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PALO SANTO ..WHY IS SACRED? By Alisha Ortiz / Feb.2018


Palo Santo (Sacred Wood, Holy Wood) uses and healing powers are so numerous that it has been part of the South American culture for centuries. Its smoke is so powerful that it has become a staple in sacred rituals, becoming an essential energy tool for Shamans and The Catholic Church. It is part of the citrus family and has sweet notes of pine, mint and lemon so its aroma is just incredible, very fresh, proving to be one of the most fragrant woods in the world.

Palo Santo is enjoyed by many for its energetically cleansing and healing properties similar to Sage and Cedar. It is a strong medicine that has been popularized for its heavenly presence in keeping energies grounded and clear. It provides an uplifting scent that raises your vibration in preparation for meditation and allows for a deeper connection to the Source of all creation. When it is burned, the smoke is believed to have both medicinal and therapeutic healing power.


Palo Santo like any plant if is cultivated and harvested sustainable and with love becomes a special one. Many people were talking about that the best Palo Santo is the one that is wild harvested from fallen branches. Two years ago, I was visiting my dad's country of birth, Peru. One Saturday afternoon my Abuelita (Grand Mother) told me more about Palo Santo while smudging me, it was such an experience, a great moment of connection, a fusion of an unique aroma, smoke and the word "sagrado" coming from her, which my dad translated as "sacred", what she told me: That the more important part of the process of using this sacred wood is the intention, that during the smudging she decided to put all her love for me, asking the creator only good in whatever path I decide to walk later on in my life, she told me that she believes that this wood is sacred because is the connection between humans and the Great Creator, because it goes through a spiritual process during its life, when the tree reaches 40 years it makes noises during the nights, even when is not windy or rainy, so the person in charge that in most of the cases is the community healer who is legitimately spiritual understands the calling and communicates with the tree and decides to do a spiritual ceremony and a sacred dance around it before cutting down it. Also the ceremony involves the planting of two trees. It will take around 6 years for the wood to dry and cure. During this time the community healer will be in continuous communication with the tree. Amazing, isn't.

Alisha Ortiz 
Is our 12 years old Andess Blogger, she loves travelling, specially those spiritual places like Kuelap, Daintree Rainforest and Machu Picchu. Half Turkish, Half Peruvian and Born in Australia, always is looking for better ways to understand people. 


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By Kerry Urut / Feb.2018
The Indigenous peoples of the Andes Mountains in Peru used for thousands of years medicinal foods. Which are food products of nutritional value, that when consumed results in a therapeutic benefit for the treatment for ailments and diseases. Qualification of therapeutic effect can be based on scientific or traditional knowledge. 

A good example of medicinal food is Maca (Lepidium meyenii), It have been cultivated in Peru for thousands of years for food and medicine. Maca thrives in harsh, dry climates in the Peruvian Andes Junin and Pasco provinces at about 15,700 feet elevation above sea level, where few other plants grow besides alpine grasses and bitter potatoes. Maca is a member of the mustard, Brassicaceae family, similar in size and shape to a radish, it grows to average high of just 4-8 inches, it forms a thick, bulbous or tuber rich in micro nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals.  The farmers of the Andes, Peru have been growing Maca for years naturally without the use of pesticides, chemicals so the soil is rich in minerals and free of any chemicals

In the last decade Maca’s Popularity has exploded, especially with high figures like Mehmet Oz and many other celebrities endorsing its use as a natural energy boosting foods. Maca Root Powder is now in health foods stores through out the world, major retail outlets and smoothie shops. Especially in China Maca is viewed superior to Ginseng for its longevity and libido enhancing properties and its now in high demand.

Growing Maca outside of Peru should be approved by the Peruvian Government, China is said to have been growing Maca in China and selling it to the international market as Peruvian maca, so this practice is illegal and again the quality, authenticity of the product is compromised as its not grown in its traditional ways. Macca has been a income generator for the local community however it comes at a cost. The producers are doubling their harvest.  Chinese companies are prepurchasing the Maca even before harvest leaving many communities without maca or with a very expensive price tag for those locals that depend on maca for food, its medicine and sustenance.

The customary laws and principles of the indigenous peoples of The Andes are embodied in three underlying principles reciprocity, duality and equilibrium:This is very important in their connection with the land, and their customs and their oneness with their community. The principle of ‘reciprocity’ refers to mutually benefit sharing so that what is received is paid back in equal measure. Example in their daily practices this is evident in seed exchanges among the communities and in the distribution of agricultural work, and in the sharing of benefits in proportion to effort in their daily lives. When this principle is applied on a global scale it should be that any knowledge attained from the Indigenous people then all profits must be shared equally.

The principle of ‘duality’ refers to rights and obligations that should be maintained equally, recognizing the complementary yet distinct division of labor between men and women, and the transmission of agricultural knowledge where the roles of women and men are also complementary. Yes this principle on a global scale can be referred to the obligations of the international community to respect the Indigenous principles and way of life.The principle of ‘equilibrium’ refers to the balance and proportion between nature, the sacred world and the community. This principle relates to the “apportionment and distribution of benefits in response to capabilities, needs and contribution of efforts, and in conflict resolution and decision making. This principle on a Global Scale is the need for the international community to understand that you cant eat money and that their should be a equilibrium a balance of wealth, food, medicine, and that greed and profits should not be driving force. Indigenous medicine should be improved on for the benefit of the society and not for a handful of companies making money. 

These principles are at heart of Indigenous peoples way of life and its their connection to mother earth and respect for her. These principles must be respected in International Forums. Must form the foundation on which all traditional medicinal knowledge is preserved and applied. The knowledge attained from Indigenous people of the Andes should be respected and the same principles applied to traditional.

Kerry Urut is Andess qualified Naturopath very passionate about Peruvian Indigenous People, about their simple way of living and about their rich knowledge of Pachamama Mother Earth