moon in order to get a good yield of oil. If you distill the wood chips any later than that, your yield drops substantially. 

Scientifically this is probably due to the way the wood will hold more moisture as the moon becomes more full. Our own bodies respond to the moon like this. More moisture means less oil. But how fascinating that this happens in dead wood! 

Want to try some Palo Santo oil? Here’s how to order…. 

If you already have your own wholesale account with Young Living, you can order through the shopping cart on your virtual office, or via phone with your local Young Living office.

If it’s been more than 12 months since you’ve ordered, or if you’ve never set up an account, please reach out to the person who introduced you to Young Living. You will need their member number when you place your first order. 

If you have lost touch with them, or need any other assistance, we are here to help. Simply click on the button below, and we’ll be in touch to assist you and help answer your questions.

Order Now

If you would love to receive our essential oils bulletin
from The Oil Temple, CLICK HERE to subscribe

If you’re not already receiving our weekly
Raw Divinity bulletin, CLICK HERE to subscribe