The Palo Santo Reforestation Program

by Andrea Butje on November 6, 2013

Palo Santo treeI’ve had the pleasure of working with Ecuadorian Hands, a company that connects Ecuadorian artisans with the rest of the world through the sales of their crafts.

One of Ecuadorian Hands’ star products is Palo Santo essential oil.

After testing Palo Santo with GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry), we discovered that it contains significant levels of limonene. I like to use limonene-rich oils such as Palo Santo (and the citrus oils) in anti-infectious blends for colds and flu, sinus infections, skin infections, pain and muscle spasms.

In order to extract essential oil from the Palo Santo tree, they use wood that has fallen naturally. While Ecuadorian Hands isn’t deforesting to produce their essential oils, they still feel the need to return the fallen trees, which is why they support the Palo Santo Reforestation Program.

Through their support of this program, a percentage of money generated by the sale of their Palo Santo products goes directly to the project, which six years ago enabled the creation of a greenhouse. Since then, 40,000 trees have been planted.

To learn more about the Palo Santo Reforestation Program, watch the video below, and read more on Ecuadorian Hands’ website.

Palo Santo tree image from Aromatics International.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Gem December 13, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Hello Andrea, Thank your recipes. What can be used as substitute for Palo Santo?


Andrea Butje December 14, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Hi Gem!
Substitutes depend on the intent of the blend and there are lots of other consideration such as the issue at hand, therapeutic use, safety, chemistry, aroma, personal preference… so it’s hard to give random and “one size fits all” substitution. That being said, I would suggest Frankincense.


Gem December 14, 2016 at 8:20 pm

Thank you for your recommendation. I was looking for a substitute in panic and anxiety recipes.


Andrea Butje December 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Frankincense is calming that way and would be perfect Gem!


Sarah Chapman November 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Isabella, The Palo Santo has a sweet smell when burned compared to that of white sage. It also isn’t over-powering or very smoky like sage. Every time I burn it, people comment how much they prefer it. I’m not sure how it would smell as an oil, but I think it would probably be nice and light.


Fabrizio November 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Eliane, it is d-limonene, learn more>


Isabelle Gelle November 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Very interesting Andrea. Would you know how Palo Santo smell like? I have never used it in perfumery but it could be a nice one to add to the palette unless it smells too medicinal?


Andrea Butje November 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm

The aroma is resinous, warm, intense, woody, strong, sweet….very unique aroma but not medicinal.


Eliane Zimmermann November 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm

andrea, do you happen to know whether it’s d or l-limonene? it could also be a very precious antitumoral oil in case it’s d-limonene. this wonderful oil finally helped me when no single oil could soothe a hurting ring finger for weeks.


Andrea Butje November 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm

it has d-limonene. 🙂


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