Made from the bursera graveolens tree, palo santo resin contains the isolated essence that is found in palo santo wood. It contains the essence of many times the same amount of wood. Like copal resin or frankincense, this pure resin can be burned as an incense alone, as well as on top of palo santo wood, or as a mix with other smudging herbs. This is a highly flammable substance, and so it can be used to enhance other palo santo or smudging herbs. Palo santo resin burns hot and acts much like a flammable wax that will mix into other herbs and keep them burning better while releasing a surge of palo santo fragrance. It has the same properties as a cleansing herb that can be used before meditation or reiki or to generally cleanse an area of negative energy.
The use of Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) is traditional in South America, especially in Ecuador. According to the local customs, it is used against the “mala energia” (bad energy) (“Palo Santo para limpiar tu casa de la mala energia, Palo Santo para la buena suerte” or “Palo Santo to clean your house of bad energy, Palo Santo for good luck”), which may sometimes refer to clinical disease. Its use reportedly dates back to the Inca era. Palo Santo is common today as a type of incense.
Palo santo may be burned, similar to incense, by lighting shavings of palo santo wood. In Peru, a shaman, or medicine man, reportedly lights palo santo sticks and the rising smoke will enter the “energy field” of ritual participants to “clear misfortune, negative thoughtprints, and ‘evil spirits'”. Peruvians harvest fallen branches and twigs of the B. graveolens tree, a practice that is regulated by the government of Peru, so trees are not cut for wood harvesting. The charcoal of palo santo sticks can also be used for ritual smudging.