German Aromatherapist Eliane Zimmerman writes about Palo Santo Essential Oil

Posted: May 8, 2010 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

I finally finished translating this very interesting blog post written by master German aromatherapist Eliane Zimmerman. I ‘m very thankful I met her through the magic of the Internet, she is such a well of knowledge and I’m honored that she took the time to write about my Ecuadorean Palo Santo.

PALO SANTO – Holy Wood by Eliane Zimmerman

I 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.

  • Kaffee

    Thank you so much for this information about an important oil. I have been a devotee and practitioner of aromatherapy for many years but until I met Cristina I had not heard of Palo Santo. Actually it was my curiosity about this oil, after seeing mention of it on Cristina’s website, that prompted me to contact Cristina in the first place! And, boy, am I glad I did! Upon experiencing the oil for the first time, I fell in love. Recently I have had an opportunity to witness the powerful healing aspects of Palo Santo. My husband has just had a severe bout of bronchitis. He has been doing daily inhalations of Palo Santo and the results are incredible. For the first time he has normalized mucus production and his cough has stopped. And he has his sense of humour back! Plus it makes the house smell wonderful. I love Palo Santo.

  • Thank you Kaffee for those words and I love the tip of using Palo Santo for inhalations, since Palo Santo comes from a tree it helps greatly with those chronic conditions that are hard to get rid of.

  • fokitox

    Properties of Monoterpene D-Limonene in Cancer Prevention.- The characteristic aroma of Palo Santo comes from its natural monoterpenes. The properties of the solvent monoterpenes were used to chemically dissolve gallstones, the monoterpenes are also the focus of much research in the area of cancer prevention. Cancer prevention, inhibition and regression are the greatest powers of D-limonene (DL) that was shown to be chemopreventive against tumors: breast, liver, lungs, skin (UV-induced) and quemioterapeutica against the tumors: breast and pancreas.

    Palo Santo by their shape and natural components has enormous potential in preventing cancer without any contraindication.
    Thanks 😉