Category Archives: Incense and scents

Palo Santo – Holy Wood


Puerto López county in the Manabi Province is one of the most visited by tourists who pass through the Spondylus Route each year. The diversity of activities, pleasant climate, delicious cuisine and warmth of its people make it one of the places you just must visit while in the Ecuadorian coast.

Recently the county was declared by presidential decree, as the first tourist area to be protected within the country. This politic is intended to carry out a comprehensive regeneration of the site and preservation of natural areas, including the Machalilla National Park, which is considered a nature sanctuary.

It is inside the park, as well as the extent of territory that includes Puerto Lopez, where it grows a tree with countless beneficial properties. The Palo Santo, or “Bursera graveolens” according to its scientific name, is a native species of the dry forests of South America.

In the specific case of Ecuador, it is believed that the Palo Santo has been around since prehistoric times. Ancient cultures such as Machalilla, Manteña and Valdivia were aware of its healing power and used it to heal both, body and soul of their patients through purification rituals led by healers or shamans.

At the time of burning, Palo Santo incense smoke produces a pleasant aroma which acts as a mosquito repellent and surprisingly, also relieves bone ailments, headaches, allergies, flu, among others. This is the reason why the Spanish conquerors, stunned by its healing properties, started calling it “Palo Santo”, which means “Holy Tree”.

Available to buy at CAOBA.

Incense and Sensibilities

Satya incense from India.

Satya incense from India. Our best-selling range

The tradition of burning incense is a long one. Archeologists have found evidence of its use during the Neolithic age in China, ancient Egypt and the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas.
For some cultures incense burning has religious and ceremonial associations, for everyone it can provide a wide variety of aromas for creating a mood or subtly perfuming and freshening a room.

Caoba customers often ask us for the source of the beautiful aroma in the shop (note for all you online shoppers, Caoba does indeed smell glorious!) It’s not a secret formula, it is simply the unique blend of all the scented candles and incenses on the shelves.

Morning Star Japanese incense

Morning Star Japanese incense

At Caoba we stock a variety of incense sticks and cones from India and Japan. Great for relaxation, meditation and air freshening.

Arabesque small tile 5cm x 5cm

Arabesque small tile 5cm x 5cm

We also carry wooden and ceramic holders and burners. Our small Mexican tiles can even double up as decorative heat-proof stands.

Papier d'Arménie

Papier d’Arménie booklet of scented papers

One of our favourites is the delicate Papier d’Arménie incense paper; a booklet of paper strips infused with the dried resin from the Styrax tree (benzoin). These papers were developed as an air deodoriser in 19th century France by Auguste Ponsot, whose Armenian travels had introduced him to the pleasant benzoin aroma.

The glowing embers of a concertinaed strip used 3 or 4 times a week help to a keep a room’s air fresh.

We recently added to our online selection of incense for you to recreate your own glorious fragrance at home