Palo Santo is wood from a tree called Bursera graveolens, that grows in South America. For centuries, Palo Santo, which translated means “holy wood,” has been burned as an energy cleanser. The ritual comes from Incan tradition that says the smoke from the wood, burned during spiritual ceremonies, is medicinal.
If this sounds a lot like smudging with sage, you wouldn’t be too off base. Like sage, which is predominantly used by Native Americans, South American shamans believed burning Palo Santo had similar properties capable of resetting energy that was tainted by negativity or conflict. It also is thought to neutralize issues before they ever start. It even has the power to attract sacredness and benevolence to a space, says Jonathan Hammond, shamanic practitioner, spiritual counselor, and author of The Shaman’s Mind.