Herbs & Plants

Bulnesia sarmientoi

Botanical Namne: Bulnesia sarmientoi
Family: Zygophyllaceae
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zygophyllales
Genus: Bulnesia
Species: B. sarmientoi

Common Names: Pao Santo, Ibiocaí

Habitat: Bulnesia sarmientoi is native to Tropical S. America – Argentina, Paraguay, eastern Brazil and Bolivia. It is normally found mainly in deciduous, calcareous forests, open forests, in dryland varzeas on very saline soils with good deep water humidity.

Bulnesia samientoi, is a tropical, slow-growing, deciduous tree found in South America. It grows up to 18 m tall and its crown is arching and spreading. The cylindrical bole is short and up to 70 cm in diameter. Wood yields a rose-like scented essential oil known as “guaiac oil” used in making perfume, soap, etc. The wood is very heavy, hard, and resistant. It is used as material for items that require great resistance to abrasion and as a fuel.


Cultivation: Grows best in a sunny position. Plants are slow to establish and grow away slowly

Propagation: Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed or in containers. Germination rates are normally low, occurring in 3 – 4 weeks.

Medicinal Uses:
Palo santo wood has also been used in indigenous medicine in South America. In northwest Argentina, the Criollo people burned the wood of Aura palo santo together with the leaves of Ruta chalepensis. The resulting smoke was blown into the ears of patients with otitis.

Palo santo is appreciated for the skin-healing properties of its essence and also because it provides good charcoal and a high quality timber. It ignites easily despite being so dense, and produces a fragrant smoke. Natives of the Chaco region employ the bark to treat stomach problems. Small pieces of the wood are also used as a form of natural incense in spiritual rituals.

Uses For edible purposes: : American beer micro brewer Dogfish Head regularly produces a beer called “Palo Santo Marron” that is aged in tanks made of palo santo wood.

Maté infusion, served in a maté / guampa (traditional maté cup) carved from the wood of B. sarmientoi. In it a metal bombilla (drinking straw), with which to suck up the infusion.

Other Uses:
The wood is very heavy, very hard and resistant, pleasantly scented with a fine and homogenous texture. It has crystals of calcium oxalate and resin amongst its fibres and is extremely durable, even when exposed. It is used for items that require great resistance to abrasion, such as bushings and vessel helices. It is also much used for lathe work.

An essential oil is distilled from the wood. It has a soft, rose-like scent. Known as guaiac oil, it is used in perfumery, making soap etc. It is said to conceal the harsh notes of some synthetic aromatics.

The wood is used in Turnery, Poles and pillars, Flooring, Carving
Palo santo is employed for engraving work and for the making of durable wooden posts. From its wood, also, a type of oil known as oil of guaiac (or guayacol) is produced, to be used as an ingredient for soaps and perfumes. Its resin can be obtained by means of organic solvents, and is employed to make varnishes and dark paints.

When used as a fuel, the wood gives off a fragrant smoke.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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