15 Apr, 2017 | Sophie Hogan
Photo: Sophie Hogan
The miracle tree and its uses
The smell seeps easily into my nostrils as we light the wood and put it in the holder. The smoke begins to flurry out of the holes in the cup and the fragrance gets more intense, invading my senses. The smell comes from Palo Santo, or Holy Wood, which is found throughout the continent and is used frequently in Bolivia, from the Altiplano to the Amazon. Belonging to the same family as frankincense, many consider the tree to be mystical, which is why it is commonly used by shamans as medicine for the local folk.
The tree also serves as a form of incense. People burn shavings from its wood to ward off ‘evil spirits’ from their residences. Additionally, it is said to bring good fortune and it makes the house smell absolutely gorgeous. It contains hints of citrus, as well as mint, giving it an aroma that is hard to forget. Adding to its list of useful properties, when worn as a balm it is supposed to relieve joint pain and boost the immune system. It is also said to have inhibited the growth of a certain type of breast cancer. This miracle tree seems almost too good to be true, but people have been swearing by it since the time of the Inca Empire: not bad at all for a simple tree.
24 Apr, 2017 | 20:03