Palo Santo

Have you ever used Palo Santo sticks? Our friends Kendra and Seth first discovered them in South America and now burn them in their home as an evening ritual. You light the tip with a match to start a very slow burn, and gently wave it around until it burns out. It smells like a bonfire, with hints of cedar and citrus. We’re totally hooked now, and it makes your home smell woodsy and incredible.

Any other home scents you love?

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo. Styling by Kendra Smoot)

  1. Melissa says...

    I know this post is very old, but can anyone tell me where the pink bowl is from? It’s beautiful!

  2. Rachael Patten says...

    I love burning piñon incense… it reminds me of Santa Fe and my grandparents old gift shop where they burned it during the holidays.

  3. After reading this, my interest was piqued. I finally found some in a shop in Big Sur, and bought some for me and my mom. I immediately tried them out when I got home. Just then a friend dropped by and said, “Your house smells amazing! What is that?”. I called my mom to tell her to give it a try, and she said she already had and loved the fragrance, but also the effect. She just had to put her 12 year old dog down on Thursday, and has been very sad. She said it really cleared the air in her home, and that it felt really different. SO, a double thank you for making my home smell nice, and for bringing a little comfort to my mom in a rough time.

  4. el palo santo, es de los aromas mas ricos para mi, siempre presente en casa.

  5. Wow these sound great! I love naturally scented candles and these sound like a great alternative/addition. Can’t wait to try!

  6. Never heard of them before, but they sound great! I LOVE the smell of woodsmoke and bonfires but we don’t have a stove or fireplace in our apartment. I really have to try these sticks then :)

  7. Palo Santo smells great! In Paraguay, they make “guampas” out of this wood and the essence infuses into the mate/terere drinks.

    One important thing to note though is that it is endangered! It looks like this link to Amazon supports a company that harvests Palo Santo responsibly. Just be conscious/informed before you buy!

  8. I burn Nag Champa everyday. The one and the only for me, but must try palo santo sticks!

  9. Yes, it’s associates with Christmas. In my country is common to burned it and on my lat visit to Ecuador I broad some. It is just a. Sacred experience.

  10. These sound dreamy. I bookmarked this and can’t wait to get some for our new home!!

  11. Esteban incense is SO lovely! Makes our flat smell wonderful and gives me a peaceful feeling.

  12. K says...

    I LOVE palo santo. I keep it at my desk, because even when I can’t light it, it smells so good, earthy, and sweet. It’s the perfect contrast to my cubicle walls!

  13. I cannot wait to use these! My husband loves incense, but it’s too much for me. These seem like the perfect balance. :)

  14. RG says...

    I was JUST going to write to you and say “Please post on how to make your house smell nice!” because my husband just got home and said the apt. smelled like “elderly people”. Thank you!

  15. In Brazil and south american countries with african descendent religions, they believe to burn the palo santo in the house it cleans all the bad spirits. Used mostly when u move into a new house to clean the bad spirits and energy from the people who used to live there. Funny right =)

  16. Hi Joanna! Here in Argentina we also use it to eliminate bad vibes. For instance when bad things happens in a home we use it. ;)

  17. sara, here’s a description of the wood and process:

    “…it is wild crafted and sustainably harvested by a family that has planted over 30,000 trees back into the area over the last 10 years. The essential oil can only be extracted from dead trees and fallen branches using “Vapor Distillation” without the use of dangerous chemicals or solvents.”

  18. I use Palo Santo all the time, as I think it has beautiful cleansing and sacred properties, in addition to smelling so good!

  19. That’s asthma on a stick right there.

  20. Not the sort of thing I would want my kids inhaling.
    Fresh air is the best.

  21. The tree that palo santo comes from is endangered in Peru and Equator…I was recently introduced to it, did some research, and now feel kinda guilty for the three little sticks I bought.

  22. We just wend camping this weekend and got All smokey smelling in a bad way, so this is bad timing for me :) Nice to learn about though!

  23. Interesting. I have done sage smudging of my apt. I also got a wax melter for christams and found the only scent I like is cinnamon, continuously. Does this smell very incensy? I get headaches from lots of smells esp anything hippy- patcholi like. Wonder if throwing one of these on s bonfire would help keep insects away?

  24. i use it all the time, it is a holy wood and is energetically cleansing and healing. i also keep some in my car or in my bag just incase i encounter negativity that i don’t want to bring along with me ;)

  25. I would totally buy the blown out candle scented candle too. When I was little I always called it the birthday cake smell : )

  26. Do you know how sustainable this product is? Do thy plant trees as they produce them? I love the smell but would like to know more about the source…

  27. That sounds amazing. Especially in the winter. I love cinnamon candles. Can’t get enough of that scent.

  28. Ooh okay, but how much do they smell like incense? Cause I think I love this IF it does not smell like incense. :)

  29. rachel, good question, but i don’t *think* so. we have sensitive smoke detectors, too, and they have never gone off from these. there are just a few wisps of smoke, it’s not much. xo

  30. This sound wonderful, but I wonder if it produces the same carcinogens as incense smoke. I have small children, one of whom has asthma, so I am always careful to avoid indoor air pollution.

  31. Ohhhh, definitely want to try this. Our bedroom opens onto our kitchen and it makes our room smell so funky, not even diptyque room fragrance spray helps… I feel like this would be way better than a candle.

  32. We use an essential oil blend from doTerra–it combines wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus & rosemary. The recommended use is for natural immunity defense, and can also be used to clean household surfaces–when put into a diffuser, it purifies the air in your home and smells like a woodsy orange grove!

  33. Hannah, I would buy that candle! Freshly blown out candles always makes me think of birthday cake.

  34. a friend of mine introduced me to this, too, and i’m hooked! i love it!

  35. these sound lovely! i always get candles with woodsy fragrances to begin with, but am i ridiculous for thinking these might set off my very sensitive smoke detectors?

  36. hahaha hannah, you should make that candle. i would totally buy it.

  37. this is a double whammy because you get the woodsy, natural smell AND the smell right after your match blows out. (anyone else want a candle that smells like a blown out candle?)

  38. I burn these all the time! The aroma is really amazing, and it’s a crowd-pleaser, too. Not too masculine or feminine.

  39. I used to buy these from a tourist shop in San Diego and have been missing them since we moved out of the city–didn’t know I could get them online. Thanks!!!

  40. I’ve been looking for a nice home scent that isn’t perfume-y. I’m not much into burning candles, so this might be something I could use. I definitely prefer a more natural scent.

  41. these are so much nicer than sweet scented candles. they really have the most amazing natural aroma.

  42. Neat! We often used to have incense in my house growing up–I miss that sort of dusky smell that reminds me of being outdoors. I haven’t really found a candle that accomplishes that. Would love to try these as an alternative!