PALO SANTO, THE HEALING TREE OF PUERTO LOPEZ
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”.