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Essential Oils and Incense: Is Palo Santo (Bursera Graveolens) Sustainable?

Nowadays, products made from natural ingredients are considered the best option for health and beauty care. These products help us to properly take care of our body; In my case, one of the products I like to use, especially to relax my body and mind, are the ones derived from the Palo Santo tree (Holy Stick), aromatherapy products such as essential oils, soaps or incense to aromatize my home.

I often use Palo Santo essential oil and for this reason I like to be informed about the use of this product. One day I found an article that caught my attention, it talked about timber species that are considered endangered; Upon reading this, I immediately recognized the name of the Palo Santo tree.

This left me with a feeling of concern knowing that one of my favorite products comes from trees that are in this situation, but I also had doubts about whether the article I read was 100% real since sometimes social networks are used to spread fake news and articles. I began to investigate a little more in other places, because I found it difficult to believe that people work with this species even when it is rumored that it is in danger. 

After several days of researching this topic, I found the EcuadorianHands.com site that has extensive information about the Palo Santo tree (Bursera Graveolens or Holy Stick) and also has reforestation projects, which I found very interesting. In my motivation to find more information I opened an article with the title "Is the Palo Santo really in danger?" This question caught my attention and I decided to read the publication In which I found several data that clarified many of my doubts.

In certain websites it is stated that the Palo Santo tree is in danger of extinction but none provide official information or studies that confirm it. From what I could see in the Ecuadorian Hands article, there are sustainable ways of working with this tree, whose real threat is the lack of information on its use.

Palo Santo wood is only suitable for use when the tree has died naturally and has rested for 2 to 4 years in the area where it died; Only in this way can the benefits and properties of this resource be exploited, that is why EcuadorianHands only processes the branches and trunk that have fallen naturally and are suitable for the production of aromatherapy products without cutting any living trees.

It is important to mention that they manage a Reforestation Program of Palo Santo, in which they have been working for 4 years and in their blog they have a sequence of the whole process of restoration of the tropical dry forest where this species grows.

This company generates economic resources for the community in the area where the Palo Santo grows, which they constantly train on the correct management and development of this tree, Involving the government of Ecuador to protect this project from invasions and illegal logging and supporting the work they do through photos, videos and scientific articles.

It is not possible to ensure that the Palo Santo tree is in danger, but there are business such as EcuadorianHands that work sustainably with this resource to be able to extract products of excellent quality and that allow the families of the community to have an economic source. This gives me the hope that you can work in a friendly way with nature and protect it for future generations.

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