Unfortunately, many shops are selling fake or inferior Palo Santo. After finally experiencing authentic Palo Santo, I now understand what the hype is all about! This led me to begin researching this sacred wood in more detail and decided to create this after not finding many articles that could give me a quick and clear way to tell if I was buying the best quality available. After a few hours of research, I learned it is easy to tell if you are getting sustainably sourced, high quality Palo Santos if you know what to look for.
The biggest issue I have found is that shops are selling wood that has been harvested too early which doesn’t provide any of the healing or calming effects. And that is also not great for the environment. If the wood is harvested too early it will look lighter in color, and it won’t have dark amber streaks in the grain of the wood.
- The first thing you should check is how the wood is harvested. The wood should only be harvested from old trees that have died naturally. An ideal aging process involves a naturally fallen tree aged a minimum of three to five years, and often up to 10 years. It is said that the oil in the wood contains brain-oxygenating terpenes such as limonene and a-terpineol which cause the uplifting and positive effect we experience when burning the wood. Older trees become more oil dense and the grain of the wood takes on a darker amber appearance when it has had time for those oils to occur naturally and ethically.
- Check the color of the wood. See Picture Below. Look for darker wood with amber streaks in the grain of the wood. The darker color and the amber streaks are the oil we spoke of before. As you can see in the picture below, the stick on the right is very light with no amber streaks and trust me when I say it is not fragrant. It smells like burnt wood. The stick on the right is a much darker wood with visible streaks of amber through the grain of the wood. It is very fragrant and has a calming effect when burned. I got this on Amazon from JL Local
With more and more shopping done online, it can be harder to know what we are getting. While reading about a company is great, the truth is – they can say anything. The best indicator I have found is by looking at both the reviews and pictures from the reviews. Working in the digital marketing industry, I know that the pictures used on a website are often stock photos and not the actual product which is why I always look for reviews with photos. This is one of the reasons I support small businesses like JL Local on Amazon. Amazon does a great job of providing small businesses a chance to reach a broader market. Something they couldn’t do on their own. I also love how Amazon handles their reviews. They verify that a purchase was made on that review and allow people to post both photos and videos with their reviews. And free overnight shipping doesn’t hurt either!
I hope this will help you find authentic Palo Santo in the future. I have bought so many smudge sticks and kits both locally and online. Now that I have experienced the quality from JL Local, I can see I have been using inferior products. It is a crowded online marketplace and finding what you want on the first try can be challenging which is why I share products that really stand out.
I would highly recommend JL Local. They are a small, family owned business who is passionate about making products that exist in the same condition they would have in ancient times: natural, sustainable and untainted.
You can view their products here: JL Local
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