Is it true that we should stop buying Palo Santo?

In recent times, more and more people have adopted the habit of burning palo santo, a sacred tree whose essential oils grant multiple benefits on a spiritual and physical level: from balancing energies, to purifying environments and relaxing the mind during meditation.

However, most do not know the true history of this tree, used by indigenous communities of South America (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru). Traditionally, the shamans of the communities used sticks of holy stick to clean and purify environments against evil spirits, bad vibes and negative forces.

In addition, it has many therapeutic benefits. It is highly medicinal and healing: originally, the only way to get all of its benefits was to let the tree die naturally and may he rest for 4 to 10 years in the forest. The best quality oils, which are formed in aged wood, were used in sacred and healing ceremonies in local communities.

However, as a result of the fact that more and more people burn holy stick, most of the time their oils are not achieved in this way. Trees are cut down without any conscience. According to the medicinal plant conservation organization, United Plant Savers, there are less than 250 mature and wild Palo Santo trees, and this number is rapidly decreasing. Because, Maybe it's time to reduce your consumption.

In addition, the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN by its name in English) has added it to its list as an endangered species.

A> cultural appropriation. The term applies when, when using elements of a culture, its original meaning is lost or distorted and people belonging to the respective cultures can see these acts as disrespectful.

So, when we buy it from commercial sellers we are not getting its benefits many times, since the trees are cut down and the oils are not taken from trees that died naturally), but it can also be seen that we are taking a rite or custom of a culture without have the respect and care they deserve. However, there are some brands that do a respectful and sustainable job, both with the environment, as with indigenous cultures.

How to replace it?

There are some natural herbs that you can use to replace the holy stick. You can even grow them! In any case, make sure they are varieties that are native to where you live.

Some alternatives are: juniper, sagebrush, verbena, European sage, pine, rosemary, dill and mint.

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