PALO SANTO – Holy Wood by Eliane ZimmermanI love the Internet (when neither the line, nor the computer gets crazy). After a short “conversation” through Facebook and e-mail with Cristina, she sent me on December 29th some essential oil samples. Today were they delivered, despite the black ice on our sloping streets. It must have smelled a lot because as soon as I opened the box came to me a balsamic eucalyptus scent.
Cristina comes from Ecuador, between Colombia and Peru, where she went to the German School (in order to be able to read this article!!! 😉 and now lives in USA were she sells essential oils from the Andean region.
During our “electronic conversation” I told her that I had been born in the Andes.She asked me if I knew about Palo Santo. I had surely heard about it before, it is known as Räucherware, but until now I didn’t know that oil. The popular name Palo Santo is given in the Spanish speaking world to different varieties of trees, therefore we must first come to an understanding of the scientific name. The tree Bursera graveolens is related to Frankincense and Linaloe tree. The genus name Bursera comes from bursa, (the pouch, the pocket) and it relates to the receptacles in the plant where the aromatic substances are found. We know the nomenclature Graveolens for instance from Pelargonium, the aromatic geranium and it means “strong odor/scent” (gravis=strong and olere=odor)
It grows in rather dry forests and it looks kind of gnarled. These pictures come from the Galapagos Islands that belong to Ecuador and became famous because of Charles Darwin. The essential oil from the chopped wood has a very unusual composition: Limonene, beta-Bisabolol, Carvon, trans- and cis-Carveol and four until now unknown substances: (-)-Juneol, Dihydrojuneol, as well as an exceptional eudesmane bond (Sesquiterpenoide). The scent is somehow indescribable; it reminds me of the smells in South American homes, probably a part of the furniture produced by this much sought-after wood; some lavender, some sandalwood, some caraway, some cedarwood.Who has had experiences with this essential oil? Eliane Zimmerman is the author of several aromatherapy books- her text book is one of the ‚bibles’ of German clinical aromatherapy now that it is in its 4th. Eliane frequently travels to German language countries Austria, Switzerland and Germany to teach this fascinating subject. If you would like to learn more about Eliane you can go to her blog Aromatherapy & Aromapraxis or visit her Facebook Page.