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Holy Wood & Pressed Flowers

2010 September 28

It’s still in the hundreds outside, and among other things, I think the weather is affecting whatever part of my brain it is that governs grammar. It’s a madhouse here; we’re still getting things loaded and ready for NYCC. I’m taking a break from running around like a crazy person to yap about oils that I received last week.

alchemists local 93

I received two samples of steam-distilled Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) last week, one from Peru and one from Ecuador, and I finally had a chance to test them today. The quality of both samples is unsurpassed. The scent of Palo Santo is distinctive, complex, and unique: rich, woody, almost anise-like in a way, with a pungent citrus top due to the high content of limonene present in the oil. It is of the utmost importance to Black Phoenix that none of the components that we utilize in our products negatively impact the environment. Both of the oils that we received have been sustainably harvested, one under the supervision of the Peruvian government, and the other by ecologically minded local distillers that collect the wood from the Parque Nacional Machalilla. The palo santo trees drop their branches, and the oil is harvested from this gathered wood. Oil can be harvested from saplings, but the highest quality oil comes from the heartwood.

Palo Santo belongs to Bursera family, and shares some of the qualities of its cousins, frankincense and myrrh, both spiritually and medicinally. Palo Santo has been widely used in spiritual practices and folk remedies throughout history. The wood is considered a boon of good fortune, and is believed to banish misfortune and negativity. In aromatherapy, Palo Santo is used to induce a meditative state, help control panic attacks and anxiety, and to arouse creativity and spark inspiration. Medicinally, Palo Santo has been utilized for hormone regulation, as a respiratory remedy, to speed the healing of musculoskeletal injuries, and to break fevers and fight infections. Palo Santo oil also possesses tremendously high levels of D-Limonene and Monotropenes, which may prove to be chemopreventive and effective in treating some forms of cancer. Palo Santo is a fascinating, multi-faceted plant, and I look forward to working with it more often in the future.

pressed flowers
In other news, I read a nifty article today in my Reuters feed: Victorian-Era pressed flowers are helping scientists study climate change.

(As always, the Disclaimer. Has to be said; we don’t want any drama.)

9 Responses
  1. Penemuel permalink
    September 28, 2010

    Ooooh — Palo Santo! Our local-ish brewery, Dogfish Head, makes an awesome beer Palo Santo Marron, and it has a lovely taste. I bet the oil smells WONDERFUL! Looking forward to seeing this in some blends.

  2. September 28, 2010

    Sounds amazing, very much looking forward to experiencing it – Especially for its spiritual and medicinal qualities.
    Also, hope that heat breaks soon :/

  3. September 28, 2010

    So fascinating! I love that you posted something like this. So much art and science involved in your work.

  4. September 28, 2010

    I can’t wait to smell this in something. <– frankincense fan

  5. Tanjia (Mamacat) permalink
    September 28, 2010

    I’m just loving these blog posts. Thanks so much for the insight and the info.

  6. September 28, 2010

    Fascinating stuff! I did not realize you guys were blogging…I look forward to peeking in to find more in this vein…

  7. raven_feathers permalink
    September 29, 2010

    i was reading a short article on essential oils (in a homesteading magazine) last night and there was a passing and piquing mention of palo santo. i’d meant to look it up today when i got a chance and now i don’t have to! thanks! very interesting, indeed.

  8. Bree permalink
    September 30, 2010

    Wow, thanks so much for this post. Such an interesting aspect of your work that we rarely get to hear about. I hope you do it more!

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